7 low income workers who probably paid more tax than Trump in 2017

Joanna Taylor
Monday 28 September 2020 08:45
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( PASCAL POCHARD-CASABIANCA / Win McNamee / Joe Raedle / Getty Images)

According to bombshell revelations in The New York Times, Donald Trump paid just $750 in federal income tax in the years 2016 and 2017.

The newspaper also claims that he paid no income tax at all for ten of the previous 15 years.

Trump has always been shy about releasing his tax returns, despite every other president since the 1970s having done so. But he has denied the NYT's claims, dismissing them as "fake news".

If true (the NYT cite "sources with legal access" to the records), this would mean that Trump paid significantly less income tax in the year he was elected and his first year as president than many low or averagely paid American workers.

That includes workers in these seven predominantly public sector jobs.

Nurses

Nurses, who had an average salary of $72,180 (£55,523 based on contemporary conversions) in 2016, reportedly paid around $10,216 in income tax while Trump allegedly paid just $750 (£580).

The lowest paid nurses in the United States are currently paid $48,690 (£37,978) as they battle with coronavirus in its worst-hit country.

Firefighters

The average salary of a firefighter in 2017 was $53,240 (£40,462), although many – such as those working in Kentucky, Minnesota or South Carolina – made almost $20,000 less than that.

This means they paid an estimated $9,049 (£6,877) in income tax on average in 2017, while Trump again allegedly paid $750.

Teachers

K-12 teachers (that is, teachers who teach pupils from kindergarten to the twelfth grade) on an average salary paid an estimated $10,327 (£7,849) in income tax in 2016 and 2017.

Some teachers went on strike in 2016, followed by tens of thousands more in 2018-19 following budget cuts and a decrease in employee benefits.

Librarians

Librarians on an average salary paid an estimated $6,729 (£5,114) in income tax in 2017, again dwarfing Trump's $750.

According to a survey of United States librarians, their single biggest frustration with the job is "low pay, low budgets across the board".

Social Workers

The average salary of a social worker in 2017 was $46,285 (£35,177), meaning that they paid around £7,310 (£5,556) in income tax.

That's almost ten times as much income tax as Trump allegedly paid in 2016 and 2017.

Hairdressers

A hairdresser on a salary of $24,000 – close to the median in the United States – would have paid an estimated $3,134 (£2,381) in income tax in 2017.

While Trump may not have shelled out much on his taxes over the years, he did spend $70,000 (£55,000) on his hair while hosting The Apprentice and wrote it off as business according to the NYT.

Janitors

Janitors, or caretakers as they're usually known in the UK, on an average salary paid around $3,460 (£2,630) in income tax in 2017.

So again, that's a lot more than Trump.

It's worth remembering when reading these statistics that the cost of living in the US is as much as 6.5 per cent greater than it is in the UK. And that American workers don't have all of the same benefits as British workers, like 28 days of paid holiday or access to free healthcare.

They certainly don't have their own hotels, golf courses or private jets like their billionaire president.

And yet, they're expected to fund the very public institutions for which they also provide their labour, to a much greater extent than he does.

But do we think this will change the minds of his most ardent supporters? Sadly not.

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