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Are Republican Voters Done With Tax Cuts?

Michael Rainey

The White House is reportedly mulling another tax cut in the form of an inflation adjustment on capital gains and President Trump has promised a middle-class tax cut if Republicans sweep the 2020 election, but according to Jackson Gode and Vanessa Williamson of the Brookings Institution, all that talk about tax cuts isn’t likely to win the GOP much support at the ballot box.  

The Republican Party may still be beholden to the Reagan-era belief in the power of tax cuts, Gode and Williamson said Tuesday on a Brookings blog, but few Americans share that faith. According to polls, most Americans say they pay about the right amount in taxes, and taxes are low on the list of problems most people say are facing the country (see the chart below). President Trump’s big legislative success, the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, was largely a political failure, with few people believing they had received a tax cut, even though 80% did get some kind of benefit.

“At the end of the day, the administration’s talk about taxes are a sideshow,” Gode and Williamson write, marking “an enormous shift in the Republican Party.” Trump’s voter base is motivated by other things – namely, “racism and xenophobia” – which suggests that the promise of a new round of tax cuts, however insincere, isn’t likely to help mobilize voters heading into what promises to be a hotly contested election in 2020.


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