Who says Americans are divided? We hear it all the time from the media and politicians, but on some major issues, polling has consistently shown that vast majorities of Americans of both parties are actually in agreement. President Biden’s proposal to raise taxes on the very wealthy and corporate America is one such example, with supermajorities of Americans in poll after poll, including a majority of Republicans, saying they believe that the wealthy need to pay more to support the country that has made it possible for them to succeed. The only question is why the politicians aren’t listening to us.
We recognize that average working folks right here in the North Country feel that Washington doesn’t care. For too long, politicians from both parties have catered to corporate America and the super-rich, who have tremendous influence over the decisions made in our nation’s capital. Too many politicians just spew talking points meant to stir up division in hopes of keeping us distracted as they work to further feather the already well-feathered nests of America’s super-rich. Cable news talking heads just keep the spin going, generating anger and frustration in their viewers without actually informing them.
That’s how our politicians have gotten away with years of slashing taxes on corporate America and wealthy individuals, even though most of us recognize the inequity and the actual economic harm those reckless tax cuts have caused. These policies have concentrated more wealth in the hands of a few, at the expense of average Americans.
Each time, of course, the politicians tell us that the tax cuts are meant to help the typical American family, by which they actually mean that those of us in the middle see a few more dollars added to our paychecks while the super-wealthy collect windfalls larger than the annual income of that same typical American family. It’s all a con, hatched in Washington, and most of us recognize it. No wonder so many of us are disillusioned.
Biden’s tax plan is different, and remarkably so. It would represent the first tax plan in half a century that would substantially boost taxes on corporate America and wealthy individuals, while at the same time providing unprecedented assistance to families, which would lift many families with children out of poverty and help to bolster the finances of the entire middle class.
These benefits aren’t welfare. They come in the form of tax credits for working people. Yet, paying them in advance in some cases, rather than once a year, makes it much easier for working families to make ends meet month-to-month.
Specifically, Biden’s tax plan does the following:
Raises the corporate tax rate from 21 percent to 28 percent.
Raises the global minimum tax from 10.5 percent to 21 percent.
Raises the top bracket of the individual income tax from 37 percent to 39.6 percent, but only for those making more than $400,000 annually.
Raises the capital gains tax for those making $1 million or more per year.
Prevents U.S. corporations from claiming tax havens as their country of residence to avoid paying taxes on their profits.
It would also close a number of loopholes that corporations, in particular, exploit to avoid paying taxes. Among the loopholes that Biden’s plan would eliminate is the one that provides an incentive to ship U.S. manufacturing jobs overseas. At the same time, the plan includes some tax incentives for businesses that create jobs here in America.
Combined, these changes to the tax code are estimated to raise more than $2 trillion over the next ten years, which will provide the funding basis for the tax credits and other related spending that Biden has proposed.
Among the tax credits benefitting families is a child tax credit of up to $8,000, which could be payable in advance. The enhanced child tax credit, enacted as part of Biden’s COVID recovery plan passed in March, has provided monthly payments to families with children, including thousands of families here in the North Country, since the summer, and is scheduled to sunset at the end of the year unless it’s reauthorized as part of Biden’s tax and economic proposals. Yet, families would also see larger tax credits to help them afford health insurance, childcare, and long-term care for seniors.
We already know that putting money in the hands of middle and working class families is not only the right thing to do on moral grounds, it’s the right thing to do for an economy that is driven by demand for goods and services. Biden’s proposal would represent a remarkable about-face in Washington, from a capital that caters to the wealthy, to one that actually lives up to its rhetoric and provides real help to American families.