Column: Middle-class tax breaks – Baloney

Jerry Kermer

There is an old joke about what are the three biggest lies?

The first one is “the check is in the mail” followed by “I promise I will respect you in the morning” and lastly “I’m from the government and I am here to help you.”

If you believe any government promise these days especially from the Trump administration or the Republican Congress, you are in for a rude awakening.
During these past few weeks we have been assured that America’s middle class is about to get the biggest tax cut in history and the new and revised tax code will be so fair you won’t need an accountant anymore.

In fact, it will be so simple your 12-year-old grandson will be able to do it after he finishes his math homework. If you believe all of these promises then I have a list of bridges that you can buy for only a dollar.
Let’s look at the scenario leading up to this big moment.

The Republican Congress is so desperate to pass some type of major bill that they would even pass a 100 word proposal written on a napkin.

Repealing the Affordable Care Act was supposed to have passed on Day One but the facts and the voters got in the way.

Once the Congressional Budget Office estimated the number of people who would lose their health care, the majority went into a state of shock and halted the process.
I remember from my old days in Albany that you only bring a bill to the floor if you have the votes and it took a little time but eventually Senate Majority Leader Mc Connell figured it out that he didn’t have the votes.

Despite his tabulations being slightly short he brought the ACA repeal to the floor anyway and watched with horror when Sen. John Mc Cain voted no. Mc Connell has always been considered a legislative technician but in Washington, the numbers are no longer a sure thing.
So with no ACA repeal, the next challenge was to pass tax reform. The leaders of the two houses felt that almost the whole country was desperate for middle class tax relief and a victory on that issue would help avert a 2018 disaster at the polls.

At this point, we have seen the House version and will soon get the Senate version. No matter which proposal we get, the bottom line is that there is no honest bill in Washington that does anything meaningful for middle class taxpayers.
For some reason, many members of the House majority are anxious to hurt the big states on the East and West Coast.

New Yorkers are their number one target, except for the very rich. Every element of the Republican tax plan takes away benefits that have been ours for many years.

Deductibility of state and local taxes is their No. 1 target. That is followed by taking away your mortgage interest deduction.
Apparently, those Republican members in states like Mississippi and Alabama have no houses for sale so it doesn’t matter if they send a message that American home ownership is no longer important.

The realtors and the builders all over this country are against these changes but their voices may be drowned out by the Republicans who are desperate to give their big donors a tax break that they dont’ need.
Most of the media coverage has centered about tax brackets and corporate tax breaks. During the presidential campaign Mr. Trump promised that he would take away the carried interest deduction from some Wall Street groups.

In plain English a well-protected class of Wall Street people are paying taxes at the rate of 15 per cent and that tax benefit continues.

An even closer examination of the tax plan shows that any middle class tax cut expires after 10 years, but the breaks for the rich go on forever.
By and large almost every deduction known to society from catastrophic medical expenses to allowing school teachers to deduct the cost of moneys they spend on the children’s supplies, will disappear.

Desperate times call for desperate measures and the Republican Congress is desperate, with the exception of members like Peter King who is battling hard against key cuts. Congressman King acknowledges that his efforts are an “uphill battle.”
The president has promised that by Christmas he will have a tax bill on his desk and he will sign it. Have no illusions about the needs of the middle class.

This tax bill is all about the rich and most of us don’t fit that definition.

About the author

Jerry Kermer

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