Obama's Budget Threatens Retirement Tax Breaks

Ancients studied animal entrails.

(Image credit: iStock)

Ancients studied animal entrails. Later, people consulted tarot cards, tea leaves and crystal balls. In short, there is no shortage of methods to peer into the future. When it comes to the tax law, though, the most credible fortune-telling technique may be to study presidential budgets. These documents are often considered DOA (dead on arrival on Capitol Hill), and President Obama's 2017 wish list is no exception (although many wags declared the lame-duck president's final budget dead before arrival). Still, ideas dismissed in one year often find their way into law later on.

For example, a couple of years ago, President Obama proposed eliminating "aggressive" Social Security claiming strategies that allowed some married couples to increase their lifetime benefits from the program. The idea went nowhere -- until, late at night this past Halloween and with no public hearings or debate, Congress put the kibosh on those valuable opportunities. (Folks who turn age 66 by May 1 can still take advantage of them, if they act quickly. See Big Changes Ahead for Claiming Social Security.)

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Kevin McCormally
Chief Content Officer, Kiplinger Washington Editors
McCormally retired in 2018 after more than 40 years at Kiplinger. He joined Kiplinger in 1977 as a reporter specializing in taxes, retirement, credit and other personal finance issues. He is the author and editor of many books, helped develop and improve popular tax-preparation software programs, and has written and appeared in several educational videos. In 2005, he was named Editorial Director of The Kiplinger Washington Editors, responsible for overseeing all of our publications and Web site. At the time, Editor in Chief Knight Kiplinger called McCormally "the watchdog of editorial quality, integrity and fairness in all that we do." In 2015, Kevin was named Chief Content Officer and Senior Vice President.