Donald Trump’s tax plan will reduce my charitable donations

Well, he got what he wanted.  He and his Republican cohorts shoved a tax plan through that will – let’s face it – we don’t know what it will do, because it was passed almost like ramming wadding into a musket.

Yet I’ve heard several people say, “Well, a family of four who make $70,000 a year will get $2,000 in refunds and tax breaks…”

I don’t know any families of four who make $70,000 a year.  I live in the middle class.  Sorry if we don’t jet to the Hamptons every other weekend.

But here’s my takeaway from the new tax plan.  Supposedly, this new plan is going to give us a bigger tax return in 2018 and for a few years after that.  And we’re supposed to take this new-found wealth and invest it in the economy.  New cars.  New electronics.  New this and new that.

You do that.

I can’t do that.  See, I live on this thing called a budget.  I don’t buy a new car every three years.  I don’t buy a new flatscreen every three years.  Yes, I own a top-of-the-line cell phone, but I purchase that with the understanding that I will use it until it breaks.

And if I do get some extra money, I don’t just run to the shopping mall and buy the first items on clearance.

No, if I get any tax money back, the first thing it’s going on is to pay off bills and debts and loans.  I am less than three “apples” away from paying off my Chevrolet, I’m essentially THREE AND A HALF YEARS ahead on my car loan and I want this car paid off within the next nine months.  That’s where my excess funds will go, if I happen to get any.

Any other funds?  I’m putting them back in my savings.  Certainly I’ll put a share of the funds in my bank account … but I’m also going to squirrel away some funds in stable investments.  You know, First Mattress Savings and Loan … Pillowcase Federal Credit Union … Tin Can in the Garden National Bank…

And I say this because I don’t know what taxes I’m going to get clobbered with in the new year.  I don[t know if I can keep my regular deductions.  And I don’t know if I’m going to get whacked on taxes and increases for 2018 and beyond.

I cannot take that chance.

And this will affect one major portion of my being.

My donations to charities.

There are, for me, two kinds of charitable donations.  The first one is a donation simply because I feel the charity deserves my consideration.  That would include the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society.  Or the Damien Center.  Or Big Brothers Big Sisters.  Or Goodwill.  Or Habitate for Humanity.

The second charitable donations are made for charities that, while noble and true, also offer the “tax deduction” option.  You know what I mean; you can deduct charitable donations from your taxes.

But what if the new 2018 budget eliminates some of those charitable donation options?

See, this kinda scares me.  I don’t need to wake up on April 14th and find out that the IRS wants a pound of flesh and they don’t care what part of my body they can carve it from.  I have to essentially guard against being whacked for a tax bill – and that means, I won’t donate to charities until I find out for sure how those future donations will affect my giving.

Trust me, I’ve seen this before.  I’ve known people who were blessed with inheritances, and they spent the money as quickly as the check arrived.  Then they got socked the next year with inheritance taxes and payback programs with the IRS.  I can’t do that.  I wouldn’t want the last memory I have of a beloved family member be that I had to pay the IRS because he or she died.

Again, there are charities where I will donate and not hesitate to do so.  They’re the ones where they want to offer me a tax receipt, and I say, “Don’t worry, it’s all good.”  I’m not going to turn tomorrow into Old Man Potter, the meanest man in Bedford Falls.

But I am going to be more careful about who I donate to and how much I donate.  Especially in this day and age, where we could be looking at a major depression or recession down the road.

I’m sorry.  I didn’t ask for this new tax plan, and I’m very concerned about its effects on my wallet.

And it’s not just my spending patterns.  I’m also worried about the companies with whom I do business. Utilities.  Banks.  Serviceables.  I lived through the credit card crunch in 2008.  It was horrifying.  I saw my available credits shrink and my interest rates skyrocket just because the credit card companies said they could do it.  And the consumer protection plans that Barack Obama put in place to stop that from ever happening again – what’s to stop Donald Trump from cancelling those plans, just out of his personal Obama hate?

And if you don’t think that companies would screw over consumers just because they can – does the name Martin Shkreli mean anything to you?

So with all this in mind …

Until I know how this new tax program will affect me …

I cannot and will not donate to charities until further notice.

I’m sorry.  But I need to take care of myself and my finances.

I don’t want to be in need of a charity myself because I couldn’t take care of my own basic personal needs.