To thwart a possible recession, Trump should work on policies that support workers
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There have been a growing number of reports that another recession is on the horizon, with some economists predicting that it may happen within a year. Last month, in response to the news, President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump suggests Sotomayor, Ginsburg should have to recuse themselves on 'Trump related' cases Sanders says idea he can't work with Republicans is 'total nonsense' Sanders releases list of how to pay for his proposals MORE and his economic advisor Larry Kudlow floated and retracted a number of possible solutions, including another set of “middle-class tax cuts.”

If that wording sounds familiar, it’s because the Trump administration promised Americans middle-class tax cuts in 2017, but instead gave the rich and big corporations a $1.5 trillion windfall. Now, as the 2020 election heats up, working Americans are understandably nervous at the prospect of a possible recession. Trump, for his part, has shown his only interest is in effectuating anything he thinks will bring him personal or political gain.

But the fact of the matter is the last thing this country needs to survive another recession is more tax cuts for the rich.


As it currently stands, the 2017 tax plan that Trump and a GOP-led Congress passed severely limits how the government can respond to any future economic downturn. By increasing the United States’ debt-to-GDP ratio, policymakers have been left little room to implement fiscal policies that will help mitigate the impact of a recession.

Growing deficits are being weaponized as reasons to not create, expand, or fund vital government programs. When a recession does indeed hit, some lawmakers will claim their hands are tied and continue to use “out of control debt” as an excuse to say we can't do anything to help people suffering. But the “out of control debt” they’re referring to is the one they continue to feed – and grow – with reckless tax policy.  With these tax laws that benefit the wealthy, Republicans are creating their own excuse to make unfounded attacks on earned benefits and Social Security and Medicare, allowing themselves to claim that the government will be unable to afford needed support for workers and communities. We’ve seen this time and again: they give handouts to the wealthy and then come for our health care to pay for them.

American workers are already vulnerable because of the drastically increasing divide between the rich and the poor. In 2017 Trump boldly proclaimed that those tax cuts would be “rocket fuel for the American economy.” The only thing that’s taken off from that GOP tax scam is our country’s rapidly growing inequality.

Whether or not Trump will actually make this latest whim a reality, there is no denying that if another recession hits, Trump’s previous tax plans have already made our recovery even more precarious than it was following the last recession.

Today, the 2017 GOP tax plan overwhelmingly benefits wealthy Americans and high-earning corporations, with 83 percent of the benefits going to just the top 1 percent. And despite being a massive giveaway to corporations, these same companies have failed to use those government subsidized earnings to help workers, representing once more, the failures of trickle-down economics.


In fact, the already-stagnant wages of blue-collar workers have barely changed since the law was passed. Even Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioGOP casts Sanders as 2020 boogeyman Agencies play catch-up over security concerns with TikTok Sanders: 'Unfair to simply say everything is bad' in Cuba under Castro MORE (R-Fla.) had to admit that there’s “no evidence, whatsoever” that the tax cuts were helping American workers.

So where exactly did all the money from these massive tax giveaways go? Right back into the pockets of shareholders and executives, as had been the plan all along.

What this means is that, for example, while thousands of Americans continue to struggle to afford basic prescription drugs like insulin, pharmaceutical companies, who benefited greatly from the 2017 cuts, are enriching hedge fund managers and investors through massive stock buyback programs and simultaneously raising the costs of the drugs for those in need.

Before the 2017 GOP tax scam became law, Trump and Congressional Republicans repeatedly lied to the American people about the nature of the proposal. They claimed these tax cuts would be a boon to the economy, that they would help working Americans, that they weren’t merely a handout to the rich. Americans know this wasn’t true: the GOP tax law holds the distinct honor of being the most unpopular piece of legislation passed in modern history.

But we cannot take Trump and Larry KudlowLawrence (Larry) Alan KudlowMORE’s toying with even more tax cuts in the future lightly. It not only flies in the face of the moral good, but also shows a complete disregard of the broad, historically proven failures of trickle-down economics.

If Donald Trump is truly concerned about a recession, he should start with policies that would actually support workers, who are the engine of the American economy. Instead, it seems he’s merely interested in further filling the coffers of the wealthy and privileged, like himself.

Maura Quint is the Executive Director of Tax March.