- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 5, 2019

While the political jockeying gets more attention, candidates in the 2020 Democratic presidential race are advancing serious policy proposals. The Washington Times takes a weekly look at some of them that may have flown under the radar.

 

Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden on Wednesday proposed a series of new taxes, including a minimum tax on corporations that might have evaded paying federal income taxes, as he fills in more details on how he plans to pay for trillions of dollars in spending on new programs he proposes over the next 10 years.

Mr. Biden’s plan involves a minimum tax of 15% on “book income” for companies with at least $100 million in annual revenue in an attempt to wring some money out of companies such as Amazon that have reported paying little or no federal income tax.

That provision would bring in an estimated $400 billion over a decade.



Mr. Biden also wants to increase the corporate income tax from 21% to 28%. Before the 2017 GOP tax law, the corporate rate had been 35%, the highest among highly developed countries.

He also would tax capital gains as ordinary income, a move projected to generate about $800 billion in federal tax revenue.

Mr. Biden wants to increase the top individual tax rate to 39.6%, up from the 37% set by the GOP tax cuts.

But he has rejected calls from his liberal opponents, such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, to impose a special wealth tax or surcharge on the super-rich.

Warren on part-time workers

Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts on Tuesday released a plan intended to bolster workplace protections to an estimated 27 million part-time workers in America.

Under Ms. Warren’s plan, companies with at least 15 employees would have to give two weeks advance notice of work schedules and consider “in good faith” workers’ scheduling requests on timing and location of their shifts.

The companies also would be required to guarantee workers 11 hours between shifts.

“[A]s I travel the country talking to workers at town halls and in selfie lines, I hear that too many face another giant challenge in supporting their families: unpredictable work schedules that leave them with too few hours to afford necessities and no control over their time,” she said on her campaign website.

Under the plan, employees who have been with a company for at least one year would have access to federal leave benefits regardless of whether they work part time or full time.

Employees who work at least 500 hours for two straight years would have access to employee retirement plans.

Booker on hair discrimination

Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey on Thursday introduced a bill that would ban discrimination based on hair textures and hairstyles “commonly associated with a particular race or national origin.”

The legislation builds on existing federal protections to clarify that discrimination based on hairstyles associated with “people of African descent,” including cornrows, twists and Afros, is a banned form of “racial or national origin discrimination.”

“Discrimination against black hair is discrimination against black people,” Mr. Booker said. “Implicit and explicit biases against natural hair are deeply ingrained in workplace norms and society at large. This is a violation of our civil rights, and it happens every day for black people across the country.”

California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed similar legislation into law this year.

Mr. Booker pointed to actress Gabrielle Union and her recent departure from the TV show “America’s Got Talent,” with one news story citing reports that producers had called Ms. Union’s hairstyles “too black.”

With the departure of Sen. Kamala Harris from the race this week, Mr. Booker is the lone remaining black candidate among the major 2020 Democratic presidential contenders.

Klobuchar on national service

Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota on Tuesday released a plan intended to bolster opportunities for public service in federal programs such as AmeriCorps.

Ms. Klobuchar wants to recruit an additional 50,000 people for a “Climate Civilian Conservation Corps” run through AmericaCorps that would be dedicated to addressing the effects from climate change.

She also wants to increase the number of AmeriCorps positions from 75,000 to 250,000 and target opportunities toward high school and community college students, as well as students with vocational or technical certification.

She would allow AmeriCorps members to serve longer terms and establish a part-time national service program in which Americans would get emergency response and disaster relief training.

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