Locking in further regressive tax cuts would just make the TCJA worse

Hunter Blair

Hunter Blair Budget Analyst, EPI

The House is set to vote this week on a second round of tax cuts that Republicans have dubbed “Tax Reform 2.0.” The first Republican tax cut, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), was incredibly regressive with the worst component being a corporate rate cut that Republicans chose to make permanent. We said at the time that arguments that corporate rate cuts would trickle down to typical workers were bunk. And so far there is little evidence to suggest anything different.

Now House Republicans are hoping to solve a political problem—the unpopularity of their signature tax cut in 2017—by centering a second round of tax cuts on making the individual cuts in the TCJA permanent to achieve parity with the already-permanent corporate rate cuts. Republicans are marketing this as a tax cut for the middle class, but it’s nothing of the sort.

The second round of Republican tax cuts are still tilted towards the topShare of total federal tax change by income quintile, 2026

While the TCJA’s individual tax cuts may be less tilted towards rich households than the extremely regressive corporate tax cuts, these individual cuts are still awfully regressive in their own right. According to the Tax Policy Center, the bottom 60 percent, households making under $95,000, would get just 20.2 percent of the benefits. While the top 20 percent, households making over $168,600, would receive 63.0 percent of the benefits.

Locking in further regressive tax cuts won’t fix the TCJA, it will only exacerbate its deep flaws. Congress should reject this second round of Republican tax cuts for the rich.

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Reposted from EPI

Posted In: Allied Approaches

Union Matters

Freight can’t wait

From the USW

From tumbledown bridges to decrepit roads and failing water systems, crumbling infrastructure undermines America’s safety and prosperity. In coming weeks, Union Matters will delve into this neglect and the urgent need for a rebuilding campaign that creates jobs, fuels economic growth and revitalizes communities.

A freight train hauling lumber and nylon manufacturing chemicals derailed, caught fire and caused a 108-year-old bridge to collapse in Tempe, Ariz., this week, in the second accident on the same bridge within a month.

The bridge was damaged after the first incident, according to Union Pacific railroad that owns the rail bridge, and re-opened two days later. 

The official cause of the derailments is still under investigation, but it remains clear that the failure to modernize and maintain America’s railroad infrastructure is dangerous. 

In 2019, 499 trains that derailed were found to have defective or broken track, roadbed or structures, according to the Federal Railroad Administration’s database of safety analysis.

While railroad workers’ unions have called for increased safety improvements, rail companies have also used technology and automation as an excuse to downsize their work forces.

For example, rail companies have implemented a cost-saving measure known as Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR), which has resulted in mass layoffs and shoddy safety protocols. 

Though privately-owned railroads have spent significantly to upgrade large, Class I trains, regional Class II trains and local, short-line Class III trains that carry important goods for farmers and businesses still rely on state and local funds for improvements. 

But cash-strapped states struggle to adequately inspect new technologies and fund safety improvements, and repairing or replacing the aging track and rail bridges will require significant public investment.

A true infrastructure commitment will not only strengthen the country’s railroad networks and increase U.S. global economic competitiveness. It will also create millions of family-sustaining jobs needed to inspect, repair and manufacture new parts for mass transit systems, all while helping to prevent future disasters.

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There is Dignity in All Work

There is Dignity in All Work