Democrats are trying to impose on American taxpayers the largest tax increase since 1968. Their legislation raises taxes on small businesses and would leave the U.S. with a higher capital gains tax than communist China and a higher corporate tax than all of our economic competitors.
Their plan would be the biggest tax hike in 53 years, just as the country tries to recover from a once-in-a-century pandemic.
The Democrats have also loaded up the bill with many "woke" handouts they would prefer you didn’t notice. Below is a top ten list of the most perplexing items.
1. $3.5 billion for the Green New Deal youth patrol: A make-work program for jobless climate activists
At a time when small businesses cannot find willing workers, the Democrat bill shovels $3.5 billion of your money so DC bureaucrats can create something called the "Civilian Climate Corps" – a make-work program for young climate activists.
Instead of getting a real job, these Green New Deal hall monitors will be deployed across the country to engage in unspecified "green" actions. One stated aim is boosting enrollees’ "outdoor recreation."
Perhaps they’ll knock on your door with a clipboard and tell you to put on a sweater instead of heating your home adequately.
The climate brigade youths will receive taxpayer-funded lodging, transportation, and healthcare, possibly even uniforms.
The Democrats even want to make sure they are unionized. Perhaps not by coincidence these union dues would find their way into the coffers of Democrat congressional campaigns.
2. Fake news tax handout for reporters at "local" newspapers with up to 750 employees
The proposal creates a tax credit for "local newspapers" with up to 750 employees – a largely left-of-center group of workers.
It gives a payroll tax credit for journalists of up to $12,500 in wages per employee per quarter.
This reporter tax carve-out amounts to $1.3 billion. The vast majority of newspapers in the country have fewer than 750 employees, so this will shovel money to long-established daily newspapers as well as weekly left-wing "alternative" papers.
Imagine the outrage if Republicans tried to enact a special tax cut only for talk radio hosts.
3. Tax credit for $8,000 "Electric Bicycles"
The bill creates a 15 percent refundable tax credit for "electric bicycles." A credit of up to $1,500 for electric bicycles costing as much as $8,000 per bike.
As a reminder, a tax credit is a dollar-for-dollar reduction in your tax liability. The Joint Committee on Taxation estimates that this provision alone amounts to $7.4 billion.
If you are a "local reporter" and in the market for an "e-bike" this is your lucky day.
4. Solar Subsidies to "Promote Environmental Justice"
This provision gives solar tax credits to select areas to "promote environmental justice" wherein "the Secretary makes an allocation of environmental justice solar capacity limitation."
5. Tax breaks for elite, well-funded private universities
The bill would reduce, potentially down to zero, the excise tax on investment income of private colleges and universities depending on the amount of financial aid they offer their students. Notably, universities who can provide a lot of grants and scholarships are typically universities with the largest endowments, such as Harvard and Yale.
This adds up to another $2.3 billion.
6. Tax credit for "Environmental Justice" programs
A $1 billion refundable tax credit for university "environmental justice programs."
7. $10 billion "Green Workforce" tax credit
Democrats allocate $10 billion in a section titled "Investment in the Green Workforce. This contains several niche credits including $400 million for "green" projects in "automotive communities." Automotive communities are defined as communities that have "experienced major job losses in the automotive manufacturing sector" – likely from big-government policies.
8. $15 billion for "Green" doors and windows
The bill would replace a $500 lifetime cap on nonbusiness energy property credits with an annual $1,200 credit. This credit allows up to $600 in credits for "energy efficient" windows and skylights and up to $500 for doors.
9. Big Labor tax break
Union bosses could more easily raise membership costs as the cost will be partially hidden by a new above-the-line deduction for up to $250 in "dues" to a labor organization. These dues would again find their way right back to Democrat political campaign coffers in order to elect more Democrats who will grow the size of the DC bureaucracy. Rinse, repeat.
10. Tax credit for contributions to university "research infrastructure projects"
Democrats are creating a credit for contributions to public universities’ "research infrastructure projects."
Much of the Democrat tax plan (higher business taxes) would slow growth and make us uncompetitive with China and Europe. The items above are simply embarrassing examples of corporate welfare, cronyism and corrupt political payoffs creeping back into the U.S. tax code. Chicago-style politics playing with billions rather than millions.
Grover Norquist is president of Americans for Tax Reform.