White House unveils details of $1.8 trillion American Families Plan

The White House has spent the final days before going public with President Joe Biden’s American Families Plan making final tweaks. But with Biden making an address to a joint session of Congress Wednesday night, it’s time. The plan, designed to complement Biden’s American Jobs Plan, includes funding for priorities like national child care, prekindergarten, paid family leave, and tuition-free community college. It extends the child tax credit in the American Rescue Plan, which is expected to slash child poverty nearly in half, along with the child and dependent care tax credit and the earned income tax credit for childless workers.

In all, the plan adds four years of free education for every student—preschool for three- and four-year-olds, and community college—as well as investing in historically Black colleges and universities, tribal colleges or universities, and minority-serving institutions; adding Pell Grants; and “evidence-based strategies to strengthen completion and retention rates at community colleges and institutions that serve students from our most disadvantaged communities.” In addition to the added years of universal prekindergarten, the American Families Plan has $225 billion for child care for younger children, ensuring that no family would pay more than 7% of its income for child care and a $15 minimum wage for the desperately underpaid childcare workforce.

Biden’s plan also invests in teachers, including helping teachers obtain in-demand certifications, increasing scholarships for future teachers, teacher retention programs, and recruitment and retention of teachers of color. 

A paid family and medical leave provision “will provide workers up to $4,000 a month, with a minimum of two-thirds of average weekly wages replaced, rising to 80 percent for the lowest wage workers. We estimate this program will cost $225 billion over a decade,” the White House said in a fact sheet, noting that “Over 30 million workers, including 67 percent of low-wage workers, do not have access to a single paid sick day,” and that women and people of color are particularly affected.

The American Families Plan also extends the summer child nutrition expansion being put in place this summer through the American Rescue Plan, and expands school meal programs.

But while it will includes $200 billion for Affordable Care Act subsidies, the Biden administration is  reportedly planning a separate bill for other healthcare priorities. Congressional Democrats have pushed back, urging the White House to include health care in this package.

When Republicans ask how Biden plans to pay for the proposal, one of the answers will be raising taxes on rich people, including an increase on the capital gains tax for people who earn more than $1 million. There’s another plan for paying for it, though: collecting the taxes that are already owed but go unpaid. As much as $1 trillion in taxes isn’t collected every year, the head of the Internal Revenue Service recently estimated, as enforcement has lagged and the number of auditors on staff has dropped down to 1950s levels. (The U.S. population has close to doubled since the 1950s.)

The Biden administration is looking to increase the IRS budget by $80 billion over 10 years—and collect as much as an additional $700 billion in taxes over the same time period as a result. That’s not a tax increase. It’s just enforcement of the existing laws, and it would target wealthy people who are currently getting away with significant tax evasion. A recent National Bureau of Economic Research paper estimated that the top 1% of earners are underreporting more than one-fifth of their income, while audit rates for the group dropped from 8% to 2.5% between 2011 and 2017, and down to 1.6% in 2019. Meanwhile, audits for people earning under $25,000 dropped much less, from 1.2% in 2011 to 0.7% in 2017. 

It goes without saying that even if we assume the rich and the poor underreport their income at the same rates, there’s a lot more revenue to be gained from auditing the rich, whose underreporting is also much more likely to be a product of intentional strategies and high-powered accounting than of simple mistakes. That, however, makes it more complicated to audit rich people, and requires investments in staff and auditing capacity.

Biden’s address to a joint session of Congress on Wednesday night will have limited attendance due to COVID-19 health guidelines. Additionally, the House is on recess and many Republicans are expected not to bother making the trip to Washington, D.C., for the event.

White House Considering Taxing You For Every Mile You Drive

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said on Friday that, among the avenues on the table being considered to help pay for a massive infrastructure proposal, is the possibility of vehicle mileage tax.

