Democrats love to boast that they will tax the rich to provide benefits to society at large. Is this really the case?
In this regard, Speaker Pelosi’s proposal to roll back SALT deserves a closer look.
SALT limits the federal deduction for state and local taxes (SALT) to $10,000.
Fox News has done a fascinating breakdown on who would benefit if Speaker Pelosi’s proposal to roll back SALT goes into yet another rescue bill—and it isn’t the middle class.
Here’s who would benefit from a rollback:
A 2019 report from the Joint Committee on Taxation projected that of those who would face lower tax liability from the elimination of the SALT cap – which only affects those who itemize tax deductions – 94 percent earn at least $100,000.
The government would lose out on $77.4 billion in tax dollars, with more than half of that amount being saved by taxpayers earning $1 million or more. Those earning more than $200,000 would reap most of the balance.
You’d think the tax-the-rich crowd would be bellowing approval for SALT, right? Well, no. It hits them.
Indeed, SALT has been particularly unpopular in Ms. Pelosi’s district, where, apparently, the rich believe it soaks them:
California’s 12th congressional district, which Pelosi represents, is among the wealthiest in the U.S., with a median income of $113,919, according to census data. The average household income is $168,456 — meaning most residents would benefit from any significant cut to SALT.
Rolling back SALT would be helpful to one particular family in Ms. Pelosi’s district:
Pelosi and her husband have a property tax liability of approximately $198,337.62 considering their two homes, a winery and two commercial properties, public records show, indicating that the couple could reap benefits on roughly $188,000 given a full SALT repeal.
Pelosi’s 2020 property taxes in Washington, D.C. totaled $13,997.20 given her Georgetown condo and garage, valued at $1,646,730. Her San Francisco property taxes totaled $51,480.02, plus $47,631.98 from her Napa winery, $64,874.66 from a San Francisco commercial property, and $20,353.76 for another building.
Pelosi not only wants to do away with SALT, she wants those who have been affected to be able to file income tax returns again and receive the funds they lost.
The recent rescue bill that Congress passed and President Trump signed included specific language to ensure that no Trump-owned properties will receive funds from the bill.
No word yet on whether Speaker Pelosi will insist upon similar provisions to prevent her family from benefiting from a SALT rollback.
The coming war over SALT underscores the difficulties if another rescue bill is undertaken. There are those who see the virus as putting fundamental change to the United States within their grasp.
For example, Speaker Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer were willing to delay our last rescue bill to attempt to put in place radical changes to the way we vote that would have benefited Democrats.
When the country re-opens, and I for one hope it will be sooner rather than later, we will see a battle over the structure of government and role of the private sector. Daniel Henninger explains this in a sobering column this morning:
. . . the Pelosi-Schumer delay of the rescue package over nongermane demands was about clearing a path to a larger ideological argument, and victory, once this crisis is over.
. . .
[N]o one doubts post-virus structural changes will happen everywhere, so too in the political system. Democrats and progressive writers will argue that if the virus-management model of Washington-directed “guidance” worked, that is the model we should use for other areas of national concern such as health care, education and, as Mrs. Pelosi is suggesting, underfunded union pension obligations.
. . .
A hard-to-miss reality is that without the remarkable adaptability of numerous private companies now producing Covid-19 therapies and equipment—if instead the U.S. system was Medicare for All—we would resemble gasping Spain or Italy. The left says: So what?
The administration is proposing to take equity stakes in air carriers, but some on the left are suggesting that the logical next step is simply to nationalize them.
A federally led policy is appropriate in a national crisis like this. But once it passes, the issue will be whether to revert to the freest private economy we had in a generation or whether deeper, explicit social direction and economic protections by the national government are justified. That implies a modified but persistent path toward democratic socialism.
Ironically, the path toward the nirvana of democratic socialism may be littered with policies that cater to the blue state rich, including their own special tax deduction.