Trump’s tax plan pitch isn’t working

A new survey finds 58 percent of Americans believe Trump's tax plan helps the wealthy.

President Donald Trump speaks about tax reform during an event at the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Credit: (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
President Donald Trump speaks about tax reform during an event at the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Credit: (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Trump and the rest of his administration would be the first ones to argue that his tax reform plan was “designed with the middle class in mind.” Unfortunately for the president, Americans don’t seem to be buying it.

A CBS News Nation Tracker poll released Sunday found that nearly 58 percent of Americans believe the proposed GOP-Trump tax reforms, rolled out at the end of September, would favor the rich, with only 18 percent believing they would help the middle class.

At campaign-style rally events — like the one in Pennsylvania last week –Trump has been attempting to sell his tax plan to working class Americans as the biggest tax cut in history. The president’s speech in Pennsylvania was specifically geared toward truckers, who Trump says will benefit greatly from tax cuts to corporations and the wealthiest Americans.

During his Pennsylvania speech, Trump also made a bizarre claim that the plan will raise the salary of the average American household by $4,000 by imposing a one-time tax on corporate money overseas as an incentive to come back to America. Many economists, however, argue that this hinges on the benevolence of corporations to put their newly freed up cash back into the hands of workers in the form of higher wages, rather than investing in automation or returning that money back to investors in the form of stock dividends.


There was also the bombshell analysis from the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, which found that, under the proposed Trump-GOP plan, taxpayers in the top 1 percent (which includes incomes of above $730,000), would receive roughly 53 percent of the total tax benefit and that their after-tax income would increase an average of 8.5 percent in 2018. Meanwhile, taxpayers in the bottom 95 percent would see average after-tax incomes increase between 0.5 and 1.2 percent.

Other measures, like the elimination of the estate tax, are an even more explicit gift to the wealthiest Americans. The estate tax, which only applies to individuals with estates valued at $5.5 million or higher, has been peddled by Trump as a way to help out family farms who are “crushed” by this 40 estate tax rate. Half of the families with estates rich enough to trigger the estate tax, however, live in New York, California, Texas, Florida, or New Jersey. Almost none of them are farmers or small business owners.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin ultimately conceded last week that the elimination of the estate tax will mainly benefit “rich people.”

It should come as no surprise that Trump and his wealthy associates will benefit greatly from the elimination of the estate tax. If Trump is worth the $10 billion he says he is, he could see a tax cut of about $4 billion dollars, should his plan be implemented as-is.

In an interview with Forbes last week, Trump admitted he would benefit from the proposed tax plan.

“Well, what I say is that the, this whole concept, everybody benefits if the country does well,” Trump told Forbes. “We all do. You guys benefit. Everybody benefits if the country does well.”

According to the recent CBS poll, however, only 19 percent of Americans believe the plan will help everyone.