The age-old question for voters in an election is, “Are you better off than you were last time?” With her newest tax-hike plan, likely 2020 presidential contender Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., appears to be banking on a “no.”
As reported by The Atlantic, the “LIFT the Middle Class Act” seeks to invert the structure of Republicans’ tax cuts with higher rates on corporations and high wage-earners and tax credit payouts to lower- and middle-income families.
“Last year, Congress gave a trillion dollars in tax breaks to corporations,” Harris told the publication. “That money should have gone to American taxpayers who need it instead of handing it over to corporations and the top 1 percent.”
First off, the driving reason behind the proposal is Orwellian. To assume that lowering taxes on a group is a giveaway willfully ignores the fact that the people and businesses being taxed created and therefore own the wealth in the first place. By contrast, the people that Harris wants to give the money to do not own it, which would logically make her plan a handout (read: welfare payment).
But, as grossly nonsensical as that assumption is, some folks still buy it and it never seems to stop driving a large part of the conversation whenever taxes are in the news.
But the biggest question about this is whether it’ll actually sell. This proposal and others like it from Harris’ fellow Democrats are little more than the age-old debate of generating wealth through economic growth or merely redistributing wealth through government coercion. The main problem for Harris is that the former is currently working.
The combination of tax cuts and record federeal deregulation has led to record jobs levels in which the number of open positions has outpaced those on the unemployment rolls. Companies have used the freed-up capital to grow their business models, make voluntary investments in their own workforces, increase wages, and yes, give out all those tax-cut bonuses we heard so much about in the wake of the tax cuts that Nancy Pelosi compared to the end of the world.
Sure, Democrats will argue that growth has been disproportional between people in different income brackets — as the Atlantic writer notes in the piece — but as a percentage of income, the people who made more to start with are going to see larger increases. That’s just simple math.
Trying to replace the kind of wealth earned through a dignified, meaningful day’s work with that handed out by the government might make a lot of sense in an Ivy League faculty lounge, but it’s hard to see the countless people whose lives have been improved actually choosing that plan.