Press Releases | Budget, Taxes, and Public Investment

News from EPI The TCJA overwhelmingly benefited the rich and corporations while overlooking working families

On the heels of the second anniversary of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), a new joint report from the Economic Policy Institute and the Center for Popular Democracy takes a look at what the latest evidence says about who benefited from the tax overhaul. The report, Still Terrible at Two, shows that despite the administration’s claims of success, President Trump’s tax bill did not increase wages for working people, failed to spur business investments, decreased corporate tax revenues, and boosted stock buybacks in its wake.

“Trump’s tax plan has failed to deliver meaningful benefits to workers and produce the investment boom once promised, and there’s no reason to believe that will change,” said Josh Bivens, Director of Research at the Economic Policy Institute. “What the plan has done is dramatically increase stock buybacks and exacerbate decades of rising income inequality.”

The report explains how the TCJA has spurred record-breaking stock buybacks—rising more than 50% to $560 billion in 2018—but failed to boost U.S. workers’ wages or deliver broad prosperity for low-income communities or communities of color. In fact, wage growth has decelerated in 2019. The authors find that the TCJA has decisively failed to spur business investment with no uptick in 2018 and significant declines in the six months of available data in 2019. Additionally, the authors cite CBO estimates showing that corporate tax revenue has declined more than originally anticipated.

“We have to call Trump’s tax plan for what it is, a scam. He sold this as a benefit to working people, but the report shows clearly that it only caters to the super-wealthy, historically white, corporate class,” said Connie Razza, Chief of Campaigns and Policy at the Center for Popular Democracy. “Our goal is to create a tax structure that encourages greater equity and ensures that we are able to fund vital public resources together for an economy in which we can all thrive—not just the super-rich.”