How about this for a headline: Democrats likely to throw billions in tax hikes overboard as spending plans shrink? An alternative might be "Two Corrupt Conservative Democrats Deliver For Their Special Interest Campaign Donors." Writing for Politico early this morning, Brian Faler reported that "Democrats will likely drop hundreds of billions of dollars in proposed tax increases on the rich as they scramble to shrink the size of their reconciliation package." Faler opined that this is "good news" for the corrupt conservatives that Politico caters to and "potentially terrible news for progressives hoping to stick it to the rich." 70% of Americans would like to see the rich pay their fair share of taxes, so Faler is twisting that a bit, Politico style.
Even if the bribe-happy conservatives like Manchin and Sinema in the Senate and Gottheimer (Blue Dog-NJ), Correa (Blue Dog-CA), Schrader (Blue Dog-OR) and Peters (New Dem-CA) in the House would never say it out loud, the argument over the Build Back Better Act has always been about keeping taxes incredibly low for the very rich, the bottom line for Congress' most corrupt members on both sides of the aisle.
It’s the flip side to Democrats’ decision to scale back their spending plans. Much of the focus in Washington has been on how they will slim down their package, by either dropping lower-priority initiatives or funding more programs for shorter periods of time, in hopes Congress will re-up them later.
But a smaller price tag will also mean big changes on the tax side as well because Democrats are unlikely to raise taxes by more than they need to defray the cost of their plans.
Lawmakers are still fighting over the overall size of their package, with President Joe Biden suggesting they will land somewhere in the neighborhood of $2 trillion, down from the $3.5 trillion many liberals had hoped to spend. On Wednesday, though, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), the influential centrist, reiterated he won't go beyond $1.5 trillion.
Raising $1.5 trillion or so in taxes, to cover that spending, should not be a heavy lift for most Democrats-- especially given the overlap between a recent proposal by Manchin and a tax plan approved last month by the House Ways and Means Committee.
Manchin wants to raise the corporate rate to 25 percent, which would generate around $400 billion (Ways and Means wants a 26.5 percent rate, which would produce about $540 billion). [A reasonable rate would be around 35%.]
Both Manchin and Ways and Means would hike the top capital gains rate to 25 percent, producing another $125 billion. Restoring the top marginal income tax rate to 39.6 percent, where it was before Republicans’ 2017 tax cuts, would produce around $170 billion.
...[P]rogressives see those sorts of tax hikes not merely as a way to defray the cost of Democrats’ reconciliation plans but as good policy by themselves.
“It’s not solely about paying for spending,” said [former Bernie Sanders tax advisor Steve] Wamhoff [now at the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy]. “There’s also issues of tax fairness, and those are issues Democrats ran on.”
I spoke to an old college friend today. She told me that she is in the process of getting Portuguese citizenship based on a relative from centuries ago who lived i Portugal. Another friend and his two sons are using their families holocaust experience to get German citizenship. A few days ago a former comrade in arms, civil rights attorney Guy Saperstein, sees a kind of hopelessness in the progressive crusade in America and explained why he's giving up and moving to France, now "convinced that America is in terminal decline and that the battle for justice and equity is hopeless."
"How can it be," he asked his readers, "that so many millions voted for a man who failed in everything he ever tried-- a man who started more than a score of businesses and every one failed, who cheated repeatedly on three wives before each marriage failed, who is despised by even members of his own family, who went out of his way nearly every day to show that he is a racist and a sexist, a man who has been caught, according to the Washington Post, in more than 30,000 lies in just the four years he was president, who cheated at nearly everything, including golf, how is it that such a man is held up as a paragon of virtue by nearly half of the electorate? Something has gone seriously off the rails."
He wrote that he "can no longer bear the chest-thumping triumphalism of the No-Nothing Party. I can’t stand the self-congratulatory promotion of the hoary notion of American exceptionalism. People who think America is the greatest in all things are people who simply have never been anywhere else. America is not now-- and has never been-- a representative democracy and won’t be in my lifetime and probably not in yours, either. Biden won by 7.3 million votes-- a smashing win, right?-- but if just 43,000 votes in a few states had switched, Donald Trump would still be president today. In California, Governor Gavin Newsom could have received 49% of the vote in the recall election and have lost and some Republican hack could have received 18% and won. And because each state has two senators, 18% of the electorate elects 51% of senators. Explain that to Cleisthenes."
We now have an active right-wing attack on voting itself, much of it racially motivated, but imperiling us all. And then, alas, we have the filibuster, which has almost made America ungovernable.
I want out. I’m tired of waking up to some crackpot ranting that COVID is a hoax, or vaccines don’t work, or masks are an assault on freedom, or that the 2020 election was stolen and Joe Biden is not really President, or that January 6 was just a peaceful gathering of fun-loving people.
While Trump has been diminished, we are surrounded by his supporters-- Americans who voted for one of the most despicable men who ever strut upon the American stage, most of his supporters continue to believe-- with no evidence-- that he won. Most prefer superstition to science, many would apparently rather die than wear a mask or take a vaccine, and tens of millions believe cockamamie conspiracies. These people are not going away.
This woebegone predicament is likely to get worse. Moreover, our priorities as a nation seem perilously upside down. We spend more than twice the amount for healthcare as any developed nation and get the crappiest healthcare system in the world because the medical Establishment-- mainly the drug companies-- has Washington in its pocket. And that includes Biden.
We have among the worst economic disparities in the world-- which are getting worse-- a hollowed-out middle class, money overwhelming politics, and even the Democrats unable to do anything about any of this.
...If I were a young man, I might stay, but after fifty-plus years of social struggle, I think I have a right to take a rest, enjoy my success and have some fun with my family. America’s downward slide is terminal, and I do not have the energy or influence to have a major impact.
I’m moving to France, which has a vibrant middle-class, a real labor movement and twenty times less violent crime than America.
I say: Goodbye America; you won’t be missed.