Since the passage of the $1.9 trillion COVID relief bill, there has been talk of a multi-trillion spending plan for infrastructure

Buttigieg said, “When you think about infrastructure, it’s a classic example of the kind of investment that has a return on that investment. That’s one of many reasons why we think this is so important. This is a jobs vision as much as it is an infrastructure vision, a climate vision and more.”

One of the ways to pay for it could be to tax drivers for every mile they drive. 

“A so-called vehicle-miles-traveled tax or mileage tax, whatever you want to call it, could be a way to do it,” Buttigieg said.

“I’m hearing a lot of appetite to make sure that there are sustainable funding streams.” 

Biden will travel to Pittsburgh next week to lay out what is expected to be a $3 to $4 trillion proposal. He stated during his first press conference on Thursday that infrastructure, “both physical and technological,” would be his next major initiative

RELATED: Congressional Democrats Have No Business Dictating State Tax Policy

Biden’s Infrastructure Plan

Biden’s infrastructure plan could include, according to Business Insider:

  • Clean energy deployment and the development of 5G
  • Rural broadband
  • One million “affordable and energy-efficient” housing units
  • $1 trillion in spending on roads, bridges, electric vehicles, rail lines, and improvements to the grid.

RELATED: When It Comes To Election ‘Reforms,’ The Left Are The Ones Busting Norms

Build America Bonds?

Another possible funding source Buttigieg and the President might be looking at is an Obama-era idea called Build America Bonds.

Per CNBC, these are a special class of municipal bonds where the interest costs are subsidized by the U.S. Treasury. 

The federal government used these in the 2008 bailout era, and phased them out in 2010.

Buttigieg also mentioned the idea of a national infrastructure bank.

RELATED: Mitt Romney Is Awarded JFK ‘Profile In Courage Award’ For Impeachment Vote

Mileage Tax Pros And Cons

When it comes to pros and cons, there are a few of each.

For some, this type of use-tax is more fair. After all, those who use a resource most should pay more for it, right?

A mileage tax would also bring electric vehicle drivers into the mix, since those vehicles do not pay into the highway trust fund.

On the con side, many Americans don’t want the government to track a driver’s whereabouts and movements

There’s also questions of fairness. Should people be punished if they live further away from their work? 

And even for those on the right who prefer use-taxes (as opposed to general levies, which are paid even if an individual doesn’t partake in the associated services), the question may be one of federalism. 

One could prefer a state-based use tax – after all, then the funds go to the roads in their state. But is there any guarantee the federal government will use the revenue fairly, or will some areas receive more benefits and others are left high and dry?

Another maybe not so readily seen consequence, COVID-19 has proven to a lot of employers that their employees can work from home. At a time when Americans are getting vaccinated and feel safe to leave their homes to physically go to a job, school, etc., a mileage tax might have many people rethinking work-from-home as an alternative to paying to drive.

This can also be a pro argument for environmental advocates. Generally, if you want less of something, you tax it. If you tax travel, you will get less of it. That means less vehicle exhaust. 

In his comments to the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, Buttigieg said, “There is near-universal recognition that a broader recovery will require a national commitment to fix and transform America’s infrastructure.” 

What do you think?

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President Trump’s Farewell Speech: ‘We Will Be Back’

President Donald Trump told a group of supporters at a ceremony at Joint Base Andrews Wednesday morning that, “We will be back in some form.”

The President and First Lady Melania Trump left the White House for the final time for Florida and Mar-a-Lago.

“We left it all on the field. What we’ve done has been amazing by any standard,” Trump said. The First lady also spoke.

In a goodwill gesture, Donald Trump said this morning of the incoming administration, “I wish the new administration great luck and great success. I think they’ll have great success.”

Trump also said he had left a note for Joe Biden in the White House.

Trump’s Record Features Many Successes

Always one to tout his accomplishments, mainly because no one else but conservative media would, Trump talked about things such as a new branch of the military, the Space Force, tax cuts, and a pre-pandemic booming economy.

