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From Day 1, It's Always Been About The Benjamins-- And Whose Ox (Or Cash Cow) Gets Gored

Updated: Aug 27, 2021

The fight over Biden's very popular agenda-- basically the "soft" infrastructure/Jobs/Family bill-- is a classic battle between progressives and conservatives. The Republicans are 100% opposed to it-- which means it has to go through reconciliation to pass in the Senate, and then get 100% of Democratic votes there including arch-conservative Joe Manchin and attention-craving sociopath Kyrsten Sinema. And it also has to get almost 100% of Democratic votes in the House, where bottom feeder conservatives led by Josh Gottheimer, Henry Cuellar and Kurt Schrader are being paid by Republican billionaires (via No Labels) to oppose it.

And what they're fighting over is taxation-- who pays? Classically, conservatives are about one thing over all else: preserving (conserving) the status quo, particularly in terms of who's got the wealth and who doesn't. Conservatives want low-- if they can't get no-- taxes on the rich. And that's what this fight is about. Manchin and Sinema in the Senate and Gottheimer and his group of Blue Dogs in the House, don't want to see taxes go up on their wealthy campaign contributors or on corporate profits.

That's why, for example, Marco Rubio opposes Biden's program that would do so much to help his own hard-pressed constituents in Florida. This morning, Rubio's progressive opponent, Alan Grayson noted that "We are literally seeing people dangle hundreds of thousands of dollars of cash in front of elected officials to sway their votes. What’s the difference if it’s for them or for their campaigns? How long are people going to put up with this?"

Like Grayson, North Carolina Senate candidate Erica Smith supports what Biden is trying to do with the Build Back Better agenda. "This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to transform people's lives for the better, to grant a new, new deal to the American people," she told me today. "The Republican question of 'how do we pay for it?' is not being asked in good faith. They know that we can afford this. They know that it isn't fair for billionaires to be getting away with paying nothing in taxes. They know that the American people want and tuition-free community college, affordable childcare, and expanded Medicare. That doesn't matter to them though because they don't care about us, they don't represent us. They represent the wealthy, the well-connected, and corporations. We need representatives who are truly for the people and are willing to fight for bold ideas and policies that can transform people's lives. This is exactly the kind of legislation I would support and when I'm in the Senate next year, we won't have to spend as much time worrying about conservative Democrats because I will be the 51st vote for progress every single time."

John Katko and David Valadao, two Republicans in blue districts that are heavily in favor of Biden's plans, have both already voted against the bill in the House, despite how much good the Build Back Better bills would do for residents of the Central Valley and Central New York. Steven Holden, who's taking on Katko told me earlier that his opponent "favors regressive taxation, which hurts the poor and marginal communities. He has long disapproved of any significant infrastructure plan and called the latest plan a 'Democratic wish list.' Central NY has the worst stretch of urban highway in the country, I-81, and he has no plans on fixing it, because he values dollars over the noise pollution it causes with residents in South Syracuse.

Valadao's progressive opponent is Bryan Osorio, mayor of Delano. This morning he asked, "What does the status quo mean for CA-21? It means the future of one of the poorest congressional districts in California will once again hang in limbo. It means families who need assistance with childcare, healthcare, education, and other burdensome costs will once again see Republican David Valadao side with his party and mega donors over his struggling constituents. It means the district needs someone with political courage to advocate for progressive issues, as I'm doing every day on the campaign trail." As mayor Osorio is already investing in childcare facility improvements and college assistance at the local level."

Meanwhile Kentucky progressive Chris Preece is running in a swing district and noted that his opponent, "Andy Barr has banking in his blood, he was a banker before becoming a congressman, and the policies he pushes are banking related. Andy Barr is not going to let his friends and campaign contributors be taxed any more than they already are, which is LOWER than the taxes we pay. The folks of Kentucky cannot afford another bill, which is how Barr, and his GOP friends, want to pay for everything.The truth is Kentuckians are already paying for these things. Biden and good hearted democrats are trying to relieve some of the worries an average Kentuckian has. 'Soft' infrastructure will help build aid for those in need and relieve undue burdens on Kentuckians who are barely making it. It's time to support the hard working people of Kentucky (and America) by passing this infrastructure bill with the wealthy paying their fair share. You better think again if you think a banker, Barr, will vote to help Kentuckians with this bill."

