Earlier this week, after months of negotiations, a bipartisan infrastructure bill passed in the Senate. This was followed quickly by a $3.5 trillion budget that sets the stage for Democrats to pass a reconciliation bill that would make one of the largest investments in American families in the last half century.
But while we’re in a moment of great opportunity, there are, as always, many people standing in the way of progress. We’re closer than ever to significantly raising taxes on millionaires, billionaires, and corporations, but there is a well-organized cadre of wealthy Americans fighting to exercise control over politicians and policy-making to ensure that critical changes never materialize.
They, and the lobbyists they hire, are dead set against the kinds of changes the vast bipartisan majority of Americans seek. Overcoming their objections (and their power and money) will require all of us to work together to build the kind of robust democracy and stable, prosperous country most of us want.
Our very own Chairman, Morris Pearl, was right when he said “A tiny number of people are using their money to increase their political power and using their political power to increase their wealth, and it is killing the country.”
This week we’re taking a look at how money equals power in American politics, and how we all end up worse off when politicians legislate on behalf of their donors instead of their constituents.
Secret IRS Files Reveal How Much the Ultrawealthy Gained by Shaping Trump’s “Big, Beautiful Tax Cut” by Justin Elliott and Robert Faturechi
Recently acquired records show how wealthy individuals spent millions of dollars lobbying on the 2017 Trump tax bill, and how that investment reaped them billions of dollars in tax savings. Thanks to concerted lobbying efforts by just a few individuals, the 2017 rewrite of the tax code ended up directing over 60% of the bill’s business benefits to just the top 1% of business owners, while the bottom 90% got just 6% of the bill’s benefits. These reports prove what we already knew, that the rich will use their money to get richer at all costs. They’ll do the same for the upcoming Democratic reconciliation bill, unless we stop them.
Business Groups Prepare Blitz Against Democratic Tax Hikes by Karl Evers-Hillstrom
In the wake of the bipartisan infrastructure bill’s passage, corporate interest groups are pouring money into DC in an attempt to avoid paying their fair share. Just 5 years ago the corporate tax rate was 35%, yet now thanks to lobbying efforts lawmakers can’t agree whether to raise taxes on massively profitable businesses by even a percentage of the cuts they received 5 years ago. This should be a no-brainer – profitable corporations can afford to pay more and they should be required to.
This week, both the $1 trillion infrastructure bill and a budget calling for $3.5 trillion in spending passed in the Senate, but there are many more hurdles left to jump before we can expect to see any action. The infrastructure bill itself has to pass in the House, and a budget reconciliation package, which includes many progressive priorities, must make its way through drafting in congressional committees before finally passing in the Senate with what is expected to be a razor-thin, partisan margin. In an attempt to protect the budget reconciliation from being chipped away at by epublicans and more moderate Democrats, Speaker Pelosi has said that she will hold off on bringing either to the floor for a vote until both are ready, tying their passage together.
The passage and implementation of the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill would be no small accomplishment- it would mark the largest expansion of the social safety net since the Great Society reforms of the 1960s. It would add funding on top of what’s considered “traditional infrastructure”- transportation and utilities – to include social support systems as well. Progressives are pushing for the bill to include provisions for child and elder care, Medicare expansion, and measures to lower the costs of healthcare and housing. Tied with increased taxes on millionaires, billionaires, and wealthy corporations, this bill would dramatically shrink the growth of inequality in our society.