Poll

Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?

Helped a lot.
Helped a little.
Didn't help or hurt.
Hurt a little.
Hurt a lot.

Author Topic: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?  (Read 12636 times)

pressure9pa

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 47
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #50 on: February 14, 2019, 12:14:11 PM »
Helped considerably.  About $2800 with very little behavior change.  I did incur as many work-related expenses as I could last Dec instead of Jan-Feb to catch that expiring provision, but otherwise no real changes.

flipboard

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 201
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #51 on: February 17, 2019, 11:51:37 AM »
The lack of personal exemption this year has hit a few NRA's who had nothing but a small state tax refund to declare. The small amount of money is one thing, having to figure out how to issue a USD check from their country is the big issue.

HamsterStache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 82
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #52 on: February 18, 2019, 07:17:25 AM »
Helped slightly - about $35 more returned this year, but we earned a bit more and withheld less, so came out further ahead than that in the end. I didn't do the math to figure out exactly how much it helped, but it did. For some reason though, state went down. Last year we got a nice chunk back, this year we came out exactly at 0, which is great but I'm not sure why since I didn't think anything had really changed.

Omy

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 193
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #53 on: February 18, 2019, 09:33:47 AM »
I added a poll to this thread to see what the numbers look like.

HamsterStache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 82
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #54 on: February 18, 2019, 10:52:11 AM »
Helped slightly - about $35 more returned this year, but we earned a bit more and withheld less, so came out further ahead than that in the end. I didn't do the math to figure out exactly how much it helped, but it did. For some reason though, state went down. Last year we got a nice chunk back, this year we came out exactly at 0, which is great but I'm not sure why since I didn't think anything had really changed.

Ah, I figured out the reason - I thought we had taken the standard deduction last year, but we had itemized. Taking the higher standard deduction this year, that meant we could not itemize for state. I wish I would have looked closer at the numbers to see what would end up being of greater benefit, but it probably came out pretty much as a wash in the end.

accolay

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 944
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #55 on: February 18, 2019, 06:40:24 PM »
Hurt a bit. Learned my lesson: I really should have payed closer attention to my withholding. I forgot to check again after having increased work hours last year. Between federal and state the bill is shy of $3k, which is with a $28 federal penalty and more than $2000 more than most years. I did adjust my withholding to zero/married last year in an attempt to ameliorate any impact last May, but not enough.

I was prepared for it and have cash to pay The Man. I feel for some of the schleps who didn't do the worksheet either and are being totally surprised with a large tax bill because either they didn't hear about the possibility of an increase until it was too late, or thought they were going to get a large refund.

Thanks Obama!

I'm a red panda

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8004
  • Location: United States
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #56 on: February 18, 2019, 06:53:16 PM »
I wouldn't say it "hurt" us, but we paid more this year.

Our tax rate, was in fact lower. But the remove of personal exemptions and ability to take SALT did mean we paid much more. 
We are getting a refund, because we are still trying to figure out our withholdings, but we really don't care about that- it's more total amount paid that's the issue.

Doing our taxes was NOT easier, in fact, it was quite complicated trying to figure out all the various things we needed to do to make sure everything was covered. There is no way it could have been done on a postcard.


We ran the itemized taxes this year, and they did not come out ahead of the standard deduction. This was to be expected though as we did 5 years giving in a DAF before the tax code changed. Our mortgage interest just isn't high enough.  If the tax code stays as is, we will contribute to the DAF every 5 years and itemize on those years.

CindyBS

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 426
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #57 on: February 18, 2019, 06:54:41 PM »
Helped, we paid less in taxes.

But, for every $1 we saved in taxes, we paid at least $30 due to having no paid parental leave (or program like unemployment to compensate for lost income from caregiving) and no single payer health care - so there is that.  We also got no tax breaks for the enormous costs related to me losing my job to care for my ill son, even as there is plenty if he went to daycare (which he couldn't - where is the daycare in the ICU?) So overall, a big fail for us from GOP policies - the supposedly pro-life, family values, all lives matter party **



**unless you have a critically ill kid who is no longer a fetus.  Then F you.

Daisy

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2026
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #58 on: February 18, 2019, 08:53:04 PM »
Helped a lot.

It's hard for me to compare numerically because I was fully employed in 2018 and only had partial work income in 2018 after FIREing. I used the Roth conversion ladder to max out the 12% tax bracket.

I took advantage of the increasing standard deduction in 2018 and made a huge DAF charitable donation in 2017.

