As A British person living in the U.S.A., I wish to express my horror and fear regarding the tax bill passed in the Congress and Senate on December 20.
The bill was passed in haste without any debate or reflection as to the effects it would have on the deficit, the economy, and, more importantly, on the population in general.
The bill was passed to appease the mostly wealthy Republican donors and to reward them with monstrous amounts of tax reduction. Due to the increasing unpopularity of President Trump, small Republican donations are decreasing and, since the large donors are the fuel for Republican reelection efforts and hopes, hence the tax gift has been given to them. We very clearly have the best government that money can buy.
It has not escaped the notice of some that a provision was added to the bill at literally the very last moment. This provision, in the amount of over $400 billion, was a direct tax reduction benefit to real estate developers. It takes very little imagination to know who would benefit. This is outrageous and makes a complete and utter travesty of any recognizable democratic process.
Under this tax plan more than two trillion dollars of corporate profits in the form of funds held outside the United States, can be repatriated by paying a 10 percent tax. Future profits can be returned to the United States tax free. My modest U.K. pension (43 pounds and 51 pennies per week) cannot be repatriated unless I pay U.S. Federal Income Tax on the amount that I receive. Reflecting on justice or the lack of it, and hoping to add a little clarity, I will add the following. Having worked in the U.S. for many years I receive a Social Security pension. In 2018 I will receive a 2% increase. This increase amounts to $44 per month. However, the Medicare deduction taken from my Social Security benefit will increase by 23 dollars per month and my health insurance coverage will increase by 14 dollars per month. In 2018 I will be $7 better of each month, although, hold onto your hat, as a retired accounting person, I have calculated that the Federal Income tax bill for my wife and myself will increase by about $500. Merry Christmas. Trump is a chronic and habitual liar in presenting and arguing that the tax bill will be beneficial to the middle class. 83% of the benefit will go to the top 1% of the population who need the tax relief the least.
Republicans have expressed a determination to cut and devastate the Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security programs to pay for the tax plan. The current plan will increase the deficit by 1.5 Trillion dollars. Some argue that the amount will be more than that. There are millions of Americans who rely on those programs, programs incidentally that they have paid for through payroll taxes over their working lives. Many are now barely hanging on often making choices between medication and food. Cuts or eliminations to these programs to which Americans are entitled, will contribute to massive deprivation, bankruptcies, death, and people moving to the streets.
13 million people will lose any healthcare coverage that they had under this tax plan regardless of any future cuts to the entitlement programs. The divide between those who live in comfort and those who do not will widen, and American society as we have known it to be will become a fond if dying and painful memory.
As many of us here look forward, we can only hope that in 2018 the monstrous Trump and the heartless Republicans are ousted and America can be restored to some semblance of decency and fairness. If not, we are looking at a bleak and cold future.
John Laing is a Valencia resident.