Tuesday, April 13, 2021
April 13, 2021

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Jayne: GOP tax cuts scam on the middle class

By , Columbian Opinion Editor

Wait a minute. You mean it was a scam?!? A canard? A politically motivated hoax?

If we can’t believe in the Republican tax cuts, is there nothing we can believe in anymore?

Next you’ll tell me that Mexico isn’t going to pay for the wall. Or that there isn’t a national emergency at the southern border. Or that the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea isn’t democratic nor a republic.

Please don’t. I could not handle another blow to my belief system. You see, I just finished our family’s taxes for 2018, and it turns out the percentage we are paying in federal taxes has increased.

I know, I know, that’s hard to believe, considering that a Republican Congress and a Republican president in 2017 passed something they called “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.” You might have heard about it; it was all the rage. But apparently they skipped the “tax cuts” part.

Why, I even had a Republican United States congresswoman personally tell me that the average family in Southwest Washington would save $2,500 on its tax bill. And that, “I believe you can spend your money better than the government.” Or something like that; I’m paraphrasing. Either way, it sounds good in a sound bite; it doesn’t pencil out on paper.

You see, our family income went up 9.1 percent in 2018 over the previous year, thanks to my wife. But our federal tax bill is going up 18.9 percent. I hope the government spends it wisely.

This isn’t about whether or not we are getting a refund. News stories in recent days have detailed that many people are upset because their tax refunds are not as large as expected and that they are taking to Twitter with hashtags such as #GOPTaxScam.

But refunds are only part of the equation; there also is the money you have withheld from each paycheck. And for those who expect a large refund each year, here is some advice from somebody who has no qualifications as a tax consultant: You are having too much withheld; you might want to look into that.

When we add together the money already withheld and the money we owe, our family’s federal tax bill has gone up by half a percentage point. And, no, we did not change tax brackets.

This is hard to fathom, considering that President Trump said upon signing the bill, “I consider this very much a bill for the middle class and a bill for jobs.” And if we can’t believe in Donald J. Trump, is there nothing we can believe in anymore?

The jobs part has worked out great. The economy is strong, if you don’t mind borrowing nearly $1 trillion a year against the country’s future. I would probably create a few jobs, too, if I could use my family’s $338,000 portion of the national debt.

But I’m beginning to suspect that the tax cuts part of the legislation was a fallacy. And I’m beginning to think the mantra about the average family saving $2,500 was a bit misleading. You see, if a millionaire saves $34,000 on her tax bill and nine families each pay $1,000 more, the average is a savings of $2,500. Voila! I guess it’s all in your perspective.

The reasonable perspective is that the tax cuts greatly benefited corporations and the wealthy, and it is a perspective that was clear from the moment the bill was proposed. Don’t forget, the corporate tax cuts are “permanent,” while the individual tax benefits expire over time. According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, by 2027, 82 percent of the tax cuts will go to the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans.

Personally, I don’t mind paying some federal taxes. Those taxes go to things such as paying for our military and helping poor people eat and providing health care for children. They go to things that are derided in some circles as “socialist” but which make us stronger as a country. In the 1950s, the top marginal tax rate was 91 percent, and a lot of people believe America was at its greatest during that time.

But while I don’t mind paying taxes, I don’t like being bamboozled and hoodwinked and snookered. And I’m beginning to think the GOP tax plan was a scam.


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