Tax cuts since 2000 have mostly benefited high earners: study

Tax cuts since 2000 have mostly benefited high earners: study
© Greg Nash

Households in the top fifth of income levels have received 65 percent of the value of tax changes enacted since 2000, according to a report released Wednesday by the left-leaning Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP).

The report looked at significant tax cuts and increases enacted during the administrations of George W. Bush, Barack ObamaBarack Hussein Obama4 ways Hillary looms over the 2020 race Obama goes viral after sporting black bomber jacket with '44' on sleeve at basketball game Obama attends UNC-Duke basketball game MORE and Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff urges GOP colleagues to share private concerns about Trump publicly US-China trade talks draw criticism for lack of women in pictures Overnight Defense: Trump to leave 200 troops in Syria | Trump, Kim plan one-on-one meeting | Pentagon asks DHS to justify moving funds for border wall MORE.

These include the Bush tax cuts and the permanent extension of most of them, expansions of the earned income tax credit and child tax credit, ObamaCare taxes on high earners and Trump's tax law passed last year.


“Anyone who is concerned about working Americans — the people who are at the bottom and the middle — would have to conclude that tax policy has not been geared to help them, particularly in the Bush years and the Trump years,” Steve Wamhoff, one of the study's authors, told The Hill.

ITEP found that from 2001 through 2018, the tax changes have reduced federal revenue by $5.1 trillion, and by the end of 2025, they will have reduced federal revenue by $10.6 trillion. Including interest payments, the tax changes are projected to add $13.6 trillion to the deficit from 2001 through 2025, according to the study.

The group said that the effect of the post-2000 tax changes on various income groups changed over time.

In 2012, when the Bush tax cuts and some Obama tax cuts were in effect, the highest earners saw the biggest tax cut from post-2000 tax changes as a share of their income.

In 2015, when some of the Bush tax cuts were reversed for high earners and the ObamaCare taxes went into effect, groups across the income spectrum received similar-sized tax cuts from the post-2000 tax changes as a percent of income.

In 2018, the wealthiest again see the biggest tax cut as a percentage of income due to the Trump tax cuts, according to the report.