The Democratic Party is in the midst of a collision course over the bill. It's not so much that the Blue Dogs and some New Dems necessarily oppose the programs in health care, climate change, child care, education, etc that $3.5 trillion agenda would enact; they just don't care much about them and it's just about the taxes on the rich to pay for them. The White House is trying to counter by emphasizing the importance of the plan to small business, a sector which no Democrat dares oppose. According to the White House, "Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda will crack down on the unfair tax schemes that give big corporations a leg up. According to a new Treasury Department analysis, the President’s Agenda will protect 97 percent of small business owners from income tax rate increases, while delivering tax cuts to more than 3.9 million entrepreneurs. The revenue raised from creating a fairer tax system for Main Street will help pay for investments that will grow our economy and create jobs, including investments in small business. This includes creating a national paid leave program with benefits paid by the federal government-- not the employer-- leveling the playing field for small businesses that cannot afford to provide this benefit to employees. The Build Back Better Agenda will also increase access to contracting opportunities and provide tens of billions of dollars in financing and technical assistance programs for small businesses, including small manufacturers. In short, President Biden’s plan lays the foundation for American small businesses to win the 21st century.

The current tax system unfairly prioritizes large multinational corporations over Main Street American small businesses. Small businesses don’t have access to the army of lawyers and accountants that allowed 55 profitable large corporations to avoid paying any federal corporate taxes in 2020, and they cannot shift profits into tax havens to avoid paying U.S. taxes like multinational corporations can. U.S. multinationals report 60 percent of their profits abroad in just seven low tax jurisdictions that, combined, make up less than 4 percent of global GDP. These corporations do not make money in these countries; they just report it there to take a huge tax cut. In 2018, married couples making about $150,000 working at their own small business paid over 20 percent of their income in federal income and self-employment taxes. By contrast, U.S. multinational corporations paid less than 10 percent in corporate income taxes on U.S. profits.
Facts about the current unfair tax system are unsettling, but they are no surprise to Main Street. Nearly three-quarters of small businesses say the current tax system favors big businesses over small businesses and that their business is harmed when big corporations use loopholes to avoid taxes. About two-thirds of small business support increasing taxes on corporations.
President Biden has laid out a comprehensive tax reform plan to level the playing field, address the concerns of small business owners, and raise revenue that will help pay for new programs for Main Street. The President’s plan will:
  • Raise the corporate income tax rate to 28 percent;

  • Strengthen the global minimum tax for large multinational corporations;

  • Reduce incentives for foreign jurisdictions to maintain ultra-low corporate tax rates by encouraging global adoption of robust minimum taxes for large corporations;

  • Enact a 15 percent minimum tax on book income of large, highly profitable corporations;

  • Eliminate incentives for large corporations to offshore profits and jobs; and

  • Ramp up enforcement to address tax avoidance among large corporations.

President Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda will make the tax code fairer while protecting millions of small businesses from tax increases. For example, President Biden’s proposal to restore the corporate tax rate halfway back to its pre-2018 level would not affect any small businesses that file taxes as a passthrough entity (LLCs, S-corps, and sole proprietorships). That’s nearly every small business in America. Similarly, the President’s proposal to restore the top income tax bracket to its pre-2018 level-- which would only raise taxes by 2.6 percentage points for the wealthiest households in America-- would affect less than 3 percent of small business owners, according to the Treasury Department’s new analysis focused exclusively on small businesses filing as S-corporations, partnerships, and on individual income tax return Form 1040 Schedules C, E and F (as noted, nearly every small business falls in this category). Across President Biden’s agenda, smart reforms to make America’s tax code fairer are tailored to protect Main Street small business owners from tax increases.

CNBC worried on behalf of the very rich that "the prospect of higher taxes for wealthy Americans edged closer on Tuesday as House Democrats passed a $3.5 trillion budget plan. That framework lays the groundwork for Democrats to write formal legislation that can pass without one Republican vote. Democrats have called for higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations and stronger IRS enforcement to help fund their agenda. The House vote sets the stage for a political showdown in coming weeks as Democrats try to pass the biggest expansion of the safety net in decades, spending more on education, paid leave, childcare, health care and climate initiatives." The showdown is not between Democrats and Republicans, but between Democrats and DINOs.

If it passes "it’s likely the richest Americans will face higher taxes on their ordinary income, capital gains from investments and appreciated assets bequeathed to heirs, according to tax experts. The plan would also 'prohibit' new taxes on families making less than $400,000 a year, small businesses and family farms."

Andrew Duellen and Kristina Peterson reported for the Wall Street Journal that "The intraparty fracas over passing a $3.5 trillion budget outline has left Democrats girding for an even more difficult set of negotiations this fall as progressives and centrists begin sparring on the details of their broad healthcare, education and climate plan. [The right-wing fringe] in the House and Senate have already raised concerns about the size of the $3.5 trillion proposal and its tax increases, seeking to pass the public-works bill as quickly as possible. Progressives, in turn, have said they would oppose the infrastructure bill-- a priority for [the conservatives]-- until the healthcare, education, and climate measures pass the Senate, aiming to create pressure for the [conservative shit eaters] to support the $3.5 trillion plan... Several specific issues in the legislation are expected to be hot spots in the negotiations, including a plan to empower the federal government to negotiate the price of prescription drugs. Democrats have aired disagreements about proposed increases in the top capital-gains tax rate, a plan to tax unrealized gains at death and raising the corporate tax rate."

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