Abbreviated pundit roundup: Consequences of the GOP's tax scam coming to light

We all knew what would happen with Donald Trump’s tax scam — it was a huge giveaway to the richest Americans, borne on the back of working Americans. At first, the GOP claimed that the small increase some saw in their paychecks was just the beginning of a windfall of benefits for the average person. Now, however, with taxes being filed, the scenario so many warned about is coming true: higher taxes and smaller refunds for many Americans. We begin today’s roundup with Jeff Spross at The Week and his writeup of the disastrous consequences of the GOP tax plan:

The Republican tax cut is the gift that keeps on giving … to Democrats.

The 2017 law was supposed to boost workers’ wages, create jobs, and drive more investment — and as we’ve known for awhile, it’s done none of that. But now we can add two more failures to the creatively-named Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA): It hasn’t encouraged corporations to return their profits from overseas, and it’s probably hiding a nasty surprise for many Americans come tax season. […]

Tax day isn’t until April, but the average refund is already down more than 8 percent compared to last year. Anecdotal evidence is also rolling in that people who expected refunds are getting hit with extra tax bills instead. An intrepid Twitter user even compiled a collection of Trump supporters doing their taxes and discovering, to their horror, that their year-end tax bill went up.

Kathryn Kranhold, writing at NBC News, details how the bulk of the tax cut’s benefit went to big corporations for corporate buybacks, not bonuses or raises:

Bonuses have registered less of an impact, increasing just 2 cents an hour in the first nine months of 2018, according to Lawrence Mishel, former president of the Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning research group.

The increase was “imperceptible,” Mishel wrote in December on EPI’s blog. “Whatever growth in bonuses has taken place is not necessarily attributable to the tax cuts, rather than employer efforts to recruit workers in a continued low unemployment environment.”

By all accounts, companies poured a hefty portion of the tax windfall into buying back shares, a move designed to at least temporarily boost stock prices, which benefits executives and other large stockholders. And buybacks, evidently unlike bonuses or wage increases, will certainly continue…

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