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EDITORIAL: Wealthy Americans will pay more in income taxes thanks to GOP reform

Under Nancy Pelosi’s leadership in the House, Democrats have been consistent electoral losers in recent years. Republicans gained big in 2010 and 2014 while suffering only minimal losses in 2012 and 2016.

Progressives have high hopes for this November, of course. But if they manage to bungle the upcoming midterms, they’ll probably have Ms. Pelosi to thank for it.

Republicans in more moderate or conservative states will no doubt tie Democratic House candidates to the San Francisco leftist. In addition, Ms. Pelosi has a penchant for allowing her mouth to get ahead of her brain. No doubt, GOP operatives were high-fiving when the House minority leader recently announced that Democrats plan to repeal the Trump tax cuts if they regain control of the lower chamber.

Perhaps this plays well with the party’s “soak the rich” collectivist base. But running on higher taxes carries an obvious element of risk, particularly for more mainstream Democrats. Not to mention, the “rich don’t pay their fair share” argument keeps becoming more difficult to defend in the face of the facts.

A new study from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center reveals how the Republican tax bill will influence revenue collections this year. As Laura Saunders of The Wall Street Journal pointed out over the weekend, the “rich” will pay a higher share of federal income taxes under the Trump plan.

“For 2018, households in the top 20 percent will have incomes of about $150,000 or more and 52 percent of the total income,” she explains. “But they will pay 87 percent of income taxes, up from about 84 percent last year.”

As for the evil “1 percent”? They’ll generate 43 percent of all income tax revenue in 2018, up from 38 percent in 2017, Ms. Saunders reports.

Meanwhile, those households in the bottom 60 percent — with income up to about $86,000 — will “pay no net federal income tax in 2018.” That’s down from 2017, when they furnished the government with 2 percent of its income tax take.

In other words, more households will have no federal income tax obligation this year — indeed, many will be net recipients, thanks to programs Congress has implemented that funnel financial benefits through the tax code.

The study shows “how steeply progressive the U.S. income tax remains,” Ms. Saunders notes, even after implementation of the Trump tax reform.

Don’t expect to hear any of this from Ms. Pelosi or from Democratic House incumbents and candidates. They’re too invested in the false narrative that America’s high earners are somehow being subsidized through the income tax code by those who pay nothing at all. The reality is quite different.

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