If you ask any Republican member of the U.S. House of Representatives or the U.S. Senate what is the most significant fiscal accomplishment of the Trump presidency, the overwhelming answer would be the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, or TCJA.
When passed in December 2017, the TCJA did not have majority American support. Despite this lack of early support, the GOP believed that once the tax bill was fully implemented, the American taxpayers would be impressed with their large tax savings, and public opinion on the TCJA would become overwhelmingly positive.
To that point, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., dismissed early criticism, saying, “We’ll see how unpopular it is when people start noticing they’re paying less in taxes, the economy’s growing, there are more jobs and opportunity.”
Well, April 15 is here, tax returns are being filed and Americans remain unconvinced of the equity and the value of the TCJA.
Results from a recent NBC News/Wall Street Journal Poll said just 17% believe their own taxes will go down. By contrast, 28% believe they’ll pay more, 27% expect to pay about the same, and 28% don’t know enough to say.
Unfortunately for McConnell, Americans did not rejoice at the small incremental change in their monthly take-home pay, made possible by the changes in withholding tables.
A Morning Consult/Politico poll taken in December 2018 reported that, of those polled, only 23% saw an increase in their take-home pay, and 60% did not. Now, as Americans file their returns, they similarly are not seeing anything that will improve their opinion of the TCJA.
As of the end of March, the IRS paid out $6 billion less in total refunds this year compared with last, and the average tax refund amount is $20 less than last year. This does not look like the huge tax reduction promised to middle-class America.