When Democrats reveal their true-blue colors, they actually favor ruddy hues. That’s the takeaway from a vote by party members who populate the U.S. Senate. When presented with a chance to preserve high taxes on the wealthy Americans they represent, they chose the opposite. It just goes to show that so-called “progressives” are no more anxious than conservatives to satisfy the tax collector.
Democratic duplicity caught the limelight last week when Sen. Charles Grassley, Iowa Republican, offered a controversial tax amendment to the majority’s $3.5 trillion budget proposal. His measure was meant to defend a federal tax rule that the rich love to hate: the State and Local Tax (SALT) deduction cap implemented by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. The cap imposes a $10,000 limit on the state and local levies that can be deducted from federal taxes, which is why blue states with sky-high taxes pray incessantly for its repeal.
“My Democratic colleagues claim the wealthy are not paying their fair share, while at the same time would like to give millionaires six-figure tax cuts,” Mr. Grassley said. “If Democrats are really concerned about the wealthiest Americans paying higher taxes, then they should have no problem supporting my amendment.”
Instead, Democrats had no problem killing the Grassley amendment on a party-line vote, preserving the option of repealing the tax cap later. Were they to do so, tax savings for the rich would add up to around $400 billion over five years, according to Americans for Tax Reform, blowing a rather large hole in a bloated federal budget. That’s why deficit-conscious Republicans like Mr. Grassley have attempted to keep the cap in place.
If unlimited SALT deductions were to become law, Democrats would need to explain why the blue-collar party would approve a measure the Brookings Institution says would bequeath 96 percent of its benefits to the top quintile of earners. It’s a messaging mismatch that not even socialist-millionaire Sen. Bernie Sanders could countenance: “You can’t be on the side of the wealthy and the powerful,” he said, “if you’re going to really fight for working families.”
In fact, working families have been the primary beneficiaries of the tax cuts championed by the billionaire president, Donald Trump. In New York and New Jersey — two of the bluest states – taxpayers with an adjusted gross income between $50,000 and $99,000 enjoyed an average federal tax cut of 10 percent in 2018, according to the Internal Revenue Service.
Citizens across the political spectrum bristle when forced to shovel ever-larger portions of their hard-earned money into the gaping government maw. That’s why it’s disturbing to watch Democrats labor the live-long day to raise taxes and spend recklessly, then turn on a dime to defend their wealthy constituents from the consequences of those very same practices.
Tired of the tax duplicity, blue-state Americans are running toward the red.