Democrats just put Trump & Republicans in checkmate with brilliant new proposal

With President Trump’s infrastructure proposal stalled even in a Republican-majority Congress, the Democrats today put forward their own plan to rebuild crumbling roads, bridges, water systems, and mass transit while adding funds to expand high-speed internet to rural areas and rebuild the nation’s outdated power grid. 

It is called “A better plan to rebuild America.”

While Trump’s plan called for the federal government to spend $200 million and left it to states, local government and private investors to fund the other $1.3 trillion, the Democrats want to roll back the tax breaks given to the wealthy and big corporations in the tax bill Republicans passed in November to fund their $1 trillion plan. 

“We believe overwhelmingly the American people will prefer building infrastructure and creating close to 15 million middle-class jobs than giving tax breaks for the wealthy,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.).

Schumer knows there is no chance the current Republican majority will pass the Democratic plan but wants it on the record going into the midterm elections as an alternative which takes the traditional path of having the government fund the program.

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It sets up a choice for voters that Republican will have a hard time discrediting – 15 million jobs and better schools paid for by the rich on one hand, or tax cuts for the wealthy on the other.

While leaving the middle-class tax cuts in the Republican plan in place the Democrats would reinstate the top income tax rate to 39.6 percent for the highest earners from the 37 percent in the Republican tax bill.

The Democrats would still cut corporate taxes, but not as much. Under their plan, big companies would pay 25 percent instead of 21 percent. Under the old law, the rate was 35 percent.

Democrats would also restore the estate tax for couples with over $11 million in assets, and would also revive the alternative minimum tax.

The Democrats would also eliminate the carried interest-loophole which allows big hedge fund executives to escape paying their fair share of taxes.

Trump has promised to eliminate that during the campaign but under heavy pressure from hedge fund lobbyists, the Republicans left the huge loophole for the super rich in place. 

The move to have the government fund the much-needed infrastructure work, and spend money to expand high-speed internet to rural areas, and rebuild the nations power grid, would follow the pattern that built the interstate highway systems, which means it would be free for people to use forever.

Democrats have warned under Trump’s proposal to have private investors fund much of the infrastructure there would be new “Trump tolls” on highways, bridges and more. 

“We have a much better plan,” Schumer said.

Republicans who are against any new taxes, ever, for any reason, will be outraged, but the Democrats are counting on most Americans to understand that their plan would still cut taxes from what they were, but also allow these necessary improvements to get done sooner and to benefit all Americans, not just the rich and powerful.

Republicans like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) put down the Democratic plan and said Americans who are getting more wages and bonus checks from employers will not want to go backward, but he assumes people are blind.

The bonus checks are a one-time thing, and the wage gains are tiny for most people compared to the huge benefit the Koch brothers and other billionaires are enjoying. 

Another benefit of the Democratic infrastructure plan is that it will force everyone to discuss the Republican tax cut legislation which was based on false assumptions that the American economy would grow rapidly and continue to stay at a high level of three percent plus growth a year pretty much forever.

The economic analysis now coming in as reality replaces optimism shows that a lot of the Trumpian assumptions were fake news, and the big savings for corporations are not creating a lot of new jobs but rather are mostly going to stock buybacks and to pay investors higher dividends.

The tax cuts were the only real big legislative victory Trump had in his first year and if the Democrats can get the public to understand how phony it was, and what a giveaway it was to the rich, that will be a powerful tool to counter Republicans in November.

Benjamin Locke

Benjamin Locke is a retired college professor with an undergraduate degree in Industrial Labor and Relations from Cornell University and an MBA from the European School of Management.