Sep 28, 2017

Winners and losers from the GOP tax plan

President Trump with Gary Cohn. Photo: Michael Sohn / AP

A day after the GOP tax plan dropped analyses are rolling in, and they challenge the Trump administration's narrative that the primary beneficiaries will be middle class families.

Based on roundups from the Wall Street Journal, NY Times, Washington Post, and my colleagues at Axios, here's a look at the winners and losers:

Winners
  • Top earners: The top bracket would be cut from 39.6% to 35%, though there is a vague plan to add another bracket for super-high earners, without any specifics on who qualifies or what that rate would be.
  • Heirs to large estates: The plan calls for the elimination of the estate tax.
  • Hedge funds, lawyers: The plan would allow owners of partnerships and limited liability companies to pay 25% on business income rather than their personal rate (up to 39.6%). But most small business owners already pay less than 25%, so the real winners are rich business owners.
  • The oil-and-gas industry: Axios' Ben Geman reports industry experts are enthusiastic about the plan, particularly the slashing of the corporate tax rate to 20%.
  • Trump himself: As WaPo notes, based on his leaked tax returns, the Alternative Minimum Tax "increased [Trump's] tax bill from about $5.3 million to $36.5 million" in 2005. The plan revokes that tax.
Losers
  • Private equity: Axios' Dan Primack notes the proposed partial cut to corporate interest deductibility affects private equity and any company that takes out loans to do things like buy equipment or build new facilities — though many of those companies will, on the other hand, benefit from the lower corporate rate.
  • People from high-tax states: If write-offs for state and local taxes are repealed, as Trump has proposed, it'll cost some taxpayers in states like California and New York.
  • People who take certain deductions: The plan could reduce the benefits of taking deductions for charitable giving and mortgage interest, per the WSJ, while certain write-offs for medical costs or disaster damage (along with those for "investment interest, gambling losses and unreimbursed businesses expenses") will likely be repealed.
  • Deficit hawks: The plan isn't structured to be deficit-neutral, or even close, though Cohn claims economic growth will ultimately cover the cost — a claim that has faced heavy scrutiny.

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