Cut waste for bet­ter tax plan

The Washington Times Weekly - - Letters To The Editor - FREYA DE COLA Re­ston, Vir­ginia

The Repub­li­can tax plan may pro­vide re­lief for low-in­come fam­i­lies and the very wealthy, but peo­ple in the mid­dle 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. 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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