David Koch — who has a net worth of over $50 billion — loves his new tax cut, and also wants you to love the latest $1.5 trillion handout to the rich.
Ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, the Koch-funded propaganda arm consisting of various nonprofits, Super PACs, and front groups is preparing to flood the airwaves and internet with $20 million in messaging aimed at convincing Americans to support President Trump’s wildly unpopular new tax giveaways. According to BuzzFeed News, the campaign will also include good old-fashioned door-knocking and phone banking.
“We will make a massive push to show how pro-growth policies can revitalize the economy and open the floodgates to new opportunity, innovation, and prosperity,” Koch spokesman James Davis told BuzzFeed News. “There’s no doubt this was an historic achievement, but it was only the first step.”
It makes sense that Republicans are so eager to give their tax plan an image makeover. Last month, FiveThirtyEight compared the tax bill’s approval rating with approval ratings of previous tax hikes, and discovered that President Trump’s tax cut hit historic new lows in terms of popularity with the public.
FiveThirtyEight analyzed multiple polls conducted by respected pollsters such as ABC News/Washington Post, Morning Consult, Quinnipiac YouGov, and CNN. George H.W. Bush’s 1990 tax increase had 41 percent approval, while Bill Clinton’s 1993 tax increases had just 34 percent approval. However, the November average for Trump’s tax bill was a mere 32 percent.
The unpopularity of the tax bill likely stems from its overwhelming benefits for the wealthy — particularly those who draw income through real estate shell companies (also known as pass-throughs). Anti-Trump senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) came on board in support of the tax bill following Senator Orrin Hatch’s (R-Utah) addition of a tax cut on real estate pass-throughs that became known as the “Corker Kickback.” Corker’s annual pass-through income is as much as $7 million.
Heirs to the Koch Brothers estate, who also inherited their wealth, would stand to reap a significant benefit from the tax bill’s doubling of the estate tax threshold, which now allows for up to $10 million ($22.4 million for couples) to be passed down tax-free before the 35 percent tax kicks in. This benefit would extend to Wyatt Ingraham Koch (son of Bill Koch), who went viral on Twitter following the tax bill’s passage hawking his gaudy t-shirts while unironically wearing a shirt covered in moneybags:
Democrats are running on the tax bill’s unpopularity in advance of the 2018 midterms, and are already funding attack ads on Republicans who voted for the bill’s passage.
Jordan Shaw is a New Jersey-based freelancer specializing in national and state government issues. When he’s not writing, you can find him volunteering in Camden, New Jersey, or hiking the Wissahickon Valley Park.