Senator Kyrsten Sinema has repeatedly thrown cold water on Democrats’ plans to raise taxes on the wealthy.
Now that Sinema officially becomes independent, the Democrats still probably won’t be able to get anything through.
That’s because Sinema’s decision comes as tax-averse Republicans take over the House.
Taxes on the rich just saw a major opponent walk away.
As popular as tax hikes for the wealthy are with Americans — and they are very popular — Democrats have tried and floundered to pass them in the first two years of the Biden administration. That’s because an obstacle stood in their way: Kyrsten Sinema, a centrist senator from Arizona. Now Sinema has cemented her contrarian status, giving up her Democratic affiliation to go independent.
Removing her from the party could have opened the door to more sweeping tax reforms as part of reconciliation with the party line. However, the House – which must pass any legislation that would include hikes – will soon be controlled by Republicans. They will probably take over Sinema’s anti-tax mantle.
“It doesn’t change much in terms of the fiscal policy outlook. Republicans have already achieved their bottleneck with control of the House,” said Chuck Collins, director of the Inequality and Common Good Program at the left party. Institute for Policy Studies, told Insider.
Democrats have repeatedly proposed a range of different tax measures to offset spending, from raising taxes on the biggest corporations and wealthiest Americans to closing a loophole that benefits private equity investors- investment. And President Joe Biden has long been a supporter of raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans and big corporations, saying it’s time for them to pay their fair share.
“I’m not trying to punish anyone. But damn it maybe it’s because I’m from a middle-class neighborhood, I’m sick of regular people getting ripped off,” Biden said in comments. remarks on his proposed U.S. jobs plan in April 2021.
Raphael Warnock’s reelection in Georgia’s runoff also gave Democrats an opening to work around Sinema. His win meant before Sinema’s announcement, Democrats would have a 51-49 majority, meaning the chance to pass a reconciliation package without one of the party’s two centrists opposing it. .
Taxes were a key area where Sinema and fellow centrist Sen. Joe Manchin differed, with Manchin previously asking him to reconsider on some hikes.
“When it came to taxes, Manchin was much more supportive of increasing corporate and wealthy incomes, and Sinema was particularly reluctant to raise corporate tax rates,” executive director Frank Clemente told Insider. leftist Americans for Tax Fairness.
Republicans are very anti-tax and already oppose a 15% minimum tax on large multinationals like Amazon and Facebook. Any legislation passed to them that includes anything close to a minimum income tax for billionaires is unlikely to work.
“We believe people like us should pay as we make money and get richer,” Morris Pearl, president of ultra-wealthy tax advocacy group Patriotic Millionaires and former chief executive, told Insider. of BlackRock. He added of Sinema, “If she’s not okay with it, I’d be interested to know why she’s not okay with it and why she thinks people like me should pay lower tax rates than she and her staff do. But I haven’t heard that explanation yet.”
The result of resistance to any substantive tax reform is that many of former President Donald Trump’s tax policies remain intact, even as Democrats technically occupy the presidency and both houses of Congress for two years.
The interesting question now, Clemente said, is what Republicans choose to do with this.
“Will they try to renew Trump’s tax cuts in the next Congress or not? Will they?” said Clement. “That’s the most interesting dynamic.”
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