Chris Van Hollen, a Democratic Congressman from Maryland, has proposed a bill that is exactly the sort of socialism that America needs in our current age of inequality. It has already been declared doomed!
Van Hollen's bill is very simple. It takes from the richer, and gives to the less rich. Its primary elements:
- It would give a $1,000 tax credit to "every taxpayer making less than six figures."
- It would "nearly triple the tax credit for child care," and give further tax credits to lower income people who are able to save money.
The windfall — about $1.2 trillion over a decade — would come directly from the pockets of Wall Street "high rollers" through a new fee on financial transactions, and from the top 1 percent of earners, who would lose billions of dollars in lucrative tax breaks.
This is exactly the sort of tax code reform that America should be pursuing to fight ongoing and growing economic inequality. It would incentivize companies to raise wages, rather than executive pay. Its financial transactions tax would disincentivize high frequency trading and the general rapid churn on Wall Street that has nothing to do socially responsible finance and everything to do with increasing Wall Street fees. And best of all, this amounts to just the sort of earnings-based reparations that could take a huge bite out of America's inequality once and for all, if we pursued it strenuously enough. (The cost of Van Hollen's bill over a decade is just about half of what we proposed for a one-time reparation.)
It is a bit disheartening that this proposal is being reported with the caveat that "Democrats have little hope of pushing the plan through Congress." Still, it's worth paying attention. This is what America needs. It's not radicalism. It's common sense.