Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) called out President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans for passing tax reforms in 2017 because Americans received smaller tax refunds this year than in the past. However, many noted that doesn’t mean Americans lost money.
Tax refunds became a major story after several outlets reported that the average tax refund for Americans had dropped by around $170. Harris jumped on the story as an example of how the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, championed by Republicans, was a disaster for middle-class Americans.
The average tax refund is down about $170 compared to last year. Let’s call the President’s tax cut what it is: a middle-class tax hike to line the pockets of already wealthy corporations and the 1%.
— Kamala Harris (@KamalaHarris) February 11, 2019
Harris wasn’t alone in her criticisms of the Republican tax plan. Several other Democrats and left-leaning activists jumped on the bandwagon to slam Trump for supporting the legislation:
We tried telling you it was a tax scam bill but many didn’t listen. 🤷🏻♀️ https://t.co/zZJLtugwqL
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) February 10, 2019
Who’s paying for that huge tax cut billionaires and corporations got from Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell and the GOP in 2017? If you’re thinking you are, you’re probably right. https://t.co/DOrGebrvX5
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) February 9, 2019
Want actual evidence that the #GOP tax scam raised taxes on millions of middle class Americans? Read below.
— Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) February 9, 2019
While Harris’ summary of the reduced tax refund may have gotten a lot of buzz for her 2020 presidential bid, it doesn’t correctly reflect how middle-class Americans were impacted by the tax refund.
In reality, the vast majority of Americans received a tax cut, which was reflected in their paychecks throughout 2018. They paid less money to the IRS.
A tax return isn’t the government giving people money. It is the government returning the excess money they took from Americans, like a zero-interest loan to the IRS from the people. The reports that Harris referenced actually mean that Americans kept more of their money instead of having the government hold onto it.
Several people took to Twitter to point this out to those on the left who were condemning the tax reforms despite the tax savings for most Americans:
Um, you do know that just because the tax refund is lower does not mean people are paying more in taxes. Because a senator could not be that economically illiterate right? https://t.co/asBXSj4itg
— Marc Thiessen (@marcthiessen) February 12, 2019
Tax refunds are down? That evil gubmint is taking less of my money! I'm mad because I'm gullible! pic.twitter.com/Ye6beJiV6r
— Austin Petersen (@AP4Liberty) February 11, 2019
Do you….. not understand that people's refunds are less under Trump's plan…. because they paid less taxes to start with? https://t.co/yJOOTXaxMB
— Cabot Phillips (@cabot_phillips) February 11, 2019
Uh, because people were keeping more of their take home pay, as in not giving it to the government, so they received less of a refund back. Paying less in tax means less of a refund. You don’t just magically get money that isn’t yours. https://t.co/1Bz4Aup7ap
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) February 12, 2019
Republicans attribute the tax reforms and reduction in regulation as part of the reason why the economy broke several records in the past year. Consumer confidence, gross domestic product, and wages have all seen growth while unemployment plummeted.
The tax cuts are one of the largest accomplishments for Trump’s first two years in office, and they will likely be one of the main focuses for Republicans in 2020, including the president’s re-election bid.