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Tax sleight of hand

 

February 21, 2018 Letters to the Editor

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In December, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan introduced to America the Republican $1.5 trillion tax reform bill, which benefits corporations and America’s wealthiest.

As proven in the past, corporate America is not a legitimate conduit for channeling America’s confiscated wealth to its workers, as Ryan promises. The 10-year Bush II tax cuts failed to drive the economy, as intended, having no effect on stagnant wages. Instead, in 2008, America witnessed the most devastating financial crisis since the Great Depression.

Ryan boasted that the 1040-A standard income tax deduction increases to $24,000 for all married couples in 2018, compared to $15,200 for those 65 and older and $12,700 for others in 2017. He conveniently failed to acknowledge the elimination of the $8,100 married couple exemption for 2018, resulting in an inconsequential $700 net gain in the revised standard deduction for seniors, $3,200 for others. Nobody ever said this stuff was easy, folks!

Last summer in our town, gasoline prices climbed from $2.44 per gallon to nearly $3 today, costing $5 more for a 10 gallon gasoline purchase. This tax reform bill reduces corporate tax rates from 35 percent to 21 percent, a 40 percent tax dollar savings. Still, greedy oil company providers engage in price-fixing and gasoline price gouging, up 20 percent.

In 2018, a married senior couple will pay a collective $3,096 in Medicare contributions, a combined $492 increase over last year, reducing their net Social Security benefits. It’s their Social Security money these masters of deceit tamper with, paid for with employee and employer payroll contributions throughout their working years. Therefore, the savings derived from a lower 12 percent tax rate in 2018, in this case, is nullified by the $492 increase in Medicare costs alone.

By now, savvy Americans are aware that the 2019 federal budget adds $7.2 trillion to the deficit over the next 10 years. This malicious assault on America’s poor slashes their entitlement safety net. It reduced a number of welfare programs and cuts Medicare costs by $266 billion. It repeals ObamaCare that fights the opioid crisis (yes, they’re still at it).

These and other staggering cuts place the future of seniors, children and working families in serious jeopardy, in this extravagant folly for the ages.

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