Letter: Tax plan to squeeze the middle class

Published 11:44 pm Friday, December 15, 2017

The Republican tax plan may provide relief for low-income families and the very wealthy, but people in the middle class are going to be squeezed. The plan proposes eliminating deductions for medical expenses, adoption, replacement of property damage from disasters and student loan payments. New limits will be placed on deductions for retirement savings, mortgage interest, property tax and state and local income-tax payments. For many people, these are kitchen table issues.

Instead of cutting taxes for some by raising them for others, Congress should be tackling the problem of waste in the federal budget. The first place to look is in Pentagon spending. The Defense Department has yet to pass a full financial audit, although it has been mandatory for all federal departments since 1990. Force the Defense Department to give a full listing of all of its spending. A 2016 internal Pentagon study identified $125 billion in back-office waste over five years. That study was suppressed for obvious reasons.

When this amount of bureaucratic waste is combined with cost overruns for new planes and ships that even military leaders say are not needed, there are plenty of costs that could be trimmed from the federal budget by reigning in Pentagon spending. Then Congress could come up with a tax plan that would bring relief to all rather than just some.

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Paul Westrum

Albert Lea