House Tax Bill Harms Low-Income Families

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U.S. Capitol Building. Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Washington, D.C. – Bread for the World today expressed concern that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, introduced in the House of Representatives, will harm low-income families. 

The same budget resolution that permits $1.5 trillion in deficit spending for tax cuts outlines more than $2 trillion in cuts to low-income programs such as SNAP and Medicaid.

The direct benefits of the House tax bill would go mainly to high-income people, with mixed impacts among middle-income families and no help for low-income families.

In fact, it could load lots of new paperwork and delay on many low-income workers who qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit. It would end the Child Tax Credit for three million children in low-income immigrant families. The average annual income for these working families is $21,000 a year, and they would lose an average of $1,800.

The bill also eliminates the New Market Tax Credit, which has done more to fight food deserts than any other program to date and has created up to 750,000 jobs in low-income communities.  

The bill’s defenders argue that it will boost the job market. While deficit spending is likely to boost to the economy, the corporate sector already has cash reserves they are not investing, and high-income people tend to spend less of their income than low- and middle-income people.

“This tax bill is part of an unprecedented push to shift resources from low-income to high-income people,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “It’s hard to see how shifting resources from low-income to high-income people will create jobs.”

Beckmann is both a Lutheran pastor and an economist. 

Last week, Bread released “Tax Policy Is a Hunger Issue,” which outlines how tax reform could be used to help low-income families and reduce hunger. 

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