'I made a lot of bankers look very good': Trump lets the mask slip as Wall Street titans get $32 billion tax windfall

'I made a lot of bankers look very good': Trump lets the mask slip as Wall Street titans get $32 billion tax windfall
Official White House Photo by Andrea Hanks

"I made a lot of bankers look very good," President Donald Trump boasted this week just before it was reported Thursday that the nation's six largest banks alone have received an estimated $32 billion windfall thanks to Republican tax cuts.

The figures were generated by Bloomberg News after reviewing the 2019 profits earnings of JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, and Morgan Stanley.

By looking at the banks' earnings in relation to effective tax rates that dropped from 20% to 18% last year—and comparing that to the 30% average they paid prior to the tax cut bill passed by Republicans and signed by Trump at the end of 2017—the analysis showed just how well the Wall Street giants have fared even as they cut back their work forces approximately 1,200 people over the same time period.

"The tax savings have spurred the banks to record profit," Bloomberg's Yalman Onaran reported. "The six firms posted $120 billion in net income for 2019, inching past 2018's mark. They had never surpassed $100 billion before the tax cuts."

Morris Pearl, chair of Patriotic Millionaires, which advocates for higher taxes on the wealthy and large corporations, said the latest figures only further prove what critics of the Republican tax giveaway knew and predicted since it was first proposed—that it was a gift to big banks and a scam perpetrated against Trump by regular people.

"The Trump administration touted that the average American was going to get $4,000 from their signature tax legislation," Pearl told Common Dreams. "If you average six bank executives getting $32 billion while millions of people get $0, maybe that does average to $4000 per person. It's still reprehensible and fiscally irresponsible that just six banks got a $32 billion windfall while ordinary Americans are struggling."

On social media, his group broke the numbers down by bank:

"It looks like Trump just let the six largest banks 'get away with murder' something he promised he wouldn't do as president," said Warren Gunnels, senior advisor to Bernie Sanders, in response to the reporting. "We need to break up these big banks and tax Wall Street to cancel all student debt."

Trump's comments about his role in the bankers' bonanza were made Wednesday when he gathered with top financial executives at the White House to celebrate a trade deal with China.

"They just announced earnings and they were incredible," Trump said to Mary Erdoes, who heads asset and wealth management for nation's largest bank, JPMorgan Chase. As  American Banker reports, Trump then asked Erdoes "for reciprocation" in the form of a thank you from the bank.

"They were very substantial," Trump said to Erdoes of the tax savings and profits. "Will you say, 'Thank you, Mr. President,' at least, huh?"


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