Democrats are experts at deception, but even they have their work cut out for them if they want to convince Pennsylvanians that President Trump’s tax cuts have been anything but a major win for the middle class.
In 2017, Bernie Sanders called the president’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) “one of the great robberies” in American history. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer labeled it “a cynical one-two gut punch to the middle class,” arguing that it was designed to “pay for corporate tax cuts” and “then decimate their earned benefits as a kicker.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, through a spokesperson, even misleadingly claimed that the TCJA “ultimately raises taxes on 86 million middle-class families.”
This disinformation campaign went on for months, misrepresenting the tax law to the public and distorting its impact on our economy.
The purpose of this propaganda effort was to undermine support for one of President Trump’s most significant legislative accomplishments and deny him the credit he deserves for rejuvenating the economy. But this perception simply doesn’t match up with reality — especially not in Pennsylvania.
According to the Heritage Foundation, the average tax cut for individuals in Pennsylvania in 2018 was $1,169, representing a decrease in payment of nearly 12 percent from 2017.
The TCJA didn’t just give Pennsylvanians a hefty tax break, though. The GOP tax law also led to better wages, improved employment prospects, and lower utility prices for families across the state.
Last summer, the nonpartisan site Watchdog.org reported that “dozens of Pennsylvania companies gave raises and bonuses to their employees, donated to local charities, invested in new equipment, hired new employees, enhanced benefit packages, and reduced rates as a result of federal tax reform.”
Elizabeth Stelle, the director of policy analysis at the Commonwealth Foundation free-market think tank, told the publication that the TCJA was “sorely needed in Pennsylvania,” noting that "the Tax Foundation estimates the federal tax cuts will help create 13,000 jobs in Pennsylvania.”
The impact is already being felt across the state. Last month, Pennsylvania’s unemployment rate fell to the lowest level ever recorded.
Once the economic effects of the TCJA — such as increased job creation and rising wages — are taken into account, the typical Pennsylvanian will see an estimated $20,094 increase in their total take-home pay over 10 years, which is as long as the TCJA currently stipulates cuts. The average family of four will benefit to the tune of $35,009.
A great “robbery?” A “gut punch?” The Democrats must have been reading the wrong tax bill.
Or perhaps they just didn’t notice that the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission ordered a “$320 million rate reduction for most of the state’s electric, gas, and water utilities” in response to President Trump’s tax cuts.
The rate reductions amount to $210 million for electric utilities, $66 million for natural-gas utilities, and $48 million for water and wastewater utilities, all of which is particularly helpful for working families who now have significantly more disposable income, in addition to their tax savings.
No, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act did not scam the middle class. As we’ve seen right here in Pennsylvania, the law gave working families a much-needed tax break after a disastrous recession and created a foundation for the economic revival the whole country has experienced over the past two years.
No matter how hard the Democrats try to spin the facts, President Trump’s tax law has resulted in more money staying in the pockets of Pennsylvanians — something they’ll not forget when they head to the polls in 2020.