FRANKS: Democrats: History shows that it is not better to go it alone | National columns
Every time we have passed and become an important social law, we have involved both political parties in the process. The measures were passed with a substantial number of Democratic and Republican backers, regardless of party ideology or who occupied the Oval Office. It has served our country well.
Two-party politics, in essence, died with the Affordable Care Act when Democrats decided to go it alone. The jury may still be missing from the ACA even for 11 years, but an important part of the Build Back Better plan includes provisions to support it. There have also been at least two Supreme Court rulings on its legality and Congress has spent thousands of working hours trying to overturn it. Not exactly a smooth transition.
President Biden’s Build Back Better (BBB) social spending plan is much more robust, according to Biden, and unprecedented, according to President Nancy Pelosi. Yet, obviously having learned nothing from the passage of the affordable care law, Democrats insist on going it alone again, while literally holding the bipartisan infrastructure bill hostage.
The tax-and-spending approach won’t get Republicans into the tent and worries moderate Democrats who realize that socialism doesn’t work, despite the insistence of Senator Bernie Sanders. Not all of us are entitled to free stuff. It was a failure even when attempted by pilgrims and early settlers in the 17th century.
Here is a surefire way that a large portion of the BBB bill could pass with a significant number of Republican votes. This plan would help bring America together and help end the deadlock in Congress.
The merits of each new social program offered in BBB should be evaluated, tested and debated by Congress. The best test is to pay for the program by eliminating or reducing federal spending on one or more of the more than 80 social assistance programs already in place, at an annual cost of almost $ 1,000 billion. Not only could that give the Biden administration a legitimate way to show how it would be paid, but it wouldn’t result in more taxes being imposed on Americans. Republicans might embrace this. The left gets new social spending programs, and the right gets fiscal responsibility. The country ultimately wins. The losers would be Japan and China who have already allowed us to borrow more than $ 2 trillion and would be happy to lend us more.
It would be a real test, a real debate. Sell your new program accompanied by budget compensation.
Taxing the rich as the go-to option is incredibly old. I guess every populist democrat has promoted this theme. I beat a classic tax and spending liberal in 1990.
Connecticut can attest to the fact that new taxes, such as a state income tax newly imposed in 1991, can hurt. It radically changed the economy and the attractiveness of the state for many people. Connecticut’s population has resulted in the loss of a congressman and one of the slowest growing populations in the country. Some people vote with their feet. They go elsewhere.
Today, 61 percent of all tax revenue comes from the richest 5 percent of wage earners. The richest 1% provide 40% of all our tax revenue. Guess they’re the new BBB targets. Most of these people failed to make it to the top 1% by being stupid or failing to protect their best interests. What will they do? Leaving America is a bit extreme. It’s not like leaving a state. In theory, if only 5% of those people left the United States, the loss of tax revenue would cause a tax crisis, adding so much to our national debt that it would look like a hemorrhage. Again, I’m not predicting it, but the mere thought should be of concern.
The other target of the tax-and-spend BBB is corporations. This could add fuel to the fire, as corporations, taxed under this plan, to offset the higher tax burden, would likely raise the prices of their products and services, pushing inflation up. Businesses are driven by profit.
The consumer will lose out with BBB.
I implore Congress to review history. Check Social Security Law, Medicare, Medicaid, Civil Rights Laws, Voting Rights Law, etc. If we want to build better, let’s start there.
Gary Franks served three terms as the United States Representative for Connecticut’s 5th District. Copyright 2021 Gary Franks. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.