12 Days of Taxes: Will middle class Americans show support for a “tax cut” if they can’t even feel it?

INDIANAPOLIS – Washington Republicans are pinning their political livelihoods on the historically unpopular McConnell tax plan, hoping that once the bill is enacted, voters will appreciate it when they see the effects come tax time. Even if the GOP’s projections are correct, however, it’s unlikely that taxpayers will even notice what they’ve done, history shows.

Bloomberg Politics report this week brings bad news for the Washington Republicans. Historically, middle-class Americans who receive tax breaks that are the size of even some of the rosier projections for the GOP have not believed they received a cut at all. Most recently, nearly all married couples in working households received a one-year tax break worth $800 in 2009. Yet the next year, only 12% of recipients polled said their taxes had been cut. More than twice as many responders believed their taxes actually rose, despite the refund.

If the McConnell plan were to be enacted, then, it still wouldn’t rescue the GOP. Even optimistic projections suggest that the annual average cut for middle-class households earning between $40,000 and $100,000 would be an additional $800 on average—only $15 per week, and the same size as the forgotten 2009 tax break.

That $800 is still a best case scenario for most. Many Americans will actually face a greater financial burden under the bill next year, Bloomberg mentions, after certain deductions like the personal exemption are repealed or curtailed. It will get worse over time, and by 2027, Americans making between $40,000 and $50,000 are ultimately set to pay $5.3 billion more in taxes under the McConnell bill. That doesn’t include other changes in the bill that would be costly to Americans, including the 13 million additional Americans who would need to find new health care coverage, or college students who could see tuition fees rise.

It’s no wonder that Americans are already disappointed in the McConnell plan. Only 22% of Americans, and less than a third of Republicans, think they’ll get a tax cut under the plan, according to a CBS poll. Nearly twice as many expect their taxes to rise.

“Republicans have claimed that the McConnell plan will be a ‘beautiful’ Christmas present, but the majority of Americans know that for all but the wealthiest of them, it’ll be more like an empty box,” said Will Baskin-Gerwitz, Senior Media Strategist for the Indiana Democratic Party. “This bill harms far too many middle-class Hoosiers to pay for a tax cut for the wealthy, and most people whom this bill supposedly ‘helps’ won’t feel any better off. Washington Republicans like Congressmen Messer and Rokita are betting on this bill to carry them forward next November, but neither history nor the numbers are on their side.”

This release is part of day five of the Indiana Democrats’ 12 Days of Taxes, a daily series highlighting the problems the McConnell tax bill would create if passed this holiday season. While the McConnell plan would raise taxes on middle class Americans to fund more tax breaks for the wealthy and major corporations, its consequences stretch across American life.

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