LETTER TO THE EDITOR: New tax plan keeps the ‘forgotten ones’ forgotten

Republicans have passed their “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” which the president signed on Dec. 22. Only select Republicans had input creating this bill, touted as great for the middle class. In reality, the top 1 percent and corporations get permanent major cuts. The cuts for 83 percent of us, “the forgotten,” are small and temporary.

All health insurance premiums will increase. Because the bill eliminates the “individual mandate” of the Affordable Care Act, this is yet another blow to the middle class. Many Republicans in Congress have revealed that they hadn’t time to read this hastily finalized bill of several hundred pages. They voted for the party, not the nation.

The corporate tax rate was reduced to 21 percent, allegedly ensuring that corporations will bring jobs back to the USA, increase domestic production and raise workers’ wages.

A meeting of at least 100 corporate CEOs at the Wall Street Journal’s CEO Council was seen on TV. In attendance was economic adviser Gary Cohn. When the moderator asked the gathered CEOs how many would follow this Republican propaganda, only five raised their hands. Analysts believe it more likely that they will buy back shares to increase investor dividends and to improve officers’ bonuses exactly as they have in the past.

President G.W. Bush tried this with little positive effect on our economy and no “trickle down” to wage earners. I wonder if these incentives will encourage the president’s family to bring their manufacturing businesses to the U.S. and create thousands of jobs with improved wages.

An article by Kate Niederre and Julia Lawless of the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center (part of the nonpartisan Brookings Institute) refers to the “United States Senate Committee on Finance” report. This report shows some specific effects on taxpayers. A single parent earning $41,000 per year would benefit by $1,377 or $114.75 per month.

A family earning the U.S. median income of $73,000 per year gets a $2,184 tax cut or $182 per month. A married family provider earning $60,000 per year with $25,000 compensation from his/her non-corporate business, and $15,000 in business income will receive a $2,855 or $238 per month tax benefit. Remember that these benefits will expire in 2025. Meanwhile the benefits to corporations, to Republicans’ donors, and to the top 1 percent are permanent.

In order to secure the vote of Sen. Corker, language was inserted into the bill at the last minute that improves the benefits to real estate partnerships like those held by the senator and the president. The president is in a video stating that the bill would “hurt” him. However, Joe Rosenberg, a researcher for the International Business Times, noted that the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center reveals that these partnerships will receive tax benefits up to 10 times more than previously. Sen. Corker, several other senators, and the president certainly won’t be “hurt.”

I looked into the average cost of health insurance here in Delaware. Statewide costs average $255 per month for individuals. For a 21-year-old, a “silver” plan, something adequate, costs $247 per month. (These figures come from www.valuepenguin.com which shows the costs state by state.) Referring to the “benefits” from above, a single parent’s monthly benefit doesn’t even come close to offset the current insurance cost. Even the above “married family provider” getting a $238 per month savings falls short of paying premiums as an individual let alone as a family provider.

The annual median income in Delaware according to www.census.gov is $61,017 or $5,084.75 per month, $12,000 less than the U.S. family median. With the elimination of the individual mandate of the ACA, insurance companies will increase their premiums and deductibles to offset their costs. Even with the remaining ACA subsidies, people will not be able to afford better than catastrophic coverage. Nonpartisan estimates state that 13 million will lose coverage. Meanwhile, increased reliance on emergency room treatment for those who cannot pay for insurance will result in taxpayers bearing the costs.

Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan and Sen. Marco Rubio have already announced that they will push for Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security “reform.” Translation: Republicans will work hard to cut the costs of these programs by reducing the benefits to pay for the anticipated $1.4 trillion addition to the national deficit caused by this legislation. As a candidate, the president promised to touch neither Social Security nor Medicare. Like other promises he’s made and broken, it is likely that this one will be broken as well.

The president campaigned saying he would govern to benefit workers, the middle class and “the forgotten ones.” By signing and lauding the Republican “tax reform” bill that benefits corporations and the wealthy 1 percent, that removes the individual mandate, and gives us 83 percenters small and temporary tax benefits, he has shown that a legislative “victory” is more important to him than we are. I wonder how many voters are coming close to buyers’ remorse.

“In politics, being deceived is no excuse.” (Leszek Kolakowski – Philosopher and analyst – 1927-2009)

May God bless and save the United States of America and its citizens.

Alan P. Gaddis

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