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December 20, 2019

Biden Wants Reversal of the Trump Effect

The “moderate” in the Democrat field wants twice the tax increases Clinton called for.

If you’re wondering why our economy has performed so well over the last two years, look no further than the Republicans’ Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. While many on the Left would argue that the Trump tax cuts had little or no effect — particularly since those who live in high-tax states saw a significant cut in their ability to fully deduct those taxes from their federal burden — those in the business community who actually create jobs were quick to put the additional capital to work. (And they still are.)

No good deed goes unpunished, though, and Democrats have predictably vowed to repeal at least some portion of Trump’s signature tax legislation. The far-left lean of the Democrat field might make Joe Biden’s tax hike regime seem somehow centrist, but his scheme threatens to undo most of the good that has driven the nation’s unemployment down to record lows. And, at $3.4 trillion, it’s actually well more than twice as punitive as Hillary Clinton’s 2016 tax-hike proposal was.

As it turns out, one portion of the Biden plan has already passed the House. Earlier this week lower chamber advanced a proposal to increase the aforementioned state and local tax (better known as SALT) deduction from $10,000 to $20,000 for the 2019 tax year and phase it out entirely for 2020 and 2021. More important, it also would increase the maximum tax rate from 37% back to its previous high of 39.6%, “to offset the cost of their proposed changes to the SALT deduction and to limit the bill’s benefits to high earners.” (Needless to say, this also assumes that your money really belongs to the government, and they’re just letting you keep some of it as an allowance.)

Other significant items on the Biden tax agenda include increases for both individuals and businesses. Wealthier taxpayers would also have to endure a deduction cap of 28%, have their (previously taxed) capital gains re-taxed at the same rate as ordinary income, among other provisions, while businesses would have to prepare for a corporate tax-rate increase from 21% to 28%, a 15% minimum tax on “book income” for large companies, and a doubled surcharge for foreign earnings.

Taken together, these increases may be enough to slow our economy to a speed Democrats seem to prefer, with sluggish GDP, stagnant earnings for businesses, and more deficit spending. Thus, if Joe Biden somehow wins the presidency, we’ll get a second helping of the abysmal Obama economy, courtesy of his former vice president. As The Wall Street Journal editorial board concludes, “The bottom line is big tax increases on people, capital and businesses. … The only way this looks enticing is by comparison to something even more punitive. Luckily for Joe Biden, there’s plenty of that floating around.”

Between now and next November, it’ll be important to ask your friends and acquaintances: Which party really wants you to succeed and prosper?

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