I took the standard deduction in 2018 which is much larger than the 2017 version. As someone with no mortgage interest, I am better off with a large standard deduction as was passed in the 2018 tax law.

i_have_so_much_to_learn

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 54
  • Location: SF
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #59 on: February 19, 2019, 03:40:21 AM »
Hurt. Unfortunately I am a high earner in a high cost of living area. I paid ~25k in SALT that I can't deduct.

I owe 8k more than normal.

Michael in ABQ

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 533
    • Military Saints
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #60 on: February 19, 2019, 07:17:37 AM »
6 kids = $12,000 in child tax credits so it helped a lot. Overall federal income tax rate was about -5% vs. about 5% in 2017.

SwordGuy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5182
  • Location: Fayetteville, NC
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #61 on: February 19, 2019, 07:47:45 AM »
The GOP tax plan hurt our country, which means it hurt me.  Some things are more important than whether I get more dollars in my wallet.

DadJokes

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 455
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #62 on: February 19, 2019, 08:35:20 AM »
The GOP tax plan hurt our country, which means it hurt me.  Some things are more important than whether I get more dollars in my wallet.

If you think tax cuts hurt the economy, you can voluntarily send more money than you owe.

EricEng

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 210
  • Location: CO
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #63 on: February 19, 2019, 08:38:57 AM »
Hurt bad.
2016 Fed Tax Total: $0
2017 Fed Tax Total: $0
2018 Fed Tax Total: ~$32,000

Had an expensive company reimbursed relocation in 2018 that is treated as taxable in 2018 onward, but would have been tax free pre tax change.  This stacked with capital gains from selling stock for house purchase (old house sold slow and after purchase) and caused me to lose deductions we normally could get (like ira for both) and pushed all my stock sales out of the 0% tax brackets.  If we had moved in 2017 my expected taxes would have been under $5k.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2019, 08:41:58 AM by EricEng »

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10228
  • Location: la belle province
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #64 on: February 19, 2019, 08:42:17 AM »
The GOP tax plan hurt our country, which means it hurt me.  Some things are more important than whether I get more dollars in my wallet.

If you think tax cuts hurt the economy, you can voluntarily send more money than you owe.

I'm not sure if you are trying to be glib or serious, but if it's the latter the underlying problem is that we are - collectively - not contributing enough to offset government expenditures. 

DadJokes

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 455
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #65 on: February 19, 2019, 09:34:10 AM »
The GOP tax plan hurt our country, which means it hurt me.  Some things are more important than whether I get more dollars in my wallet.

If you think tax cuts hurt the economy, you can voluntarily send more money than you owe.

I'm not sure if you are trying to be glib or serious, but if it's the latter the underlying problem is that we are - collectively - not contributing enough to offset government expenditures.

A little bit of both

A large part of the financial independence plan is tax optimization. We use traditional IRAs, HSAs, and any other method to reduce taxable income as low as we can get it because it helps us to reach that goal faster. I've even seen people argue that we should keep withdrawals low enough in retirement to qualify for the ACA, even if that wasn't the intent of the program. Then some of the same people say that taxes should be higher.

No one is forcing those people to optimize their taxes. What they really mean is that they think other people should pay higher taxes, but not them. I've also seen Bill Gates and Warren Buffett say that taxes should be higher on the wealthy, but I would be willing to bet that they do everything they can to keep their own taxes as low as possible.

The reason is because they (and the rest of us) believe they can do more good with their money than the federal government can. Just as I wouldn't give a drunk a drink, I'm not giving the federal government more money than I absolutely have to until it shows that it can spend the current money it gets wisely. And since neither party has any interest in reducing overall expenditures, I don't think that day will come.

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10228
  • Location: la belle province
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #66 on: February 19, 2019, 09:58:36 AM »
The GOP tax plan hurt our country, which means it hurt me.  Some things are more important than whether I get more dollars in my wallet.

If you think tax cuts hurt the economy, you can voluntarily send more money than you owe.

I'm not sure if you are trying to be glib or serious, but if it's the latter the underlying problem is that we are - collectively - not contributing enough to offset government expenditures.

A little bit of both

A large part of the financial independence plan is tax optimization. We use traditional IRAs, HSAs, and any other method to reduce taxable income as low as we can get it because it helps us to reach that goal faster. I've even seen people argue that we should keep withdrawals low enough in retirement to qualify for the ACA, even if that wasn't the intent of the program. Then some of the same people say that taxes should be higher.

No one is forcing those people to optimize their taxes. What they really mean is that they think other people should pay higher taxes, but not them. I've also seen Bill Gates and Warren Buffett say that taxes should be higher on the wealthy, but I would be willing to bet that they do everything they can to keep their own taxes as low as possible.

