by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Senator Kamala Harris (D., Calif.) notes that the average tax refund is $170 lower than last year, and comments, “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%.”
The Joint Committee on Taxation found that taxpayers in every income category would, on average, see tax cuts under the Republican law. Filers making between $40,000 and $100,000 a year will also see their share of the federal tax burden decline slightly. Some taxpayers will, however, defy the averages and pay larger tax bills.
Trends in the average refund tell us nothing about trends in the average tax burden. (If average refunds are smaller, it could mean that withholding has gotten more accurate and people have been able to hold on to more of their income during the year instead of loaning it, interest-free, to the federal government.) And we don’t even know what the average refund is yet, since we’re still early in tax season.
This criticism of the tax cut is, at best, ignorant, and its political appeal is based on public ignorance.