Taxes

Pelosi's Tax Cuts for the Rich

As part of the next relief bill, the House speaker wants a favor for wealthy blue staters.

Nate Jackson · Apr. 1, 2020

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is, if nothing else, totally shameless. As the coronavirus threat was just beginning, she was busy impeaching President Donald Trump. When he enacted travel bans to prevent the spread, she ripped it as “outrageous” and “un-American.” When Republicans and Democrats in the Senate came together to draft a massive relief package for the U.S. economy, Pelosi tried to load it up with totally unrelated left-wing wish-list items and delayed a House vote for nearly a week. Now, she’s ready for relief Round 4, and one of her big ideas is … drumroll please … tax cuts for wealthy blue staters. Shameless.

When Republicans passed the 2017 tax cuts without a single Democrat vote, one of the things leftists carped about loudest was “tax cuts for the rich.” (Never mind that most cuts went to the middle class.) But, ironically, Democrats also objected to the $10,000 cap to the federal deduction for state and local taxes (SALT). This most heavily impacted high-income residents of high-tax blue states because they couldn’t deduct all those taxes on their federal returns. Republicans had grown tired of low-tax red states effectively subsidizing high-tax blue ones, like Pelosi’s California. Ever since, Democrats have been trying to repeal that cap, have courts strike it down, or implement accounting gimmicks at the state level to undermine it.

Now, Pelosi wants to not only end that cap but make repeal retroactive. “We could reverse that for 2018 and 2019 so that people could refile their taxes,” Pelosi argued. “They’d have more disposable income, which is the lifeblood of our economy, a consumer economy that we are.” Listen to her try to sound like a free marketeer.

In truth, what she’s calling for is a favor to the Democrat donor class at the expense of the vast majority of working Americans. “It’s almost the exact opposite of what Congress was trying to do with the phase three rebates,” says Joshua McCabe, a welfare policy expert and professor at Endicott College. “Rather than provide relief to the bottom 85 percent of Americans, this proposal would shower almost all the benefits on the top 15 percent of taxpayers — those who need it least.”

On a final note, one thing Pelosi and Trump will likely agree on in the next relief bill is massive spending on infrastructure. Both have pitched roughly $2 trillion in such spending. There’s no doubt the nation needs a big infusion of true infrastructure spending (as opposed to Barack Obama’s bogus “shovel-ready jobs”), but we also don’t exactly trust Pelosi to allocate that money for the best and most-needed projects. Now where would we get the idea that she’s not to be trusted?

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