The reason is because they (and the rest of us) believe they can do more good with their money than the federal government can. Just as I wouldn't give a drunk a drink, I'm not giving the federal government more money than I absolutely have to until it shows that it can spend the current money it gets wisely. And since neither party has any interest in reducing overall expenditures, I don't think that day will come.

As I argued earlier, saying you believe taxes should be higher and taking advantage of every tax advantage you can are not diametrically opposed concepts.

As an example, the tax 'breaks' for contributing to IRAs and 401(k)s exist because as a society we* have prioritized this behavior as either beneficial.  I strongly believe that many of our societal problems will be blunted if more adults had substantial savings, and that's what the tax breaks do for tax-advantaged accounts.
Other tax deductions/credits exist because we* feel those people deserve assistance, such as the child tax credit or military service  - we've decided as a society to support such actions.  In all these cases we are promoting specific behaviors through our tax code

At the same time, one can look at the tax code and conclude that either rates in general should be higher and/or that certain breaks no longer serve their intended function.  Then you can be supportive of changing the tax code.  That doesn't mean you stop following it. 

ysette9

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4642
  • Location: Bay Area, CA
    • Insert Snappy Title Here (Journal)
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #67 on: February 19, 2019, 11:29:19 AM »
Helped, we paid less in taxes.

But, for every $1 we saved in taxes, we paid at least $30 due to having no paid parental leave (or program like unemployment to compensate for lost income from caregiving) and no single payer health care - so there is that.  We also got no tax breaks for the enormous costs related to me losing my job to care for my ill son, even as there is plenty if he went to daycare (which he couldn't - where is the daycare in the ICU?) So overall, a big fail for us from GOP policies - the supposedly pro-life, family values, all lives matter party **



**unless you have a critically ill kid who is no longer a fetus.  Then F you.
I’m so sorry. That is insult on top of injury.

I completely agree with you. At least here in CA we have partial paid parental/family leave that was just recently expanded through our state disability insurance program but I recognize how most people in the rest of the country are completely screwed. My babies were preemie so we spent time in the NICU and all of my employer-paid maternity leave just getting my babies to their due dates.

The more I navigate being an employed parent the more pissed I get at this country for the lack of support of families. The daycare, no preschool (or none that works with work schedules), school schedules that are completely incompatible with earning a living, no healthcare, great variability in quality of schools that punishes the most vulnerable, and so on.

I wish you the best and hope your kid makes a quick and full recovery. Good luck.

Laserjet3051

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 688
  • Age: 91
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #68 on: February 19, 2019, 12:32:36 PM »
The GOP tax plan hurt our country, which means it hurt me.  Some things are more important than whether I get more dollars in my wallet.

If you think tax cuts hurt the economy, you can voluntarily send more money than you owe.

I'm not sure if you are trying to be glib or serious, but if it's the latter the underlying problem is that we are - collectively - not contributing enough to offset government expenditures.

A little bit of both

A large part of the financial independence plan is tax optimization. We use traditional IRAs, HSAs, and any other method to reduce taxable income as low as we can get it because it helps us to reach that goal faster. I've even seen people argue that we should keep withdrawals low enough in retirement to qualify for the ACA, even if that wasn't the intent of the program. Then some of the same people say that taxes should be higher.

No one is forcing those people to optimize their taxes. What they really mean is that they think other people should pay higher taxes, but not them. I've also seen Bill Gates and Warren Buffett say that taxes should be higher on the wealthy, but I would be willing to bet that they do everything they can to keep their own taxes as low as possible.

The reason is because they (and the rest of us) believe they can do more good with their money than the federal government can. Just as I wouldn't give a drunk a drink, I'm not giving the federal government more money than I absolutely have to until it shows that it can spend the current money it gets wisely. And since neither party has any interest in reducing overall expenditures, I don't think that day will come.

Well put dadjokes, I wholeheartedly concur.

accolay

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 944
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #69 on: February 19, 2019, 01:07:06 PM »
I've also seen Bill Gates and Warren Buffett say that taxes should be higher on the wealthy, but I would be willing to bet that they do everything they can to keep their own taxes as low as possible.
Well of course they do. Like it would make a dent in the US debt/deficit if those guys sent in a few million extra to Uncle Sam every year. The problem is the tax law. Neither party spending tax money wisely? That's a total cop out. Somehow we find ourselves in this predicament every single time the GOP has control. And those liberals end up having to fix the problem when they get the wheel back.

What's really hard for regular people to square is how companies such as Amazon made over 11 billion last year and paid $0 in federal taxes.

