President Trump and Republican lawmakers are seriously hoping their tax-code rewrite will gain popularity.
More than half of Americans disapprove of the bill Trump signed into law Friday, according to a CNN poll.
But the number of low-income people who disapprove could increase if comedian Dave Chappelle’s message gets out.
The comedian, who has previously criticized Trump’s treatment of the “historically disenfranchised,” has a new Netflix special coming out on New Year’s Eve in which he tackles Trump, the economy and race.
Chappelle, a D.C. native who now lives in an Ohio county that went for Trump in 2016, joked about “poor whites” being his least favorite group because of the trouble they’ve recently caused, alluding to their support for the president:
“I looked them right in their coal-smeared faces. And to my surprise, you know what I didn’t see? I didn’t see one deplorable face in that group. I saw some angry faces and some determined faces, but they felt like decent folk.”
Chappelle previously said he suspected Trump would win based on his conversations with neighbors, fans and others outside of the liberal coastal metropolises that backed Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Addressing the relationships between various races has been a common theme for the entertainer over the years. But Chappelle said he began to feel sorry for low-income white Americans recently because he knows how they are viewed by wealthy Americans from places like Manhattan.
“I know that rich white people call poor white people trash. And the only reason I know that is because I made so much money last year, the rich whites told me; they say it at a cocktail party.
“And I stood with them in line, like all of us Americans are required to do in a democracy — nobody skips the line to vote — and I listened to them. I listened to them say naive poor white people things: ‘Man, Donald Trump’s gonna go to Washington, and he’s gonna fight for us.’
I’m standing there thinking in my mind: ‘You are poor. He’s fighting for me.’ ”
Conservative lawmakers have worked hard to push back on the idea that their tax bill primarily benefits wealthy Americans. Most Americans — particularly those outside of Trump’s base — don’t think that the bill will benefit low-income Americans.
According to an analysis from the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, 8 in 10 Americans will pay lower taxes next year. Only 5 percent of people will pay more next year.
However, those changes are viewed as temporary and will still disproportionately benefit affluent Americans, according to The Washington Post’s editorial board:
The bill is a victory for wealthy heirs, who will no longer have to pay estate taxes on inheritance worth up to $22 million. It helps tax dodgers and their lawyers, who will have some potentially huge new loopholes to exploit. Because the drafting process was so hasty and sloppy, no doubt there are many hidden in the text that even its authors do not realize are there.
The bill is a victory for corporations that look like the Trump Organization, the president’s privately held real estate business. “Pass-through” businesses like many of those within the Trump Organization get a new tax break.
Despite multiple takes claiming that the affluent will benefit most from the bill, white Americans with no college education are among some of the most supportive of the tax bill, according to the CNN poll. This is somewhat unsurprising considering that demographic's ongoing support for the president's agenda since the earliest days of his presidential campaign.
Clinton won low-income voters overall in the 2016 election, but white low-income voters went for Trump. These are Americans who displayed “economic anxiety,” despite an improved economy and declining unemployment under President Barack Obama.
But what many of these Americans may not know is Trump also won most affluent Americans, according to Post exit polls, and he probably feels that he must promote an agenda that protects their interests. And it is Democrats, Chappelle and even nonpartisan analysts who will continue to argue that it is this group of Americans who will probably benefit most from Trump’s economic agenda — and perhaps his presidency as a whole.