Opinion

OPINION: Democrats Trip Over Themselves To See Who Can Raise Taxes The Fastest

Tom Hebert Americans for Tax Reform

There are two certainties in life: death, and Democrats plotting to raise your taxes.

Since taking control of the House of Representatives, Democrats have unleashed a torrent of tax hike proposals that would damage our economy and eliminate all the benefits of the Republican-passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The 2020 Democrat presidential field is similarly feverish in its desire to raise your taxes.

Democrats regained control of the House on Jan. 2, and their first few days in charge were brutal. Their first priority? Change the rules to make it easier to raise taxes on the American people. Democrats abolished a Republican rule that required a supermajority vote in Congress to raise taxes. Now Democrats just need a simple majority to pass a tax hike.

On Jan. 3, Democrats voted against making middle class tax relief permanent. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act doubles the standard deduction from $6,000 to $12,000 for an individual and from $12,000 to $24,000 for joint filers. The GOP tax law also doubled the child tax credit from $1,000 to $2,000 per child. The proposal that Democrats rejected (from Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas) would have made these pro-family provisions a permanent part of the tax code.

On Jan. 4, avowed socialist Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) called for federal income tax rates of up to 70 percent as part of a proposal to create vast new government spending programs. The current top federal income tax rate is 37 percent, so the Ocasio-Cortez plan will nearly double the marginal tax rate for the top bracket. If AOC’s proposal became law, her constituents would pay a top rate of 82.7 percent.

On the same day, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) proposed “replacing” Obamacare’s individual mandate tax. But Republicans had already zeroed out the individual mandate tax as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The Pelosi action was an effort to reimpose an unnamed tax on the American people.

Before Trump and the GOP congress zeroed out the tax, 34 percent of the Obamacare mandate tax was paid by individuals making less than $25,000 a year, and 77 percent of the tax was paid by individuals making less than $50,000 a year.

On Jan. 7, House Budget Chairman John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) announced his intention to hike the U.S. corporate rate from 21 percent to 28 percent. The 21 percent corporate rate is the cornerstone of the GOP tax reform law, and raising the corporate rate would kill jobs and American competitiveness internationally.

Democrats just couldn’t help themselves. Every week, another tax hike idea.

In February, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) introduced yet another bill to raise  the corporate rate. Then in early March, Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Congressman Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) introduced legislation that would institute a financial transactions tax of 0.1 percent on the sale of any stocks, bonds, and derivatives.

Meanwhile, Democrats running for president in 2020 are falling all over themselves to see who can propose the most insane tax plan. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren has proposed a massive 2 percent wealth tax on Americans with assets above $50 million and a higher tax of 3 percent on those with more than $1 billion. According to Warren’s analysis, her wealth tax would confiscate $2.75 trillion from 75,000 families over a ten year period. This analysis is extremely ambitious and assumes that the wealthy do not leave the United States to escape her tax. If they try to do so, her bill wallops them with a 40 percent exit tax. Even the Washington Post editorial board said the tax “conveys a certain authoritarian odor.”

2020 Democrats also want to expand the power of the government to tax a dead individual’s estate. Independent Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced the “For the 99.8% Act,” a bill that would change the current death tax flat rate of 40 percent to a progressive system topping out at 77 percent. Warren also supports a progressive death tax, but her top rate would be 75 percent. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker supports a death tax rate of 65 percent.

By every economic metric, the Republican-passed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was a massive win for the American people. It is a shame that hyper-partisan Democrats are fighting tooth and nail to raise taxes and repeal the law that has unleashed the American economy and helped millions of families all across the country. If these first few months of a Democratic House of Representatives are any indication, the next two years will be bleak for the American taxpayer.

Tom Hebert is a tax associate at Americans for Tax Reform, a nonprofit group dedicated to advancing lower taxes and limited government.


The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.