DadJokes

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 455
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #70 on: February 19, 2019, 01:19:51 PM »
I've also seen Bill Gates and Warren Buffett say that taxes should be higher on the wealthy, but I would be willing to bet that they do everything they can to keep their own taxes as low as possible.
Well of course they do. Like it would make a dent in the US debt/deficit if those guys sent in a few million extra to Uncle Sam every year. The problem is the tax law. Neither party spending tax money wisely? That's a total cop out. Somehow we find ourselves in this predicament every single time the GOP has control. And those liberals end up having to fix the problem when they get the wheel back.

What's really hard for regular people to square is how companies such as Amazon made over 11 billion last year and paid $0 in federal taxes.

The debt rose about as quickly under Obama as it did under Bush Jr., and it will continue to rise just as quickly under Trump. Blaming one party and absolving the other of all blame shows an obvious bias that makes any claims difficult to take seriously.

accolay

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 944
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #71 on: February 19, 2019, 01:30:06 PM »
The debt rose about as quickly under Obama as it did under Bush Jr., and it will continue to rise just as quickly under Trump. Blaming one party and absolving the other of all blame shows an obvious bias that makes any claims difficult to take seriously.
Factually true but still dishonest. Great Recession. Iraq and Afghanistan. Bush tax cuts. Republicans give stimulus in great economies and drop the ball. Democrats fix the problem.

ysette9

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4642
  • Location: Bay Area, CA
    • Insert Snappy Title Here (Journal)
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #72 on: February 19, 2019, 01:33:35 PM »
Yes, I doubt any president of any political party could have navigated us out of total financial collapse during the Great Recession without adding to the debt. In the case of two unpleasant outcomes I think additional national debt is far preferable to the cost of the collapse of financial markets and the aftermath. The better question is to ask what are the root causes of the Great Recession and who is to blame for that?

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10228
  • Location: la belle province
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #73 on: February 19, 2019, 01:54:36 PM »
what's interesting to me is how apocalyptic many in the GOP went about the national debt during Obama's first term (and Clinton's as well), yet this same camp hardly emitted a peep about the rising deficits during Trump, Bush and Reagan. I'm thinking specifically about the "Freedom Caucus", the "TEA party" and the "Contract with America"


DadJokes

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 455
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #74 on: February 19, 2019, 02:17:16 PM »
what's interesting to me is how apocalyptic many in the GOP went about the national debt during Obama's first term (and Clinton's as well), yet this same camp hardly emitted a peep about the rising deficits during Trump, Bush and Reagan. I'm thinking specifically about the "Freedom Caucus", the "TEA party" and the "Contract with America"

Agreed. Blind party loyalty is terrible on both sides.

I do find it peculiar that people only see it when supporters of the opposing party do it.

SwordGuy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5182
  • Location: Fayetteville, NC
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #75 on: February 19, 2019, 02:23:33 PM »
The GOP tax plan hurt our country, which means it hurt me.  Some things are more important than whether I get more dollars in my wallet.

If you think tax cuts hurt the economy, you can voluntarily send more money than you owe.
There's always at least one person who thinks that sentiment is ever so witty.

Like the paltry amount that I could send would make a difference compared to Google paying $0 in income tax!

Like the fact that Buffet's secretary pays a higher effective tax rate than Buffet does -- and that was BEFORE the tax cut!

Like the fact that the tax cuts to the uber rich were made permanent but the tax cuts for the middle class and working folks expire at the end of 2 years!

The government wastes money, but it also does really important things that need doing.  It also doesn't do really important things that need doing because the very wealthy aren't paying their fair share of taxes.

MDM

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 9308
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #76 on: February 19, 2019, 02:48:31 PM »
...because the very wealthy aren't paying their fair share of taxes.

See Do the rich pay their fair share in taxes? | Debate.org for a sampling of the usual pro/con arguments on this subject.

ScreamingHeadGuy

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 99
  • Age: 40
  • Location: Down the street from the Frozen Tundra
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #77 on: February 24, 2019, 03:39:27 PM »
6.95% last year
1.85% this year

Still think the law is bad policy.

simonsez

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 778
  • Age: 33
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #78 on: February 25, 2019, 12:46:22 PM »
Yes...married with one child. While the standard deduction did help, the other changes (no student loan interest deduction, lower withholding, etc.) in addition to the personal exemption change, resulted in total deductions of roughly $4,000 less than on last year's return.
Student loan interest deduction is line 33 on Schedule 1.  The limits (pub 970) on income and how much interest you can deduct are the same as last year.

Someone else said something about educator expenses, those are still up to $250 (or $500 if filing jointly and both are educators) on line 23 of Schedule 1, same as last year.

Granted, one big change in the adjustments to income section is that form 3903 (moving expenses) is now only for members of the armed forces.

