Paying For Building Back Worse

Look at this headline from yesterday. Let me rewrite to make it more accurate: "Top Dems are getting the last of their requirements for a husk of a spending bill from Manchin and Sinema." There are no negotiations-- just an ever-increasing series of red-line demands from the two most Republican senators in the Democratic Caucus. Manchin has said explicitly that he could care less if the whole thing falls apart and that he's not voting for anything that he doesn't agree with. Sinema, if anything, is even worse than she is, because she doesn't know what she wants, only that she wants headlines.

The Democrats are trying to put as good a face on this as they can... but they're delusional: "After days of talks among House, Senate and White House officials," wrote Jacob Pramuk, "party leaders sounded more optimistic than ever about striking an agreement. Top Democrats acknowledged a handful of issues were unresolved, which could trip up the rush toward a deal and votes in the coming days. 'Most of that has been negotiated, most of it is ready to go,' House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the chamber, told reporters about the bill. 'And we are just waiting for the last parts of the bill to be put together. We’re hopeful that that will be done in the next few hours, frankly.'"

Nothing has been "negotiated." This was just a giant cave to the two corporate whores who have been paid off by the lobbyists and by special interests to spike everything vaguely transformational in the bill. Manchin told progressives that if they want more progressive legislation, they should elect more progressives-- this while Chuck Schumer and the DCCC quash the campaigns of progressives in favor of more garbage candidates like Manchin and Sinema (from Conor Lamb, Tim Ryan and Cheri Beasley to Val Demings and Abby Finkenauer). If you're so inclined, you can contribute directly to progressive Senate candidates here.

So what about the pathetic tax on the billionaires that Manchin has allowed into the bill? What a joke! You can get more info about it at this guide. How about confiscating everything over $10 million instead? Patriotic Millionaires wrote today that the billionaires Income Tax is "known as mark-to-market, would target only about 700 billionaires (forget the top 1%, this is the top 0.0002%), and force them to start paying taxes every year just like ordinary Americans who work for a living.

A recent ProPublica report found that, in large part because of their ability to defer payment on capital gains, the richest 25 billionaires in America paid an effective tax rate of just 3.4% on over $400 billion in gains between 2014-2018. The Billionaires Income Tax would change that, requiring billionaires to pay taxes on their capital gains every single year even if they don’t sell any assets, raising up to $250 billion in the process.
...The millionaires and billionaires are the ones making all of the gains (billionaires alone have gotten over $2.1 trillion richer since the start of the pandemic), and they’re the ones who are contributing the most to the destabilizing levels of inequality we see in our society today. That’s why the Patriotic Millionaires have spent the entire 11 years of its existence insisting that any federal tax increases should apply only to those making over $1 million a year or with $5 million or more in assets, and that’s also why we first endorsed the Billionaires Income Tax when it was just a white paper coming out of Senator Ron Wyden’s office in 2019. We’re thrilled to see lawmakers begin to embrace our focus on tax increases tightly targeted at only the absolute wealthiest Americans.
But let’s be clear-- while we’re excited about this proposal, there’s still a lot more work to be done in fixing our tax code. A Billionaires Income Tax may make the richest Americans pay more, but it fails to address the fundamental injustice at the heart of our tax code that gives wealthy people earning capital gains a significant advantage over people who actually work for a living. Even if it were to become law, billionaires would still be paying just a 20% tax rate on their capital gains income, a lower top rate than that of a working person earning just $90,000 a year in income.

South Africa scumbag Elon Musk, the richest and greediest man in the world, ripped the billionaires' tax on investment gains: "Eventually, they run out of other people’s money and then they come for you." As of Monday, his net worth was $288.6 billion. He should be taxed until he has $10 million, more than enough for anyone. And deported.

The Democrats are going to be in for a very rude awakening a year from next week when votes tell them, definitively, that "lesser evil" isn't going to cut it.