In a brief statement released the same day as the IRS data, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin ignored the bad news, saying simply that tax filing season “has successfully launched with millions of tax returns having been filed,” and thanking the federal workers “who have been working diligently to ensure the system is processing these returns efficiently.”


It remains to be seen whether the trend of diminishing tax returns will hold throughout the entire filing season (taxes are due April 15, so we’ve got some time). But for the 13 million or so people who’ve already noticed a loss to the tune of about 8 percent, the impact of the GOP’s slow-moving financial catastrophe is already here.