Ask the grumpies: Thoughts on most recent budget

OMDG asks:

What are your thoughts on the budget that just got passed?

This was asked a year ago, and as per usual, we’ve put off the hard questions to the end.  The budget that got passed was awful.  It’s increased the deficit while becoming way less progressive, meaning there’s LESS investment in our future.  We’re neither spending more on nor saving more for the future.

That said, it could have been a ton worse.  The phone calls that we all made last year really did make a difference.  The marginal tax rate structure ended up not being as terrible as it could have been.  There were lots of horrible things that didn’t end up in the budget.  Even small things like not giving a tax advantage to teachers for buying supplies got saved from chopping.  Other investment things did get axed (like moving expenses), but it could have been worse.

As for us, we haven’t done our taxes yet, but I think we will have benefited given our income and the changes in marginal tax rates combined with the biggest cuts not really affecting us given where we live and our lack of mortgage interest situation.   This is our first year in which it truly makes no sense to itemize (last year we were like $200 of giving over the part where itemizing makes sense), and the new tax bill’s treatment of state/property taxes means that there’s not even any point to adding up our donations.  So that should save time.

I would gladly pay that money back if it meant that everyone in our situation and better situations had to pay and we could invest in our country’s future again.

Grumpeteers, what are your thoughts on the latest federal tax situation?

9 Responses to “Ask the grumpies: Thoughts on most recent budget”

  1. Leah Says:

    I’ll let you know once we do our taxes. In general, I’m not excited even if it means a little more money for me. I’d rather pay higher taxes and live in a country where we actually take care of people. Tho I will note that I don’t want to pay higher taxes and have it go to even more military or ineffective interventions (like a border wall). AOC pointed out that $5 billion could pay for free pre-k for every kid. I haven’t seen the math fact checked. If that’s true, then I really question our priorities in so many ways (tho not that I didn’t already).

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      AOC has been surprisingly good (for a politician) on economics so far, so I would not be surprised if that’s the agreed-upon price-tag.

      • Leah Says:

        In doing further research, the price tag varies. She’s citing research from Bloomberg on this, and I think it’s based on the fact that many already have preschool that parents pay for or is partially funded by local/fed government (like HeadStart and such).

        We were lucky to squeak in to the voluntary free preschool program that literally just started in our state. It’s been such a relief this year to just have to pay for daycare for one and not also the more expensive preschool. It also allowed us to send our kid to public school versus the Catholic school; Catholic school was going to be about $1,500 cheaper than public school until we got into the free program. We just pay for school lunch now, and that’s it. We will actually pay a little more next year in Kinder because we will have to pay $5 a day for after care that is currently included in our free program.

    • gasstationwithoutpumps Says:

      I was going to type comment, but Leah said everything I wanted to say.

  2. ellie Says:

    I don’t know yet– I haven’t touched my taxes. But my tax preparer did call to tell me that when I schedule, I need to tack another half-hour onto the appointment time to account for the extra complexity. So there’s that.

    I don’t expect that the new tax situation will result in more money for me, mainly because I never seem to benefit from these sorts of things. And realistically, I shouldn’t. I have a good job that I enjoy, a stable living situation, and I don’t worry about whether or not I can pay my bills. We can afford to see doctors and dentists when we need to, and have health insurance. I am someone who should be paying a decent amount in taxes.

    My philosophy is that I think it’s important to pay taxes and not look for ways to unfairly minimize my own personal tax bill. I do take deductions, but I don’t jump through hoops to make my income look smaller or my deductions look bigger. I feel that this is part of what I do in order to live in a society that takes care of itself and the people in it. There are a lot of things that the current administration is doing that I find really, really abhorrent… but I continue to hope that the pendulum is going to swing the other way. And we can maybe work more on using tax money in better ways again.

  3. chacha1 Says:

    I haven’t touched my taxes yet either, and in fact I’m doing my level best not to this year. Have already advised DH that I am retiring from being the household tax preparer; all of the complexity is on his side, all of the record-keeping shenanigans are on his side, and yet for going on 15 years it’s been me giving up weekend after weekend to try and pull it together. I need my weekends dammit.

    Anyway, long bitchfest short, I’m preparing my HSA reporting form and handing over my W2 and my (laughable) royalties report from Amazon KDP, and otherwise I’m staying out of it. Wage earner married to self-employed person with no dependents means we pay a lot of taxes, and it’s only going to stress me out to discover whatever his savings/debt ratio is this year.

    As to the macro implications of whatever budget was passed … eh. All I can tell you is if California secession makes it to the ballot, I am voting YES.

  4. Debbie M Says:

    I feel the same way that you do except forgot that it could have easily been even worse.

    My taxes will be a little higher because there’s no point in itemizing when the standard deduction is so gigantic (since they got rid of the personal deduction). But normal single people at my salary level probably can’t afford to own a house or donate 10% of their income, so I think they would see lower taxes. I don’t know about married people or people with kids.

    I haven’t finalized my taxes for this year yet, but I’ve heard there’s now a half-sheet sized form 1040 which everyone uses (no 1040A or 1040EZ). So they’ve “simplified” taxes, except for all the extra schedules they had to create to make up for that.

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