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Lowry: Why Democrats won’t be able to pay for ambitions

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Lowry: Why Democrats won’t be able to pay for ambitions

Benjamin Franklin was right about death and taxes, but new taxes only become inevitable when a Democrat is elected president.

The House Ways and Means Committee released an outline of tax proposals to offset President Biden’s jaw-dropping spending plans, and it’s the expected assortment of tax increases on business and the affluent that Democrats like to pretend can fund a social welfare state of the sort that Bernie Sanders has long pined and advocated for.

The individual tax rate would increase from 37% to 39.6%, the capital gains rate from 20% to 25%, and the corporate tax rate from 21% to 26.5 %, among sundry other provisions befitting the hideously complex U.S. tax regime.

It’s a sign of the scope of Biden plans that the committee version represents a step back from his tax proposals, yet still clocks in at an enormous $2.2 trillion in estimated new revenue over ten years.

The corporate taxes are particularly noxious. Democrats love the politics of taxing corporations, based on the lazy and wrongheaded idea that the corporate tax is the way to stick it to executives and shareholders. To the contrary, if businesses are taxed at a higher rate, they have less resources available for the capital investments that improve worker productivity over time. This ultimately means lower wages for workers.

According to the Tax Foundation, a top corporate rate of 28% would once again give the U.S. the highest rate in the OECD at 32.3% once state level corporate taxes are factored in as well.

What’s the sense in instantly making the business environment in the United States less favorable and giving a competitive advantage to foreign countries?

While the Way and Means draft rejects Biden proposals such as taking the capital gains rate all the way up to 39%(!), it does everything it can to try to hold anyone making less than $400,000 harmless. As The Washington Post puts it, “The efforts are designed to avoid even the appearance of affecting middle- and lower-income households.”

This is where the Democrats are willing to talk the talk about a cradle-to-grave welfare state, but not walk the walk. There can be no European-style welfare state, at least not sustainably so, without European-style taxes.
The dirty secret about the Scandinavian countries that the left constantly holds up as a model is that they aren’t afraid to tax the middle class. These alleged models of social justice tax more than we do and tax much more broadly, realizing that taxing the rich and corporations isn’t enough to fund extensive and generous social programs.

The Tax Foundation calculates that if the U.S. had a tax system comparable to Denmark, we would be taxing all income over $70,000 at 55.9%, Denmark’s top rate.

The Ways and Means tax hikes would, sure enough, create Denmark-like rates. But the rates wouldn’t reach down into the middle class. In fact, Democrats from high tax states are determined to raise the cap on federal tax deductions for state and local taxes to reduce the tax bite on their relatively affluent constituents.

Maybe don’t increase taxes in the first place?

Indeed, rather than trying to spend historic amounts of money while their slender majorities last, it’d be better for the country if Democrats sought to fund their priorities by reallocating dollars within the already vast federal budget. But standing the aforementioned Benjamin Franklin on his head, they believe that a trillion saved is a trillion wasted.


Rich Lowry is editor of the National Review.

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Deshaun Watson to the Broncos? One oddsmaker gives Denver a solid chance.

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Deshaun Watson to the Broncos? One oddsmaker gives Denver a solid chance.

Could the Broncos be getting a new quarterback again?

With a week left before the Nov. 2 NFL trade deadline, one oddsmaker gives Denver a solid chance at landing embattled Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson.

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Apple once threatened Facebook ban over Mideast maid abuse

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Apple once threatened Facebook ban over Mideast maid abuse

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Two years ago, Apple threatened to pull Facebook and Instagram from its app store over concerns about the platform being used as a tool to trade and sell maids in the Mideast.

After publicly promising to crack down, Facebook acknowledged in internal documents obtained by The Associated Press that it was “under-enforcing on confirmed abusive activity” that saw Filipina maids complaining on the social media site of being abused. Apple relented and Facebook and Instagram remained in the app store.

But Facebook’s crackdown seems to have had a limited effect. Even today, a quick search for “khadima,” or “maids” in Arabic, will bring up accounts featuring posed photographs of Africans and South Asians with ages and prices listed next to their images. That’s even as the Philippines government has a team of workers that do nothing but scour Facebook posts each day to try and protect desperate job seekers from criminal gangs and unscrupulous recruiters using the site.

While the Mideast remains a crucial source of work for women in Asia and Africa hoping to provide for their families back home, Facebook acknowledged some countries across the region have “especially egregious” human rights issues when it comes to laborers’ protection.

“In our investigation, domestic workers frequently complained to their recruitment agencies of being locked in their homes, starved, forced to extend their contracts indefinitely, unpaid, and repeatedly sold to other employers without their consent,” one Facebook document read. “In response, agencies commonly told them to be more agreeable.”

The report added: “We also found recruitment agencies dismissing more serious crimes, such as physical or sexual assault, rather than helping domestic workers.”

In a statement to the AP, Facebook said it took the problem seriously, despite the continued spread of ads exploiting foreign workers in the Mideast.

“We prohibit human exploitation in no uncertain terms,” Facebook said. “We’ve been combating human trafficking on our platform for many years and our goal remains to prevent anyone who seeks to exploit others from having a home on our platform.”

This story, along with others published Monday, is based on disclosures made to the Securities and Exchange Commission and provided to Congress in redacted form by former Facebook employee-turned-whistleblower Frances Haugen’s legal counsel. The redacted versions were obtained by a consortium of news organizations, including the AP.

Taken as a whole, the trove of documents show that Facebook’s daunting size and user base around the world — a key factor in its rapid ascent and near trillion-dollar valuation — also proves to be its greatest weakness in trying to police illicit activity, such as the sale of drugs, and suspected human rights and labor abuses on its site.

Activists say Facebook, based in Menlo Park, California, has both an obligation and likely the means to fully crack down on the abuses their services facilitate as it earns tens of billions of dollars a year in revenue.

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HelloFresh, EveryPlate and more now part of extended onion recall

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You may need to toss your onions as salmonella outbreak has been linked to the vegetable

If you haven’t already thrown out your onions, you should check your vegetables again.

The Food and Drug Administration has extended the onion recall, caused by a salmonella outbreak, to several more brands. The salmonella outbreak was first reported last week and initially only included fresh whole red, white or yellow onions imported from Chihuahua, Mexico and distributed by ProSource.

The recall now includes onions from HelloFresh, EveryPlate, Potandon Produce LLC and Keeler Family Farms.

HelloFresh said in a statement on Saturday they recommended disposing of onions received during the specified time period

“HelloFresh has been informed by one of its ingredient suppliers that it is conducting a voluntary recall of its onions due to the potential presence of salmonella bacteria,” the company said. “Please discard all onions received from July 7, 2021, through Sept. 8, 2021.”

The CDC is still working to determine if other onions and suppliers are linked to the outbreak.

Officials said recently both individuals and businesses should check onions and if it is unknown where they are from, throw them away. It is also recommended to wash and sanitize any surfaces that may have come in contact with these onions.

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