For some in middle class, Trump plan would mean tax increase


WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump’s proposals would modestly cut income taxes for most middle-class Americans. But for nearly 8 million families — including a majority of single-parent households — the opposite would occur: They’d pay more.

Most married couples with three or more children would also pay higher taxes, an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center found. And while middle-class families as a whole would receive tax cuts of about 2 percent, they’d be dwarfed by the windfalls averaging 13.5 percent for America’s richest 1 percent.

“If you’re a low- or moderate-income single parent, you’re going to get hurt,” said Bob Williams, a fellow at the Tax Policy Center.

Other analysts, including economists at the conservative Tax Foundation and right-of-center American Enterprise Institute, have agreed with these conclusions.

All independent analyses show most of the benefit flowing to the wealthiest Americans. Nearly half of Trump’s tax cuts would go to the top 1 percent of earners, the Tax Policy Center found.

Less than a quarter of the cuts would benefit the bottom 80 percent.

By contrast, the wealthiest 1 percent — those earning over $700,000 — would enjoy a tax cut averaging nearly $215,000, boosting their after-tax incomes 13.5 percent.

And the richest 0.1 percent — those making above $3.7 million — would receive a bonanza: An average tax cut exceeding $1 million.

“Trump’s campaign rhetoric may have been populist, but his tax plan isn’t,” Howard Gleckman, a senior fellow at the policy center, wrote on its website.


I will reserve judgment until there is an actual bill in Congress to be debated and amended. The tax code needs some serious reform and head of household status is one part that could go. Why do we give an automatic tax break to single parents? That situation can be avoided in most cases by not having children until after marriage.

The current system is so complicated that many of the provisions do not have the desired effect because they are unknown to ordinary filers, or are negated by the cost of hiring a professional to find them. We should remove all of the social engineering in the tax code. There are other ways to assist people who need help outside of the tax code. In decades past, the annual tax return was the only contact many people had with the federal government. That is no longer the case.

Every attempt to cut taxes is met with the complaint that tax cuts do not directly help people who already pay no tax. That is true, but irrelevant. Some issues should be dealt with outside of the IRS.


It is not the children’s fault they were born. We give tax breaks to anyone who has children to care for because children should be cared for.

We should remove all of the social engineering in the tax code.

Your suggestion of giving dependent tax credits only to married couples and not to single parents is in fact social engineering - an attempt to coerce people into getting married by denying them tax credits until they do. So it is surprising to see you calling for that policy in the same post where you decry social engineering.

(Unless you are suggesting eliminating all dependent tax breaks for married couples too - in which case, why did you specifically call out “single” parents for their tax breaks?)


I did not suggest that dependent tax breaks be eliminated or deny single parents the same exemptions as married parents. How do you manage to twist what I said into that? We now have four filing statuses, single, married, married filing separately, and head of household, Head of household is an extra incentive not to marry before having children. We could do just fine with only single and married. It might even be possible to devise a fair system with only one status, where all adults file as individuals, and married couples share income equally.


“Head of Household” filing status is a different complaint. It is not the complaint you originally made. You said “Why do we automatically give tax breaks to single parents?” There is no “twisting” needed to see that you favor denying tax breaks to single parents. It is exactly what you said. You question tax breaks for single parents, while apparently allowing tax breaks for married parents to continue. You should have said “Why do we automatically give tax breaks to a head of household?” and then I would not have objected and we would not be having this discussion.


Do you understand what head of household filing status is? It is a separate rate table for single people with children. It is an automatic tax break for single parents above what is available for someone with children if that parent filed as single. This is not the first time you have tried to interpret what is in my head beyond what I actually said. It is not charitable to do that.


OK, all that really matters now is that you do not object to automatically giving tax breaks to single parents.


I could support giving single parents the same treatment as married parents. It is the special status of head of household filing that creates what is called the marriage penalty. It is especially bad if two single parents marry. If a man does what used to known as the right thing, and marries the mother of his children, the couple pays a higher tax than before. I believe the state should promote marriage because it is better for society, the spouses, and especially the children. A reasonable compromise would be equal treatment of single and married parents. The current system makes single parent status tax advantaged. Is that what you support?


No, I support what you proposed above. No marriage penalty.


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