Thank goodness!

Tax expert Albert A. DiMillo Jr. deftly exposes the rhetorical tricks buried in Sen. Susan Collins’ defense of her vote in support of her party’s tax legislation (“Commentary: Collins can’t seem to deduce unfairness of Republican tax bill,” Dec. 28).

Sen. Collins employs generalizations that are true enough in hypothetical circumstances, but seem hollow, even misleading, when actual cases are considered. For example, as DiMillo points out, the senator’s much-trumpeted benefit of owing fewer tax dollars because of the increased standard deduction will shrink when many people, who rarely come close to a statistical model, find far fewer dollars in their pocket than they had hoped for.

The tax legislation gives and takes away at the same time. It gives a little to middle- and lower-wage earners, but gradually takes back any realized savings as the gift expires. Yet the tax bill gives huge tax cuts. And it makes this gift permanent. Not hard to see that we ordinary taxpayers ultimately pay more so that corporations can pay a lot less.

Perhaps the simplest explanation for Sen. Collins’ vote and for her angry, uncomprehending responses (“unbelievably sexist“) to widespread criticism is that she likes tax policies that disproportionately benefit the rich. Yes, she pushed for a few crumbs, and yes, she accepted promises from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that there would be a few more crumbs, assurances that House Speaker Paul Ryan now claims he feels no obligation to honor.

I suspect crumbs and promises of crumbs, while offering some tax relief to those Maine taxpayers who itemize deductions, also offer political cover for Sen. Collins’ adherence to conventional Republican ideology.

Thanks to Albert DiMillo, among others, her cover is blown.

Burke Long

Brunswick