The IRS has begun accepting tax returns for 2019. More than 150 million taxpayers are expected to file this year.
Some taxpayers will begin to feel a sense of helpless frustration as they prepare to hand over a chunk of their hard-earned money to the government. Others will anxiously wait to see how much of their hard-earned money the government will be willing to give back.
One comfort most Americans can take to heart this year, however, is that many have more money in their pockets to begin than they did before President Trump was in the White House — especially those on the lower half of the economic ladder.
The Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) recently released data showing that from the end of 2016 through the first half of 2019, the net wealth of the bottom 50 percent of American households soared by 47 percent. This is more than three times the rate of increase for those at the top, which rose 13 percent.
Data indicates Americans have more money than they did before Trump’s presidency but Americans don’t feel like they are better off financially.
In other words, middle-class and lower-income Americans have seen their personal finances improve at a much faster rate than wealthier Americans. When you combine this with record-low unemployment (across virtually every demographic), enormous consumer and business confidence, strong economic growth, and a surging stock market, the economic future for all Americans appears pretty bright.
So, the radical Democratic-media talking point that Trump’s economic policies only benefit the wealthy is complete baloney. It is fitting that the CEA’s revelations came out as we just passed the two-year anniversary of the implementation of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act. Recall the chorus of Democratic and media voices who did their best to convince Americans that the tax overhaul would only help the rich – even when more than 80 percent of American households would see a reduction to their tax burdens under the law.
Unfortunately, when the Democrats lied about the tax overhaul, a great many Americans believed them. In poll after poll, Americans believed that the tax cuts only benefited corporations and the extremely rich. Indeed, the Winston Group found that, based on surveys and exit polls from the 2018 midterm elections, only 32 percent of voters believed that the GOP tax law reduced tax rates for everyone.
This is something to which every Republican candidate (and everyone in the White House) should pay attention because it could be bigger than a communication problem.
Through a few polling and survey projects Gingrich 360 is doing, we have heard from a number of Americans who do not feel they are benefiting personally in this economy. To be clear, they recognize that the economy is strong – but they don’t feel like it is benefiting their personal finances.
We aren’t the only ones hearing this. A poll conducted by The Financial Times and the Peter G. Peterson Foundation in October found that nearly two-thirds of American voters said they are not better off financially than they were when Trump became president.
There is a significant disconnect here. The data indicates Americans have more money than they did before Trump’s presidency, but Americans don’t feel like they are better off financially. This disconnect may very well signify a much deeper problem with how Republicans communicate – and perhaps reveal a policy issue that needs to be fixed.
The economy should be a huge strength for GOP candidates in 2020. But if people don’t feel like their lives are improving on a personal level, it might not be enough.