PathtoFIRE

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 575
  • Age: 40
  • Location: Dallas
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #79 on: February 25, 2019, 01:05:09 PM »
Helped, to the tune of about 17k less in taxes that I would have probably paid under the old regime. And we still left over 10k of deductions on the table because of the SALT restrictions.


Quote
And since neither party has any interest in reducing overall expenditures, I don't think that day will come.

Whenever I read comments like this, what I personally hear is "I don't think the government should invest more in this country or its people." Now this is very much a gray area, not black and white like it often gets portrayed on the internet, but government expenditures are simply using a portion of the available resources in this country to enact the will of the people. First of all, it's a fallacy that all types of spending don't provide at least some good. Some government employee, contractor, or other business is getting paid, and is in turn spending probably most of that money back into the private sector. So even something that someone might personally find wasteful, like another bajillion dollar tank program or farm subsidies or research grants to study the mating habits of eels, provides at least some positive benefit. The real problem, the nitty gritty, is whether there might have been a better use of those resources. The problem with the word "better" though is that it can be very subjective. I think there is broad agreement across most of the political spectrum that there are some areas of the economy that need little government spending, some that need a mix, and some that require almost exclusive gov spending. My quibble is that there are many people (and maybe the writer quoted above isn't in this group) that just wants to reduce ALL spending, across the board. Again, this is a naive and very reactionary political stance, not to mention devoid of any real economic understanding.

Tass

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1447
  • Age: 25
  • Location: Southern California
  • Working on a PhD...
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #80 on: February 25, 2019, 01:24:51 PM »
That was very well put, PathtoFIRE.

Except that I fully support the government funding research on the mating habits of eels. ;)

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10228
  • Location: la belle province
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #81 on: February 25, 2019, 01:29:51 PM »
That was very well put, PathtoFIRE.

Except that I fully support the government funding research on the mating habits of eels. ;)

Did someone say research funding for the mating habits of eels?  Because its' actually a really big deal here in New England, where there's a lucrative fishery for baby eels (elvers) that can fetch over $2,500/lb.  Biggest problem the fishery has is we can't get them to breed in captivity, so the harvest is filled with poachers and questionable sustainability.
...but I digress...

robartsd

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2257
  • Location: Sacramento, CA
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #82 on: February 25, 2019, 03:00:54 PM »
So far it has saved me money even though my 2018 tax bill is higher than my 2017 tax bill. This is because I took steps in Dec 2017 to maximize my itemized deductions as I expected not to itemize in 2018. Had I not hacked my itemized deductions for 2017 my 2017 tax bill would have been higher than my 2018 tax bill.

So far I've saved:
~450 on 2017 taxes (~3000 in extra itemized deductions at 15%)
~225 on 2018 taxes

The savings on 2018 taxes may be eroded be inflation index changes over time, but I doubt my tax liability under the new plan will actually be higher than it would have under the old plan until the new rate expire in 2025.

OurTown

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1099
  • Age: 49
  • Location: Tennessee
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #83 on: February 26, 2019, 07:11:34 AM »
Total tax bill was about $2k lower than last year. 

DadJokes

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 455
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #84 on: February 26, 2019, 09:34:05 AM »
Helped, to the tune of about 17k less in taxes that I would have probably paid under the old regime. And we still left over 10k of deductions on the table because of the SALT restrictions.


Quote
And since neither party has any interest in reducing overall expenditures, I don't think that day will come.

Whenever I read comments like this, what I personally hear is "I don't think the government should invest more in this country or its people." Now this is very much a gray area, not black and white like it often gets portrayed on the internet, but government expenditures are simply using a portion of the available resources in this country to enact the will of the people. First of all, it's a fallacy that all types of spending don't provide at least some good. Some government employee, contractor, or other business is getting paid, and is in turn spending probably most of that money back into the private sector. So even something that someone might personally find wasteful, like another bajillion dollar tank program or farm subsidies or research grants to study the mating habits of eels, provides at least some positive benefit. The real problem, the nitty gritty, is whether there might have been a better use of those resources. The problem with the word "better" though is that it can be very subjective. I think there is broad agreement across most of the political spectrum that there are some areas of the economy that need little government spending, some that need a mix, and some that require almost exclusive gov spending. My quibble is that there are many people (and maybe the writer quoted above isn't in this group) that just wants to reduce ALL spending, across the board. Again, this is a naive and very reactionary political stance, not to mention devoid of any real economic understanding.

I'm all for investing in people, so much so that I think we should give everyone more money to pursue their own self-interests by not taking as much away. I will always think that I can make better use of my money than the federal government can. It's also why I employ every tax avoidance strategy I can.

