Where Did Tax Benefits Trump Promised Average Americans Go? Straight to Big Oil, Big Pharma and Their Crappy Insurance
Any tax cuts working families received this year after the Republican Party pushed through its tax law have likely been canceled out by higher costs of gas, healthcare, and other necessities, according to Americans for Tax Fairness (AFT), due to President Donald Trump's policies.
The average American family is paying $420 more per year for fuel than they did before Trump entered office in January 2017, the group said this week, while Trump's changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will cost middle class households an average of $2,000 more in healthcare costs than they paid previously.
While traveling around the country selling their tax proposal, Republicans including Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) promised an average tax cut of $1,182 for the average American family—far less than the rising costs of necessities.
As AFT executive director Frank Clemente noted, the wealthiest Americans are enjoying a $51,000 tax cut this year alone while working families see little benefit to the so-called Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
"American families are seeing this tax cut law for what it is—a scam," said Clemente in a statement. "It's a handout to the wealthy and big corporations while many of us will see little or nothing, especially when rising gas prices and higher health insurance premiums are factored in."
Seventeen major oil and gas companies are saving $25 billion on their taxes this year, and four of the largest will get tax cuts of $15 billion over the next decade, according to AFT.
Public Citizen has also tied rising gas prices to a number of Trump's policies, including his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal against the advice of international leaders, which promptly sent oil prices skyrocketing to their highest levels since 2014.
Trump's proposed plan to roll back clean car standards—which saved Americans nearly $60 billion in gas costs—and his decision to export U.S. oil instead of encouraging companies to sell it domestically, have also contributed to sticker shock.
"Because of Trump's costly policies, there will be fireworks for oil company profits this July Fourth at the expense of American consumers," said Tyson Slocum, director of Public Citizen's Energy Program.
According to ATF:
Gas prices aren’t the only rising household expense facing working families. Health insurance premiums are headed up too due in part to Trump’s attacks on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The Trump-GOP tax law did away with a key provision of the ACA requiring people to buy insurance or pay a penalty. The resulting $314 billion in reduced health care costs (p. 2) is being used to partially pay for tax cuts mostly for the wealthy and corporations, such as prescription drug firms and health insurers.
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that this change will cause premiums for ACA family plans to increase 10% a year for the foreseeable future, or nearly $2,000 a year. It will also cause 13 million people to lose health care coverage by 2025.
Besides giving huge tax cuts to the wealthy, the Trump-GOP tax law is giving a gusher of tax breaks to big oil companies and prescription drug companies. Seventeen oil and gas companies already received one-time tax cut benefits of $25 billion this year, and four of the biggest oil companies are estimated to be getting a tax cut of $15 billion over the next decade. America’s top 10 drug companies are saving $76 billion in taxes on their $500 billion in profits stashed offshore, as they rake in record profits and continue to price gouge customers and public health programs.
"Lawmakers need to declare their independence from President Trump and Republican leaders in Congress by joining the effort to repeal the tax cuts for the wealthy and big corporations," Clemente said. "If they don't, the real fireworks will be at the polls this November, as voters will express their anger at politicians who favor Big Oil and drug companies over working families."