Whatever happens to Trumpcare, tax “reform” seems to be next on the Trump and Ryan/McConnell agenda. Are the Democrats doing anything to prepare for the upcoming national debate?
First and foremost: We CANNOT let this continue to be labeled “reform”. Newt Gingrich carried out a political revolution based on language. The Republicans succeeded in getting everyone, including Obama himself, to turn the Affordable Care Act into Obamacare. We know that they want a Massive Tax Subsidy For the Already Rich…and By the Way, Severe Cuts in Public Services. Surely, our Democratic wordsmiths can come up with a suitable name or acronym. And then get the pundits and public to constantly use our terminology.
We CAN have an alternative vision. The easiest element is elimination of outrageous tax subsidies to very special interests. The oil industry—which has had historical profits in recent years. Other elements of the fossil fuel industry—which has damaged our move to an alternative energy and climate friendly policy. Pharmaceutical companies—which have greatly increased medical costs. Insurance companies, the sugar industry, and on and on and on.
Of course, there are other elements we have supported in the past. A truly progressive system. Surtaxes on the !%. Earned income tax credits. But we should have a new, innovative, and attention-grabbing set of ideas—ideas which might change the very conception of the Democratic Party.
In my recent book, Trumping Trump: Making Democrats Progressive Again, I argue for making the “Tobin Tax” the central idea for the Democratic alternative. Put forward by a late, Nobel Laureate in economics, it argues for a rather miniscule tax (1% or less) on financial transactions not based on a real asset, like a mortgage. There is an incredibly massive (trillions of dollars per DAY) casino economy involving currency bets, commodity prices, derivatives and other arcane financial schemes which helped cause the financial disaster of 2008. Depending on the tax rate, we can supplant the total income tax (and possibly a part of sales and property taxes). Democrats can become the Party of NO taxes!
Clearly, much legislative and political work needs to be done on such proposals. So let’s get to work—and have a Democratic ALTERNATIVE. Let’s SEE you, Democrats!