It happened as it always happens, the country voted and made it through another election. This one, however, certainly felt a little more divisive than most, and the results showed that that division is real. Those results also show that one can’t make financial and tax plans based on election promises.
One of the promises that President Trump spoke about in the lead-up to the election was a Republican plan for a 10% middle-class tax cut. Obviously, this would appeal to many people and speaks to concerns some have that his party’s passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act did more for high-wealth people and businesses than for those in the middle.
For the people this rhetoric spoke to, if that was their biggest concern with the country’s direction, they should have voted on that promise. The Republican Party had already shown it has the ability to pass tax legislation. If it retained majorities in both houses of congress, there was no reason to think that it could not have done it again.
Now, however, with a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives, the chances of this happening are essentially nil. And therein lies the crux of what I want to say this week.
There is nothing wrong, and it is an essential part of our democracy, with voting for the way that you want the country to run, and that often aligns with self-interest. It is great to have a candidate or party speaking to what you want addressed, and feeling they will address your issues and concerns. You just can’t plan ahead based on that information.
For now, the tax rules passed in the TCJA look to be the rules we will be going by for the next few years. Another power shift will likely be needed before anything major can be passed. Heck, if there’s one thing the TCJA is teaching us, it is that even when major tax legislation is passed, it takes time to fully get into the minutiae of it and understand all of its implications.
It is worth spending some time investigating how the rules affect your tax picture and what you can do to make it work in the best way for you. That is a difficult enough experience to work through without making speculative moves based on promises and rhetoric.
And yes, as you take that time and make your moves under the current system, chances are good that you will find rules you wish were different. Latch onto that, feel strongly about them, do what you can to make your voice heard, and continue to vote in the future. That is a powerful act that can help you see the change in the country you want to see. It’s just part of the process, though, and a process that can take a long time to see through to a conclusion. So in the meantime, work within the rules we have, and know that we are here to support you along the journey.
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