There is no way that the reconciliation process can fix the tax reform bill. I am going to focus on one thing that I feel has escaped the general public’s notice: the sleight of hand involved in doubling the standard deduction and eliminating the personal exemption.

Consider a retired couple, both over 65. Under current law, the standard deduction will be $15,100 and the exemptions will be $8,100 – totaling $23,200.

In the proposed new plan, the standard deduction would be $24,000 with no exemptions, so that’s $800 less to pay tax on. But wait – under current law, if your itemized deductions were just $20,000 and you add the exemptions, now the total of deductions and exemptions would be $28,100, and you would be paying tax on $4,100 less than under the tax reform plan. What kind of deal is that?

The only way to solve this problem is to just say “no!” to this bill, in whatever form it takes, and start over with a bipartisan committee to draft a realistic tax reform bill that will help all of us.

Joanne Hardy