Spend some time on one of the many tax calculators out there to estimate the impact of the GOP’s tax bill, and you quickly find there is no average American. A married couple under one calculator making $25,000 to $75,000 with no kids, living in a high-tax state (and therefore itemizing) likely pays $120 more under the new plan; but a non-itemizing couple could save $520. (That’s it? Yup). Change the income to $350,000 to $750,000, and the savings for an itemizer soars to more than $13,000 (much more if you can run your money through a pass-through).
But such calculators have a major omission. The bill also eliminates the individual mandate, which is estimated to increase premiums 10 percent (maybe there will be off-setting legislation passed in the Senate, but most likely the House would reject it). The GOP voted to cut taxes and raise the cost of health-care insurance for those in the individual market.
Let’s take a married couple making $70,000 in California. Go over to the the Kasier Family Foundation calculator and you find the Silver plan, with the subsidy, costs about $530 per month. Hike that 10 percent and over a year the couple is paying $636 more, adding to its loss (if they were itemizers in the example above) or wiping out its saving (if non-itemizing). That is the cost of this bill for those using the exchanges.
Let’s take someone in Maine, just to pick a state. A married couple making $100,000 and itemizing is supposed to save about $930 per year. But the couple’s Silver Plan tax plan went up about $125 per month. That couple loses about $600 per year.
Now, clearly there are winners even with the hike in the Obamacare premiums. Families with kids in low-tax states get more savings from the tax side, which outweighs the rising cost of their health-care premiums. And not everyone is in the individual exchanges. The point is not that everyone is a loser. It is twofold: 1) There will be a lot of winners and some losers and a lot of people who break close to even, and 2) It’s not fair to disregard the cost the bill likely imposes for those in the Obamacare exchanges. Moreover, if the premium costs continue to rise at 10 percent, thanks to repeal of the individual mandate, the premium hikes will eat up a larger and larger chunk of the tax “savings” over time.
And let’s discard the hooey that this bill is all about the middle class. A itemizing family with two kids making $750,000 or more in a low-tax state (e.g. Florida, Texas) saves nearly $20,000 (and probably isn’t in the exchanges). If the family can run some of the income through a pass-through, well, they’ve hit pay dirt. If Republicans think it is worth running up the debt, passing the tax bill to our kids and grandkids and cutting programs that benefit primarily middle- and lower-income Americans (we can’t afford them!) to reward these kinds of families, they should say so. (They should also acknowledge that they are grossly aggravating income inequality.)
You can see why Trump donors at Mar-a-Lago are tickled about the tax bill. What’s harder to understand is why Republicans think much more modest-income people getting far less, paying more for health care and seeing the champagne celebrations at Mar-A-Largo are going to believe this was all done for the “forgotten man and woman.” The GOP must think the forgotten man and woman are dumb, blind or forgetful.