After congressional Republicans approved a tax plan on Wednesday that gives massive tax breaks to corporations and wealthy Americans while raising taxes on working families, the son of billionaire Bill Koch emerged as the face of those who will benefit from the scheme while it turbocharges inequality and lays the groundwork for a massive assault on the social safety net, public education, and other vital programs.
Thanks to the GOP’s tax plan, which doubles the estate tax exemption “from $5.49 million per individual to about $11 million,” according to CNBC, the offspring of millionaires and billionaires—like Wyatt Ingraham Koch and the children of President Donald Trump—will pay millions less in taxes on their inheritance when their rich parents die. Wyatt’s father is worth about $1.69 billion, and Bill Koch—the brother of long-time right-wing political donors Charles and David—has spent millions on federal lobbying for gas and oil issues.
RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of National Nurses United, the nation’s largest union and professional association of nurses, tweeted a now widely-shared video featuring Wyatt Koch along with a list of some programs that will experience cuts because of the GOP tax plan.
The young Koch—who counts among his favorite things “playing tennis at Mar-a-Lago”—according to Vanity Fair, “runs an eponymous Palm Beach-based clothing brand called Wyatt Ingraham, which sells button-up shirts in patterns you may find on a Goldman Sachs middle manager at a Southampton Fourth of July party when he wants to ‘let loose.'” One such shirt is “festooned with actual money bags.”
Others were quick to use Wyatt as an example of who is benefiting most from the plan:
Before the plan passed Congress and was sent to the president’s desk, tax experts warned that in addition nearly doubling the estate tax and giving more than 80 percent of tax cuts to the nation’s richest one percent, the legislation would also—among other things—raise taxes on 92 million middle-class families; increase healthcare premiums; encourage outsourcing of U.S.-based jobs; and limit deductions for state and local taxes.
As Bloomberg noted Thursday, Republicans hope to “channel momentum from the GOP’s victory on taxes into a push to overhaul the nation’s welfare programs,” fulfilling House Speaker Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) decades-long goal of “reshaping the social safety net for the poor and disabled, as well as programs including food stamps and Medicaid.”
Ryan said as much in a Fox News interview late Wednesday, following the House’s second vote to pass the GOP tax plan.
“People want able bodied people who are on welfare to go to work, they want us to get people out of poverty, into the workforce,” Ryan said. “That’s good for them, that’s good for the economy, that’s good for the federal budget.”
With its 2018 budget proposal, the Trump administration has already laid the groundwork for cutting safety net programs. As Bloomberg notes, the proposal features “steep reductions in food stamps, Medicaid health insurance payments, Social Security disability benefits, low-income housing assistance, and block grants that fund meals-on-wheels for the elderly.”