Sound journalism, grounded in facts and Biblical truth | Donate

Taxes and more taxes

Democrats want the wealthy to fund historic spending levels

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (center) at the Met Gala on Monday in New York Getty Images/Photo by Ray Tamarra

Taxes and more taxes

At Monday night’s Met Gala, one of Manhattan’s swankiest red carpet events, U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., smiled for the cameras in a white gown with “Tax the Rich” written in slashing red letters down her back. This week, congressional Democrats released the details of tax changes they hope will do just that.

The changes would bankroll $3.5 trillion in government spending President Joe Biden has requested over the next 10 years. Democrats hope to approve the plan using the reconciliation process in Congress, which allows funding measures to avoid Senate filibusters and pass with a simple majority. The reconciliation package ground through committee markups this week amid debate over its policies on climate change, healthcare, and education measures.

The income tax rate for individuals making more than $400,000 a year would increase from 37 percent to 39.6 percent, and capital gains taxes would go up from 20 percent to 25 percent. Those making more than $5 million annually would pay an additional 3 percent income tax. The proposal also hikes real estate taxes, switches corporate tax rates from a flat 21 percent to a graduated rate that peaks at 26.5 percent, and calls for extra funding to help the Internal Revenue Service beef up tax enforcement on wealthy Americans. The changes still primarily target income, not stored wealth from owning valuable companies, a more controversial approach advocated by Democrats such as Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

All told, Democrats hope the changes will raise federal revenue by $2.9 trillion over the next 10 years. They predict another $600 billion from economic growth, adding up to the desired $3.5 trillion. But one memo noted in all-caps, underlined, and bolded type, “This number remains very preliminary.”

Progressives such as Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., consider $3.5 trillion the spending floor, but moderate Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., insists the reconciliation package should only cost between $1 trillion and $1.5 trillion. He’s also hesitant about subsidies for clean energy and a permanent expansion of the child tax credit, which would include payments for families with no income. With the Senate split 50-50 between parties, Democrats need 100 percent support from their members plus Vice President Kamala Harris’ tie-breaking vote to pass the reconciliation package. That gives Manchin and fellow moderate Democrat Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona power to negotiate changes.

Policies in the package remained in flux this week as Democrats clashed over healthcare, including government negotiations of prescription drug prices and expansion of Medicare to include vision, hearing, and dental benefits. The package will likely keep changing as it goes through the House Budget Committee and rule writing. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wants that process finished and a House vote by the end of September, a tall order with infrastructure, the debt ceiling, and government funding deadlines all arriving this month or next. Lawmakers headed home Wednesday for the two-day Yom Kippur break with a daunting to-do list unfinished in Washington.

Esther Eaton

Esther is an education reporter for WORLD. She is a World Journalism Institute and Liberty University graduate and enjoys bringing her parakeets on reporting trips.



Please wait while we load the latest comments...


Please register or subscribe to comment on this article.

My Two Cents

I wasted 15 minutes looking at photos of the Met Gala. I didn't know 90% of the celebrity names I read, and I thought it was nothing but a glorified Halloween party. Preposterous costumes, and absolutely nothing in the event is relatable to this average American. Whatever AOC's motivation for attending this in such a gaudy outfit, we will never know. Her message surely is applied to THEM and not to us. How much did her outfit cost? Is the dress made from recyclable materials? Likely not. Yet, sure, go ahead and tax businesses who have lost employees due to the pandemic, are mandated to enforce vaccinations on their employees, are strongly pressured to pay $15 minimum wages, and now are facing huge tax increases. If I were a business owner with employees, I can't think of a single reason to hire anyone. I'd probably shut my doors and go into retirement. Thanks, AOC, for blatantly demonstrating what is wrong with your political party. As if I had no other reason to despise any piece of legislation sponsored by a capital D.