After the Republican Congress left millions staggering under bankruptingly high health care costs, the Republican House of Representatives is poised to increase the burden on many of us. If they have their way, we will no longer be able to use the amounts we pay out in our struggle against illness to reduce our federal income tax. Deductibility of these expenditures is a precious benefit to those middle class millions who are forced to part with large amounts in the effort to advance their health. For those of us who itemize our deductions, the ability to further this most vital aspect of our being – our health – would be adversely effected by this proposal.   Elderly folks, with our greater need for medical treatment, would be particularly vulnerable.

Several tax breaks for others would be paid for in part by the lost deductions.

The increase of the personal exemption from $6,000.00 to $12,000.00 for a single person and from $12,000.00 to $24,000.00 for a married couple will provide some tax savings to some lower middle income persons. But the lowering of the corporate tax rate from 35% to 20%, without removing the loopholes that have allowed many to pay even less than 20%, will give these artificial entities an enormous gift. This comes at a time when businesses are making money at the existing tax rates and do not seem to be in critical need this sort of boost. Additionally, humongous benefits will flow to the absolute richest of all, who already have so much more than they could possibly spend in many lifetimes, under other aspects of the measure, including the elimination of the federal estate tax.

Would-be-itemizers of ordinary means, who are locked into punishing, costly outlays by their health needs have been targeted. They have been chosen by the Republican House to provide tax relief to big business and the richest among us. Here’s what this tell us about this arm of the Grand Old Party.

It reveals a callousness to the plight of those who find themselves confronted by the twin challenges of severe illness and the accompanying huge financial demands. Fundamental fairness has not entered into their calculations. Infliction of more financial pain on those already suffering, as a means of benefitting those who do not need it, is unsupported by equitable considerations. The judgement that arrived at the political trade-off to take from the medically/financially challenged in order to give to the opulent is so lacking in humanity as to suggest the work of a malignant heart.

Proposed elimination of other popular deductions is subject to somewhat similar criticism.

Republicans assert that the proposed benefits to business and the wealthy will cause them to invest more and create more jobs. The ‘trickle down’ theory. But if this has ever worked, will it work now? How long will it take ? What are those who will now suffer more to do in the meantime ? Will business actually use the tax breaks to generate additional employment, or will they purchase robots and hire fewer human workers ? “If” and “when” sots of promises by political snake oil salesmen are poor comfort to those who will be adversely effected.

Perhaps the Republican Senate will rescue the House from themselves and millions of Americans from even further financial pain.

I am a lifelong Republican.

 

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