Editor’s note: This is part of an ongoing series highlighting the local impact of Trump’s policies in key counties in MI, PA, WI, and FL.
President Trump’s marquee policy achievement, the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, appears to be primarily benefiting giant, multinational corporations, and ransacking communities across America, like St. Lucie County, Florida, which has experienced a staggering rise of layoffs since the bill’s passage in 2017.
In 2017, 263 employees of Liberty Medical — once the largest private employer in Port St. Lucie — were laid off as part of a deal to liquidate its assets. And in the aftermath of Trump’s tax cut, Liberty Medical was acquired by Cardinal Health, a mammoth multinational healthcare corporation and 14th highest revenue generating company in the United States. Cardinal Health proceeded to report an increase of $2.6 billion in revenue partially due to Trump’s tax bill, while having laid off the former Liberty Medical employees in St. Lucie.
In March 2017, a local KMart in Fort Pierce, Florida also closed its doors for the final time as part of a nationwide downsizing of more than 100 stores. But even amidst their bankruptcy filing, executives later utilized the tax cuts provided by Trump’s bill to line their pockets with an additional $25.3 million in bonuses.
Steve Mnuchin served as a board member of Sears from 2005 to December 2016 until he was appointed Treasury Secretary by President Trump, where he oversaw formulation of crucial components of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
According to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, the tax bill exacerbates an already growing gulf of economic inequality between the extremely wealthy and everyone else, boosting the incomes of the top 1% at three times the rate of the bottom 60% of American households. Trump’s tax bill has also primarily benefited large CEOs and shareholders of multinational corporations, boosting buybacks to the tune of billions while leaving dividends paid to employees flat — the widest discrepancy between corporate stock buybacks and dividends rendered in 18 years.
President Trump is staking his reelection in 2020 on the economy. But as his tax law continues to spur layoffs and economic inequality in regions like St. Lucie — a county he needs should he want to reclaim Florida — it remains unclear whether these voters plan to turn out for the president again.