And the Trump administration did do amazing things. The Space Force takes over some duties from the Air Force, a lot of which will have to do with satellite technology, GPS, and intelligence gathering. 

The Trump tax cuts were some of the most consequential in decades, and allowed American workers to take home more of what they earned. This helped to create the booming economy. On November 24, 2020, the Dow Jones Industrial Average reached an all-time high of 30,045.84 points. 

Unemployment for nearly every demographic also reached all time lows. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, African-Americans enjoyed the lowest unemployment rates since the 70’s. 

The Era Of Biden/Harris

But as Donald Trump makes his way to Florida to begin his life as a former president, Joe Biden and Kamala Harris prepare to take office.

For most conservatives, this is a sad day. One that we did not think we would see, at least for another four years.  

Already, Biden has promised to reverse much of the success America has enjoyed for the last four years.

This morning, President Trump speculated as to whether or not Joe Biden will raise taxes. “I hope they don’t raise your taxes, but if they do I told you so.” Trump said. 

Guess what, Joe Biden already said he would raise your taxes. When someone tells you what they are going to do, believe them.

Biden is expected to unleash 17 executive orders aimed at reversing Trump policies – particularly on immigration.

Do They Really Think Trump Is Going Away?

Donald Trump will spend the next few days or weeks doing what most ex-presidents do, relax and play golf. He has more than earned that.

Most conservatives will no doubt say that they have never seen such hatred and vitriol directed at one man and one family. It was downright pathological.   

But the things that the leftist media says about Trump are quite different from what those who know him say.

Over and over one hears about Donald Trump’s energy and his work ethic. Most that have worked with him say they have never seen a man his age with so much stamina. At 74, he puts in a longer day than a lot of people half his age. 

The one question that anyone who follows politics is, does anyone think that this is the end of the political road for Donald Trump?

Does the left really think that he is just going to live out his days, peacefully and quietly at Mar-a-Lago, surrounded by grandchildren? 

A good guess might be… not a chance. 

There has been plenty of speculation about the next political moves for Donald Trump. One theory is that he might start his own media empire.

In a report from Axios in November, Trump talked about starting his own media company as competition for Fox News, who called Arizona early on election night for Joe Biden, and may have swung the election to the Democrats. 

Third Party Chatter

During that last days of his administration, Trump has been at odds with members of the Republican Party, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has been rumored to support impeachment.  

There seems to be increasing speculation that Trump may want to start a third party. There is no doubt that 74 million people feel that rampant voter fraud took place in 2020, and that their votes were thrown out. 

There is also increasing anger at the Republican Party, who most of those 74 million feel have abandoned them to play go-along-to-get-along with a Democrat Party who will control the federal government. The phrase “uniparty” is being tossed about a lot. 

Could the ‘Patriot Party’ gain traction in a country where third parties have not done well?

With 74 million people who the Democrats call racists and white supremacists every chance they get, and a Republican Party whose current leaders want to go back to the pre-Trump days of the McCain-Romney-McConnell “lose with honor” strategy, the Patriot Party with Donald Trump at the helm just might have a fighting chance. 

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As he left for Florida, Donald Trump said, “We love the American people,” and that being president had been “the honor of a lifetime.”

He ended his remarks by saying, “I just want to say you are amazing people. This is a great country. It has been my greatest honor and privilege to be your president. I will always fight for you.”

It might be that a good chunk of the American people are not done fighting for Donald Trump, either.

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Trump didn’t just break the GOP, he broke conservatism

Remember when you could all describe, in one succinct sentence, what the Republican Party was all about? “Family values, lower taxes, and a strong national defense.” Democrats spent decades trying to come up with their own pithy slogan and failed. We are just too diverse a coalition to condense into a single sentence. And turns out, we don’t need to, because the head of the conservative movement, Donald Trump, has exposed just how empty that statement of values always was. 

