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Setting the record straight on the tax bill

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Dear Editor:

I am so tired of all the misinformation and half-truths being written and said about the GOP tax bill that I felt compelled to research and give the public straight information. All of these facts are from Forbes, Business Insider and the The U.S. Tax Foundation.

Now that the final bill is out, it is easy to see what is -- and isn't -- in it. Even the good parts (exemptions for up to $10K of medical expenses, student stipend tuition, child tax credits, charity or mortgage interest) expire for individuals in 10 years, at which time most of us average taxpayers will be paying more in taxes.

First, how the tax breaks will be for different income levels. The top 1 percent get a 3.1 percent reduction (average $19,052), middle wage earners get a 0.5 percent increase (average $2,400), the poor get a tax decrease of 0.4 percent (just $10). But the richest 0.1 percent get 2.5 percent (average $130,170). Those are all for married earners. All single tax filers below $151,000 will see a 3 percent INCREASE in their taxes.

A common statement to justify this tax plan is that the top 20 percent of income earners pay 80 percent of the taxes, and while this is true, people don't go on to tell you that the 20 percent income figure starts with those making $105,000/year or more. In other words, upper middle class families where both parents work are paying the majority of the taxes. The highest earners at 0.1 percent pay just 20 percent of taxes, but consider that just three people in this group have more actual wealth than fully half the nation. Together, the 0.1 percent hold 80 percent of the wealth in the United States. Two-thirds of wage earners in America don't make enough money to pay income taxes, although they do pay property, sales and other taxes. Forty-one million Americans live at or below the poverty line. Nine million have no income at all.

The last large GOP tax break was in the mid-1980's by President Reagan which started "trickle down economics." This was also promised to "boost the economy." Since then in actual dollars, the top 0.1 percent wages have increased 358 percent, the top 1 percent has increased 20 percent, the average middle class wage has increased 8 percent, and bottom wage earners just 7 percent. When adjusted to 2016 dollars, middle class wage earners bring home $18,000/year less than they did in 1984! Since then the U.S. household wealth has nearly quadrupled from $26 trillion to $97.4 trillion. That averages out to $760,000 per family -- and yet half of American families have just $11,000 total in wealth.

But inequity in tax breaks, wages and income is not the greatest danger in yet another tax theft for the wealthy. When Reagan cut taxes, America's debt was just 33 percent of our GDP. Today it is 77 percent of our GDP. In 10 years (even without the additional $1.5 trillion from this tax break) it will be $152 percent of our GDP. Do you know who carries that debt? The vast majority is carried by us, the U.S taxpayer. It is our Social Security and our Medicare, our Unemployment Insurance and government bonds that Congress is borrowing from to hand to the wealthiest people in the world. People who already have so much money, they have $23 trillion offshore that they COULD invest in America if they wanted to, right now, today. Our economy is strong right now. There is no need at all for a "boost."

Last week, when polled, only 35 percent of corporations said they would spend their tax savings on company expansion. The rest will pass it on to CEOs, shareholders and to buy back of their own stock. Is THIS worth the risk to you and your family's future?

Carol L. Nudell

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