By saying that every program provides some benefit because it employs people is like saying that I should overpay a contractor for a job because it gives him more money to spend. No! I would rather pay as little as needed to get the job done correctly and use that money myself.

I'm all for necessary government spending at the appropriate level of government. The problem seems to be that my definitions of necessary and appropriate level seem to differ from the more vocal political crowd in this forum. A large number of federal programs should be run by the states or not at all. That gives people greater options when it comes to choosing what they wish to fund in the government.

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10228
  • Location: la belle province
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #85 on: February 26, 2019, 09:37:55 AM »

I'm all for necessary government spending at the appropriate level of government. The problem seems to be that my definitions of necessary and appropriate level seem to differ from the more vocal political crowd in this forum. A large number of federal programs should be run by the states or not at all. That gives people greater options when it comes to choosing what they wish to fund in the government.
What current federal programs do you think should instead be run by the states, and which do you think should not be funded at all?  How will that increase options in choosing what to fund?

ysette9

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4642
  • Location: Bay Area, CA
    • Insert Snappy Title Here (Journal)
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #86 on: February 26, 2019, 09:48:01 AM »
I’m torn when it comes to the idea of having programs run by states. On one hand it is a great way to run experiments to try different ideas and see what works best. The problem is that Americans are particularly stubborn to facts and infrequently make government policy decisions based on evidence, preferring dogma instead. So you can run experiments that show, for example, that spending money on social services saves money in the long run by helping people lead more stable and productive lives, avoid getting healthcare from emergency departments, or that spending money on sex education and birth control leads to fewer abortions and teen pregnancies, or that investing in public education gives dividends decades later when you have an skilled and educated workforce. I could go on and on.

But many states remain stubbornly wedded to pet ideas regardless of what facts show, do we end up saving money on public housing by housing people instead on the streets and in jails, or whatever other short-sighted policy is the flavor-du-jour. On a more personal level I feel for the people who live in states with so little support because they get doubly screwed. Life throws them curve balls and then the system further tramps them down instead of lending a helping hand.

When I was a kid my mother lost her job when her insight went belly up. She was able to get tuition assistance for retraining in a different industry through our state. It was tough for her going back to school when her own kids were in high school, but she did it and went on to have a new 15-year career as a productive citizen. Much better that our state invested in her in the form of job retraining because they got more than that sum back in payroll taxes once she got back into the job market.

DadJokes

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 455
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #87 on: February 26, 2019, 10:22:22 AM »

I'm all for necessary government spending at the appropriate level of government. The problem seems to be that my definitions of necessary and appropriate level seem to differ from the more vocal political crowd in this forum. A large number of federal programs should be run by the states or not at all. That gives people greater options when it comes to choosing what they wish to fund in the government.
What current federal programs do you think should instead be run by the states, and which do you think should not be funded at all?  How will that increase options in choosing what to fund?

Departments of Education, Agriculture, and Housing and Urban Development should be completely state-ran. Healthcare should shift heavily towards states. I would cut defense budget in half. Pet projects and research spending should probably be privately-funded, though I would not be opposed to states funding them. Some of the Department of Transportation could shift towards states, some toward private sector, and some be retained by the federal government.

It increases options because if I want to live in a state with all of these programs or in a state with low taxes, I have the option to move. If we think the variety between California and Texas is large now, imagine what it could be if states had more say in programs than they do now. By moving and taking your tax dollars with you, you are choosing what to fund (or live off of) if you are into taking advantage of others. That will certainly happen, but at least under a system where the power is divided between the states, people have the option to not pay for those that do nothing to contribute.

It's also the best chance you get of getting what you want for policy. You can't get universal healthcare on the federal level, in part due to lobbying from insurance and pharmaceutical companies and in part due to resistance from the right. However, if it were entirely up to the state, blue states would have no problem getting it passed.

Tass

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1447
  • Age: 25
  • Location: Southern California
  • Working on a PhD...
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #88 on: February 26, 2019, 11:13:08 AM »
The idea of state-by-state variance in education standards is terrifying. There are already plenty of states where you don't have to teach factual sex ed, or factual climate change, or factual evolution. It could go so far down the rabbit hole without federal oversight - partisan skew on what gets taught, in both directions - and a bunch of southern state schools might even still be formally segregated.

An educated populace with a common background of facts is absolutely necessary for a functional democracy. If we have a federal democracy, my opinion is that we have to have federal standards of education.

...anyway, now that we are thoroughly divorced from the topic of the thread...