It was quite the feat, actually, to take the one man with inarguably the worst record on “family values,” and then rally around him with zero sense of irony or shame. Trump had multiples and then cheated on them with pornstars while ignoring his children. He didn’t (and doesn’t) go to church, give to charity, or show any semblance of humility. In fact, the did the opposite of charity—he used a charity to grift. 

In fact, has any one man ever embodied the seven deadly sins more perfectly than Trump? Pride, greed, wrath, envy, lust, gluttony, and sloth. He is a wretched human being, morally bankrupt and ethically corrupt. And through it all, evangelical Christians have stuck with him, proving that they never ever cared about any actual morality. 

On national defense, Republicans have acknowledged that Trump is a puppet of Russian strongman Vladimir Putin. The current House Minority leader Kevin McCarthy, a solid Trump ally, who was recorded saying back in 2017, “There’s …there’s two people, I think, Putin pays: [California Rep. Dana] Rohrabacher and Trump … [laughter] … swear to God.” Then-Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, another Republican, thought that was funny, ““This is an off-the-record … [laughter] … NO LEAKS … [laughter] … alright?!”

Hilarious. 

We went through a whole impeachment process in which Trump’s attempts to enlist foreign governments to help his reelection campaign were fully exposed, and Republicans did nothing but shrug. 

But nothing tops revelations that Russia paid Taliban fighters in Afghanistan a bounty for every dead American they killed, and Trump couldn’t be bothered to give a damn. Instead, Putin’s loyal lapdog keeps checking in with Moscow every month, to discuss who knows what. You’d think Republicans would care about America’s top historical geopolitical opponent encouraging the murder of our troops, but nah. 

They did get to the “lower taxes” bit, however. Nothing like destroying our nation’s finances in order to justify the cutting of our social nets to really get Republicans excited. … Then again, “bailing out billionaires” isn’t particularly the most populist and popular policy plank on which to hang all your electoral hopes. 

So we know that all of this has utterly crushed the GOP, and we’re headed toward another anti-Republican wave election this fall. But now we’re seeing evidence that this goes deeper than simple anti-GOP sentiment. By exposing its flimsy pretenses, Trump is breaking conservatism itself. Check out Gallup’s polling on self-identified ideology over the course of this year:  

American’s ideology Jan/Frb mar/Apr May/Jun Conservative Moderate Liberal
40 37 34
34 36 36
22 23 26

That’s a stunning collapse in such a short period of time, while the long-demonized term “liberal” is making a strong comeback. (Many Democrats prefer the safer-sounding “moderate,” as you can see if you follow the link above. Black, young, Latino Americans all prefer “moderate” to “liberal,” when we know they are politically liberal.)

More Gallup:

The decline in self-identified conservatism in 2020 has been seen about evenly among men and women, and among all political party groups.

However, it was more pronounced among adults in upper-income households as well as among middle-aged adults (aged 35 to 54) than their counterparts.

The conservative falloff has also been stronger among White and Hispanic Americans than Black Americans. Relatively few Black Americans (25%) identified as conservative in January/February, and thus there may have been less opportunity for the rate to decline.

Among those who earn more than $100,000, the number of self-identified conservatives dropped 11 points, from 40% to 29%. And since we’ve tracked suburban voters so closely for the last several cycles, they are also leaving the conservative fold, from 36% to 28%. In fact, and this is crazy—there are fewer conservatives now in the suburbs than in cities (33%)!

Still, don’t count out rural areas, getting hit harder and harder by COVID-19. They’ve gone from 50% conservative to 43%. That’s why states like Alaska, Iowa, Montana, and Ohio are suddenly back in play at both the presidential and Senate levels. 

Republicans exist only insofar as conservatives exist, as they and Trump fight to make their tent even smaller and unwelcome to anyone who isn’t ideologically pure. Seeing at close range the kind of rampant hypocrisy, corruption, mismanagement, and incompetence inherent in conservatism, Americans are ditching the label and, with it, their votes for Republicans. 

And they still have a lot further to fall.