As a septuagenarian living in Baltimore who at one time taught mathematics, could I respectfully suggest that House Speaker Paul Ryan and Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady and their compatriots go back to elementary school? Clearly, they failed to learn simple arithmetic. To wit:
Those over 65 now receive two personal exemptions amounting to $8,100 each, or $16,200 for a family of two. Add to that the current standard exemption of about $12,700 we already lose about $4,500 on the proposed “new standard exemption” of $24,400.
While the Republican planners assert that only 20 percent of current filers itemize, in fact, since about half of taxpayers currently pay no federal tax, that means that 40 percent of actual taxpayers itemize. Many of them are senior citizens.
In only five states is there no state income tax. So while the northeast may complain the loudest, in fact the loss of the state and local tax exemption affects most of the effectively 40 percent who do itemize. It’s not just a “blue state” problem.
Most egregious of all, this proposed “tax cut” assumes a gigantic $1.5 trillion loss to the federal budget over 10 years, while also threatening Medicare with a $500 billion cut and Medicaid with a $1 trillion reduction.