Kamala Harris' Trillion-Dollar Tax Plan

Kamala Harris' Trillion-Dollar Tax Plan


Republicans aren’t the only ones coming up with trillion-dollar tax plans. 

California’s Kamala Harris, a rising Democratic star in the Senate, released a proposal Thursday to repeal the $1.9 trillion Republican tax overhaul passed late last year and replace it with refundable tax credits aimed at lower- and middle-income workers.

Joining a growing roster of Democrats promoting tax proposals as they eye a run for the presidency in 2020, Harris said her plan is focused on helping the millions of American workers who received little from the Republican tax cuts. “Last year, Congress gave a trillion dollars in tax breaks to corporations,” Harris told The Atlantic. “That money should have gone to American taxpayers who need it instead of handing it over to corporations and the top 1 percent.”

Here’s what the LIFT (Livable Incomes for Families Today) the Middle Class Act would do:

  • Create a new tax credit of up to $3,000 for individuals earning up to $50,000 per year, or $6,000 for households earning up to $100,000 per year.
  • The credit would be refundable, creating an income subsidy that applies even to workers who owe little income tax.
  • Give workers a choice of how they receive their tax credit payments, either in a lump sum or in monthly installments of up to $500 per month.

Harris hasn’t said how much the plan is expected to cost, although the scale is expected to be in the neighborhood of the Republican tax package. The plan would be funded in part by a repeal of the GOP tax cuts for those making more than $100,000 a year and a new tax on big bans, Politico reports.

However it’s paid for, the plan would direct about $200 billion a year to largely working class and poor households, according to The Atlantic. Harris estimates that as many as 80 million Americans would benefit, and an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that the plan would lift about 9 million Americans out of poverty.

This chart from the Tax Policy Center shows how the tax credits would work across income levels:

Here’s what people are saying about the plan, with comments breaking along predictable ideological lines:

* “Harris is offering a kind of fun-house-mirror inversion of the sweeping Republican tax initiative, one that would, instead of slashing rates on high-income households and corporations, push huge credits out to middle-income and poor families.” – Annie Lowrey, The Atlantic

* “This remarkable bill recognizes the increasing economic challenges faced by ordinary Americans and uses the tax code to more fairly spread our nation’s prosperity to the families that need it most.  It marks a break from a tax code that spends one-third of $500+ billion dollars allocated for asset promotion through tax savings and subsidy on those earning over $1 million a year, while bottom 60 percent of earners receive less than five percent of this allocation. And certainly a break from the Republican passed Tax Cuts and (so-called) Jobs Act, which will spend close to $2 trillion dollars over the decade largely on corporate interests based on some fickle notion that it will “trickle down” to the rest of us.” – Darrick Hamilton, Professor of Economics and Urban Policy, New School

* “Democrats want to repeal Trump's tax cuts and replace them with payouts for the poor” – CNBC headline

* “The tax cuts launched our booming economy into the stratosphere and anybody advocating for repeal will have to explain why they want to reverse the jobs and wage growth our country has seen since the law passed.” – Republican strategist John Ashbrook

* “SOCIALISM IN CALIFORNIA: Democrat Senator @KamalaHarris has a new plan to give away YOUR tax money: up to $6,000 for everyone, whether you work or not. With unemployment at its lowest level in decades why do the @TheDemocrats want people on welfare?” – California Assemblyman Travis Allen