SwordGuy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5182
  • Location: Fayetteville, NC
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #89 on: February 26, 2019, 06:31:59 PM »
The idea of state-by-state variance in education standards is terrifying. There are already plenty of states where you don't have to teach factual sex ed, or factual climate change, or factual evolution. It could go so far down the rabbit hole without federal oversight - partisan skew on what gets taught, in both directions - and a bunch of southern state schools might even still be formally segregated.

An educated populace with a common background of facts is absolutely necessary for a functional democracy. If we have a federal democracy, my opinion is that we have to have federal standards of education.

...anyway, now that we are thoroughly divorced from the topic of the thread...

We don't have a Federal democracy.   We have a Federal republic, as it should be.

Abe

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1238
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #90 on: February 26, 2019, 07:14:38 PM »

I'm all for necessary government spending at the appropriate level of government. The problem seems to be that my definitions of necessary and appropriate level seem to differ from the more vocal political crowd in this forum. A large number of federal programs should be run by the states or not at all. That gives people greater options when it comes to choosing what they wish to fund in the government.
What current federal programs do you think should instead be run by the states, and which do you think should not be funded at all?  How will that increase options in choosing what to fund?

Departments of Education, Agriculture, and Housing and Urban Development should be completely state-ran. Healthcare should shift heavily towards states. I would cut defense budget in half. Pet projects and research spending should probably be privately-funded, though I would not be opposed to states funding them. Some of the Department of Transportation could shift towards states, some toward private sector, and some be retained by the federal government.

It increases options because if I want to live in a state with all of these programs or in a state with low taxes, I have the option to move. If we think the variety between California and Texas is large now, imagine what it could be if states had more say in programs than they do now. By moving and taking your tax dollars with you, you are choosing what to fund (or live off of) if you are into taking advantage of others. That will certainly happen, but at least under a system where the power is divided between the states, people have the option to not pay for those that do nothing to contribute.

It's also the best chance you get of getting what you want for policy. You can't get universal healthcare on the federal level, in part due to lobbying from insurance and pharmaceutical companies and in part due to resistance from the right. However, if it were entirely up to the state, blue states would have no problem getting it passed.

As long as the low-tax states donít come asking for federal money to pay for roads, disaster relief, subsidized property insurance, etc.

ysette9

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4642
  • Location: Bay Area, CA
    • Insert Snappy Title Here (Journal)
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #91 on: February 26, 2019, 07:24:09 PM »
As I talked a bit about above I think that kind of state-centric approach would be okay for the privileged as they would be able to leave states that suck at providing things like infrastructure, education, and social services. It would disproportionately impact the most vulnerable, like we see already today, but even worse.

Abe

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1238
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #92 on: February 26, 2019, 07:34:25 PM »
As I talked a bit about above I think that kind of state-centric approach would be okay for the privileged as they would be able to leave states that suck at providing things like infrastructure, education, and social services. It would disproportionately impact the most vulnerable, like we see already today, but even worse.

Exactly. I think we went through this already during the Gilded Age through the early 1900s, and donít need to repeat the experiment. In my home state of NC, as an example, there were areas that had no running water and erratic power supply well into the 60s, and letís say it was not the capital or its rich suburbs. Our schools remain abysmal even now. The problem with state-centric policies is it is relatively cheap to corrupt by steering funds to friends/campaign contributors. This is more a function of how these legislatures tend to run (majority leaders routinely ignoring bills they donít like) rather than size of the legislatures (number of people to bribe to get that cash cow bill passed).

« Last Edit: February 26, 2019, 07:37:39 PM by Abe »

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10228
  • Location: la belle province
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #93 on: February 27, 2019, 04:51:33 AM »
Quote
Departments of Education, Agriculture, and Housing and Urban Development should be completely state-ran. Healthcare should shift heavily towards states. I would cut defense budget in half. Pet projects and research spending should probably be privately-funded, though I would not be opposed to states funding them. Some of the Department of Transportation could shift towards states, some toward private sector, and some be retained by the federal government.

I'll just comment on the research spending here, as that hits very close to home.

