programs are next

Senator Collins told part of the story in her op-ed piece on the tax cut bill (”Tax cut plan will benefit hardworking Mainers, not DC elites,” Dec. 27). To be sure, almost every single human in America would take $10 if it was handed to them — of course. The bigger question that the United States Senate should have considered in a bipartisan way is, “What is a fair and equitable way to reform the system so that it is better and has good consequences?”

The Republican half of the Senate committed $150 billion a year for its reform — there were changes worth millions each for real estate entrepreneurs (like Maine’s Rep. Bruce Poliquin, Tennessee’s Sen. Bob Corker, and our President Donald Trump). The president announced that not only had the bill “repealed Obamacare,” meaning removal of the linchpin health insurance mandate, but said in a toast at Mar-a-Lago to his already wealthy circle that with the bill they “just got a lot richer.”

Sen. Susan Collins’s example of a couple earning $60,000 getting a $900 savings — about $8.70 each per week. Sure, they’ll take it — why not?

The expansion of the standard deduction will have unintended consequences for the charitable giving patterns of millions in the middle class. It will cost more now for people in the middle to provide financial support to the good causes they favor; the wealthy will still get back $37 for every $100 they give.

And one of the consequences down the road — we hear it already — is that the same people who led these decisions to cut revenue drastically will now trumpet that we have a spending problem, and bang the drums for cuts to the programs that help support at a basic level our elderly and our poor. Just as for taxes, “reform” is what will be said, but “cuts” is what it will mean.

Jim Perkins


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