Seth Hanlon

Seth Hanlon, a former special assistant to President Barack Obama for economic policy, is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, where he focuses on federal tax and budget policy.

Recent Articles

How the Tax Act Embodies the Republican Culture of Corruption

The Tax Act is a Christmas tree of special-interest tax breaks. The only thing more corrupt than the substance was the way it was enacted.

(Chris Kleponis/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images)
This article appears in the Summer 2018 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . The Trump era has been defined by corruption: secret hush money payoffs, financial entanglements with foreign governments, constant grifting, and abuse of power to reward allies and punish enemies. And the most significant legislation that President Trump has signed into law—the 2017 Tax Act—is best understood as another product of Washington’s culture of corruption under Republican control. The law showered massive new tax cuts on the wealthy and corporations at a time of rising inequality, record after-tax corporate profits, unmet domestic needs, and rising deficits. These tax cuts were deeply unpopular with the American people, but demanded by the Republican Party’s political donors. Given the basic mismatch between what the American people wanted on taxes and what Republicans were delivering, congressional leaders made two strategic decisions to force their...