The controversial tax reform bill is one step closer to President Trump's desk. On Tuesday, the House passed the GOP tax plan in a 227-to-203 vote, with 12 Republicans voting against it and no Democrats voting for it.
One of the most prominent parts of the bill is that it would lower the corporate tax rate to 21 percent from the current 35 percent. For small business owners and investors, it would change the rules on pass-through tax, lowering the rate to just 20 percent for the first $315,000. The upper end of the tax bracket for individuals would also see a decrease to 37 percent, a fall from the current 39.6 percent. Other taxes are reduced or gone, such as the estate tax.
Now the bill heads by the Senate, where Democrats are just as united in opposition. Virginia Sen. Mark Warner criticized the plan on Monday — "I believe it's the single worst piece of legislation that I've seen since I've been in the Senate," he told CNBC's John Harwood. Warner specifically pointed to economists who say that the economic growth promised by the bill won't materialize because the state of the economy is already pretty good as a whole. Still, Republicans last week announced they struck a tentative deal on the bill.
The bill was robustly criticized in the media, too. Journalist Fareed Zakaria wrote a piece in The Washington Post calling the GOP tax plan possibly "the worst piece of legislation in modern history." He argued that it would starve the country of necessary investments, particularly in infrastructure spending.
Those who vote for this tax bill — possibly the worst piece of major legislation in a generation — will live in infamy, as the country slowly breaks down.
But it was not just Democrats and opinion writers voicing opposition to the bill before the House vote. Polls show that the general public is against it as well. A CNN poll conducted by SSRS from Dec. 14 to Dec. 17 found that 59 percent of Americans oppose the measure, while just 35 percent approve of it.
Perhaps most tellingly, 37 percent of respondents thought that their families would be worse off if the bill passed and just 21 percent better off. But when asked about how the tax bill will affect President Trump and his family, an overwhelming 63 percent thought that he would be better off; just 5 percent of respondents thought that he and his family would be worse off.
In total, 66 percent thought that the bill as written will do more to benefit the wealthy, and that fits with what experts have found also. Chuck Marr, director of federal tax policy at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, told FastCompany that the bill does very little for the poor and working class.
Trump's campaign was all about these forgotten working class people. One would expect that in a bill where you have $1.5 trillion to allocate, that something would be done for these people. But when you look at it, there's just very little.
Of the $1.5 trillion total, $1 trillion goes to businesses and $500 billion to people. Some 27 percent will go to the top 1 percent of income earners in 2019. The top 2 to 5 percent of income earners will get another 25 percent of the total tax savings. By comparison, only 1 percent of that pie will go to the poorest 20 percent, the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found, using the final compromise plan to run its figures.
Even despite Democratic opposition in the Senate, the bill is expected to pass there, again on purely Republican votes. Sen. John McCain, who will be in his home state of Arizona for medical treatment, will miss the Senate vote, but Republicans can still afford to lose another few votes. Assuming it passes the Senate, too, Trump will likely sign the bill into law before Christmas.