Leaving research funding up to private funding is a fantastically bad idea.  Few companies can contribute the large sums (million$) necessary to fund truly innovative research science, and the ones that can are almost all large publicly traded companies controlled by shareholders.  Which means they are only interested in patentable research that sees a return on investment in just a few short years (if not quarters).  Breakthroughs won't be shared with the broader public but instead used to make the company more money for its shareholders.  Projects that won't be profiable from a corporate standpoint but benefitial to society won't get funding

Leaving it up to the individual States is not a good solution either.  For starters, in the natural sciences organisms don't respect geographical barriers, and studies on, say, Salmon populations would be nearly impossible as these fish travel though and across multiple states.  Getting international collaborative projects is already a nightmare, I can't imagine what 50 separate research councils within the US would look like.  Then there's the whole idea that results from research funded by the US Federal government is available and for the benefit of all US citizens.  There's a clear motivation to (as examples) develop vaccines (which are rarely profitable for drug makers) or find new pest treatment stategies for wheat crops.  If left to the states this research would be harder to get funded as no one state would want the burden of funding such important research (and many are too small to truly tackle such problems), and if a breakthrough of a public-industrial partnership (quite common already) is discovered in, say, Wisconsin - why should the people in Ohio or Florida reap the benefits, having contributed nothing.  In short, it's an ethical minefield and a surefire way of limiting our research potential.


robartsd

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2257
  • Location: Sacramento, CA
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #94 on: February 27, 2019, 09:42:56 AM »
Leaving research funding up to private funding is a fantastically bad idea.  Few companies can contribute the large sums (million$) necessary to fund truly innovative research science, and the ones that can are almost all large publicly traded companies controlled by shareholders.  Which means they are only interested in patentable research that sees a return on investment in just a few short years (if not quarters).  Breakthroughs won't be shared with the broader public but instead used to make the company more money for its shareholders.  Projects that won't be profiable from a corporate standpoint but benefitial to society won't get funding
I agree that there is a good case for funding some research at the national level. I just think that all results of research that receives any federal funding should be 100% in the public domain.

nereo

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 10228
  • Location: la belle province
    • Here's how you can support science today:
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #95 on: February 27, 2019, 09:55:00 AM »
Leaving research funding up to private funding is a fantastically bad idea.  Few companies can contribute the large sums (million$) necessary to fund truly innovative research science, and the ones that can are almost all large publicly traded companies controlled by shareholders.  Which means they are only interested in patentable research that sees a return on investment in just a few short years (if not quarters).  Breakthroughs won't be shared with the broader public but instead used to make the company more money for its shareholders.  Projects that won't be profiable from a corporate standpoint but benefitial to society won't get funding
I agree that there is a good case for funding some research at the national level. I just think that all results of research that receives any federal funding should be 100% in the public domain.

While nit's not 100%, *almost* all federally funded research is in the public domain, including both the resulting data and analyses.  The exceptions are typically with public-industrial partnerships where research labs partner with private industry to tackle some R&D hurdle.  In these cases technology transfer agreements are spelled out well in advance.  Given the need and desire for researchers to work with private industry on applied solutions I'm not sure how this could be otherwise (but am willing to hear suggestions).

sol

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8478
  • Age: 42
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #96 on: February 27, 2019, 10:04:02 AM »
I just think that all results of research that receives any federal funding should be 100% in the public domain.

They already are, if that research is conducted at a public university or a government agency or laboratory.  But sometimes, the federal government gives research grants to private and for-profit schools or organizations, and they have different rules.  It's pretty common for them to have technology development offices that retain the right to commercialize new technologies before (or concurrrently with) publication of results.  Basically any school with it's own patent office, which is ALL of the big private tech schools.

The only real alternative, I think, is for the federal government to stop giving research funding to private universities, and that would create a whole host of other problems.  For example, most of our military R&D is conducted at private universities, because it's easier there to do work basically in secret without having to set up separate organizational entities that avoid the public domain rules to contain the programs.

Sultan58

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 28
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #97 on: March 01, 2019, 04:38:40 PM »
Read through all the responses.....of those who actually answered the OPs original question---it looks like about a 4:1 ratio in favor of those who will pay less taxes this year.

I will pay less----so I consider the tax plan a success. I'm not wrapped around the axle on which party voted it in. My money doesnt favor either party.

But it seems thats hard to admit for some.

Tass

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1447
  • Age: 25
  • Location: Southern California
  • Working on a PhD...
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #98 on: March 01, 2019, 07:48:27 PM »
I'm not thrilled with a government that would slash its income while increasing its spending, in an already-thriving economy, and still pretend to be fiscally responsible. It's not about which party did voted on it for me, either - that's bad financial sense from any side.

Tass

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1447
  • Age: 25
  • Location: Southern California
  • Working on a PhD...
Re: Did the GOP tax plan help or hurt you?
« Reply #99 on: March 01, 2019, 08:59:40 PM »
I really didn't think "the government should at least try not to increase the debt dramatically" was a controversial stance. I've no interest in subjecting all the posters here to a debate about it, though. Good night!

ETA: Looks like the other member of this argument deleted his posts, if you're wondering why I'm talking to myself. My bad for not quoting, I guess.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2019, 10:48:22 AM by Tass »