Giving with One Hand and Taking with the Other

Last December the president and the Republican congress gave America a tax cut. Sure, the vast majority of it went to the rich, but there were a few crumbs for the middle and working class, too. As it turns out, though, they didn’t get to keep their crumbs.

What’s been happening since the tax cut has more than offset the benefits of the cuts.

  • The president has imposed new taxes in the form of tariffs. A tariff is a tax on goods. Which ultimately is paid by consumers. Which means the costs of goods at Target, Walmart, Best Buy, Costco, Sam’s Club, Lowe’s and Home Depot have gone up and will go up even more as the new taxes kick in. And as the president unilaterally imposes even more new taxes.
  • The Federal Reserve has increased interest rates. Which means people are paying more to borrow. On their mortgages and auto loans. And their credit cards. And student loans.
  • Gas prices have risen. The average price of gas has risen by about 17 percent since the tax cuts were enacted, in part due to the president’s sanctions on Iran and the troubles in Venezuela.
  • Home prices have continued to rise. In quite a few places, home prices are now appreciably higher than they were during the housing bubble of the last decade.
  • Tuition and health care prices have continued their march higher. Colleges are tone deaf when it comes to affordability. They continue to increase tuition at rates well in excess of the increase in household income. And health care is equally insensitive to costs. Prices continue their relentless upward march, aided by public policies that are insensitive to working folk.

But at least the corporations, major stockholders and wealthy people saw a big decrease in their taxes and rise in the value of their assets. Which, of course, was funded by debt (the federal government borrowing more, which will have to be repaid by our children and grandchildren).

There are always winners and losers. And it’s easy to predict who they’re going to be.

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