Week In Review 12/1/2017

Tax reform lasts a long time. 1986 was the last time the tax code was changed. Today's tax plan will linger on the backs of women, students, disabled and seniors for another generation as well, if not longer. * 

The extremely wealthy, which includes Donald Trump, his family and corporations, seem to be the only ones that will benefit from this draconian bill.

Cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, and other health care programs and cuts to education, housing, and food assistance will hurt women and their economic security. Women head a disproportionate number of households and depend on many of the current tax deductions and services to provide for their children.

Families with disabled children or family members suffering from chronic illness are already financially burdened. Now they will no longer be able to deduct those high medical expenses from their tax returns, making it even harder for them to care for their loved ones. That deduction is also used by couples going through costly fertility treatments. 

Many people with rare diseases count on the development of new, life-saving drugs. Tax credits to pharmaceutical companies encourage them to develop these news drugs. Without these credits, it may not be financially feasible for them to research new treatments.

However, it gets even worse. With the elimination of the healthcare mandate,13 million people will lose their insurance coverage. Those with private insurance can expect a 10 percent increase in their premiums. 

For the first time in tax reform history, anti-abortion language, "personhood," is included in the plan. This does not affect the deficit nor Americans' tax burden. It's just a dark attempt to eliminate women's reproductive rights and eventually overturn Roe v Wade.

The plan also takes a swipe at college and graduate students. The House version eliminates the tax exemption for student loans. As a result, the cost of student loans for borrowers would increase by roughly $24 billion in the next decade. While the Senate version does not exclude this provision, there is strong likelihood it could be included in the conference version. Many graduate students work on their advanced degree in exchange for teaching and research. They now will be taxed on that tuition waiver.

This tax plan is not just about deductions and cuts, it's about people and their ability to succeed and provide for their families. If you look behind the numbers, you see a more divided country with more people hurting and less chance of healing. 

Today the bill advances with the help from Sens. John McCain (R-AZ) and Ron Johnson (R-WI). Both faced tough Democratic challengers in 2016. Elections matter.

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Sources: NPR, Washington Post
*As of publication time, the bill was still being debated.