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Still Terrible at Two: The Trump Tax Act Delivered Big Benefits to the Rich and Corporations But Nearly None for Working Families

With the 2017 passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), President Trump claimed the tax overhaul would provide sizable tax cuts for working people, increase their wages, and boost business investment.

    On the two-year anniversary of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, this paper provides new data on the impact of the bill that refutes those claims. Working people have seen no discernible wage increase as a result of the TCJA. In fact, according to federal government data, 2019 wage growth has decelerated. TCJA has decisively failed to spur business investment with no uptick in 2018 and significant declines in the nine months of available data in 2019. Similarly, corporate revenues have plummeted, even more than the Congressional Budget Office’s original projections of the TCJA’s effect forecast. The TCJA has spurred record-breaking stock buybacks, which rose more than 50 percent to $560 billion in 2018, and have near-exclusively enriched wealthy investors and corporate executives at the expense of working people. Overall, the paper finds that the TCJA - one of the largest overhauls of the tax system in the last 50 years - enacted sweeping changes to benefit corporations and wealthy individuals while the interests and priorities of working families were ignored. The TCJA has failed to boost American workers’ wages or to deliver broad prosperity for low-income communities or communities of color.