Americans are already keeping more of their paychecks this year, but many of them don’t even realize it, anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist told CNBC on Friday.
There’s been a lot of talk about President Donald Trump’s tax cuts, which were signed into law six months ago, and what they might mean for people when they begin filing their 2018 taxes in January.
With Republicans and Democrats split along party lines on the long-term benefits and drawbacks of tax reform, one thing is clear: The government, shortly after the new year, started taking a smaller cut from workers in the form of “less withholding,” Norquist said in a “Squawk Box” interview. “People's take-home pay actually went up in February."
However, since about 80 percent of Americans are paid via direct deposit to their bank accounts, many of them are not closely looking at their take-home pay, said the founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform. “So when there was an effort by Republicans, they said look at your pay stub. Many Americans don't see a pay stub because the money gets directly deposited.”
Norquist said that lax monitoring among those who get direct deposits could explain why Trump’s tax overhaul is not more popular.
Public support for the new tax law dropped sharply over the past two months, with approval at 37 percent in June compared with 44 percent in April, according to the latest poll from Politico and data tracker Morning Consult. (Nearly 2,000 registered voters were surveyed from June 22-24. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.)
Voters might not have been hearing enough about the benefits of the tax cuts from Trump, said Norquist. "Even when the president talks about it, it's in the context of 20 other things in his speech. He hasn't focused that way."
However, on Friday, Trump touted the tax cuts at a White House event, and thanked officials who helped push the bill across the finish line late last year.
Norquist’s ATR group is a powerful force in conservative politics, pressing legislators and political candidates to sign its Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a written promise to oppose any efforts to increase taxes for working Americans and U.S. businesses.