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One chart explains the difference between Democrats and Republicans

President Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Biden, October 2020
Reuters/Jim Bourg/Pool
A tale of two presidents.
  • Tim Fernholz
By Tim Fernholz

Senior reporter


The expected passage of president Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan this week offers a sharp contrast to president Donald Trump’s signature legislation, the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The Tax Policy Center compared each bill’s effects on Americans’ after-tax income, breaking out the results by income level:

The Biden plan provides disproportionate benefits to the poorest Americans, thanks to its temporary expansion of child tax credits and targeted subsidies to the working class; the Trump tax cuts delivered their benefits largely to Americans in the top 20% of earners. 1

Here are the cash values for annual income at each earning threshold: Lowest quintile: Below $25,500; Second quintile, $25,500 to $51,000; Third quintile: $51,000 to $91,100; Fourth Quintile: $91,000 to $164,300; Fifth quintile: Above $164,300; Top 1 Percent: More than $799,100; Top .1 Percent: More than $3,496,000.

To coin a phrase, pay attention to what politicians do, not what they say.

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