Democrats getting to work on their campaign battle plan: Unabashed populism
posted at 2:01 pm on November 10, 2013 by Erika Johnsen
I think we can all guess where this is heading.
I mentioned this week that the Democrats are definitively drawing up plans for their latest iteration of the (intellectually cheap, politically undemanding, and counterproductively harmful) push for a minimum-wage increase; no doubt ObamaCare’s many troubles really lit a fire under the strategy, as they’ll need something to talk about on the campaign trail that isn’t health-care related. In his State of the Union address at the start of the year, O brought up the idea of jacking up the minimum wage to $9/hour, but the Democrats are hankering for an (arbitrarily larger) increase to $10.10/hour, and it looks like the White House is getting ready to declare President Obama’s support for their specifics. Via the NYT:
The White House has thrown its weight behind a proposal to raise the federal minimum wage to at least $10 an hour.
“The president has long supported raising the minimum wage so hard-working Americans can have a decent wage for a day’s work to support their families and make ends meet,” a White House official said.
President Obama, the official continued, supports the Harkin-Miller bill, also known as the Fair Minimum Wage Act, which would raise the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, from its current $7.25.
The legislation is sponsored in the Senate by Tom Harkin of Iowa and in the House by George Miller of California, both Democrats. It would raise the minimum wage — in three steps of 95 cents each, taking place over two years — to $10.10, and then index it to inflation. The legislation will probably be coupled with some tax sweeteners for small businesses, traditionally the loudest opponents of increases to the minimum wage.
And in that same vein, you knew the budget conference that started post-shutdown wasn’t going to go smoothly, because Democrats were always going to demand still more revenue, a.k.a. taxes (rather than the slimmed-budget and lower taxes that could actually help to grow the economy and get us out of this godforsaken mess) as part of their negotiating stance, and it sounds like “tax breaks for corporate jet owners” is going to come back with a vengeance. From the National Journal:
Democratic members of the conference committee trying to work out a budget agreement have drafted a memo listing “egregious tax loopholes” that they plan to raise publicly as early as next week if Republicans continue to balk at considering some new tax revenue to help soften sequester cuts.
The items contained on the list range from such well-tread suggestions as ending special deductions for corporate jet owners, to stopping subsidies for yachts or vacation homes, to “closing a loophole that lets hedge fund managers pay lower tax rates on their income than teachers and firefighters.” The injection of such populism is sure to exacerbate the partisan tensions in the budget talks.
The memo, a copy of which was obtained Friday by National Journal, is already causing a stir on K Street. Most of that reflects worry that it represents a Democratic “hit list” that might be an early glimpse of some of what will be contained in a Senate version of a tax-code overhaul plan—rewrite work now being done in both chambers.
Yes, by all means, let’s simplify our convoluted tax code and get rid of all of these niche loopholes — but not as an unsubtle method to merely raise taxes, remove more money from the private sector, and beat the drums of class-warfare with wildly partisan ideas about “fairness” that don’t actually do anything significant to raise revenue or address our massive deficit problems.
Here we go again. …Not that we ever actually stopped.