She can still advocate for a top tax rate of 70 percent all she wants, along with the usual condescending “explainers” about marginal tax rates that come from young liberals who think they’re the only ones who know something.
But she won’t be able to do it as a member of the House committee that writes tax laws, because freshman generally don’t get such in-demand assignments, and for some stunning reason, Ocasio-Cortez is no exception.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez didn’t get a seat on the powerful tax writing committee where she sought to push her progressive agenda of Medicare for All, free college tuition and a green new deal.
Instead, the open downstate New York slot on the House Ways and Means Committee went to a moderate Democrat, Long Island Rep. Tom Suozzi, a former CPA, attorney and county executive.
Suozzi will assume the committee seat of Rep. Joe Crowley, the Queens Democrat Ocasio-Cortez defeated last year in a stunning upset.
Ocasio-Cortez sought a spot on the committee—which is usually off limits to freshman reps – with the backing of progressive groups that pushed for a slate of fresh-faced candidates to earn posh assignments.
I’m not really too inclined to defend the way the House does business. It bothers me that there is such a thing as a “posh assignment.” That suggests such positioning is more for the benefit of the lawmaker’s career than it is about serving the people.
But since this is the way it works – freshmen don’t get put on the Ways and Means Committee – Ocasio-Cortez’s left wing superfans should calm down a little bit about the fact that she was deemed no exception. She may be all the rage in the media, but House Democrats are interested in power for themselves, not for her.
Indeed, I wouldn’t be surprised if part of the calculation in denying her the assignment was the fact that she’s running around advocating things that probably won’t increase the appeal of the Democratic Party to the average voter over the course of the next two years.
Yes, a top marginal rate of 70 percent doesn’t mean you pay 70 percent of all your income. It means you pay 70 percent of everything you earn after a specific margin. That might make it a little less of a bad idea, but not much less. The proposition of liberals is that once you’re earning at very income levels, you “can afford” to pay 70 percent of everything beyond a certain amount to the government.
But whether people can afford it is not the point. The premise – that the best thing that can happen is for the government to get that capital – is incorrect. Taxing any portion of people’s income at a rate that high provides a disincentive for the productivity that has the potential to produce such wealth. People are willing to take risks with their capital in the hope that they can earn large rewards. When 70 percent of the reward is going to be taken away, there is a lot less reason to take the risk.
Most Democrats don’t understand any of this – that’s why they’re Democrats – but they do know they have only had so much success selling confiscatory tax rates to the public. There are people who are open to soak-the-rich appeals to envy, but when you make the proposed rates too high, even non-rich people can sniff out that it’s not in the best interests of the country.
Ocasio-Cortez on the Ways and Means Committee would have had a high-profile platform to advocate for these super-high tax rates, and the media would have gladly given her plenty of attention as she made her case. One can imagine high-ranking Democrat leaders face-palming as their new sensation/superstar proceeds to hang the anvil of “tax-and-spend” around the neck of a party that had largely gotten out from under that label – at least as a political liability, if not as an actual fact.
The Democrats are going to have a hard time getting any tax hikes passed into law in the next two years because Republicans control the Senate and the White House – unless, of course, Trump agrees to tax hikes as part of a deal to get other things he wants. (He wouldn’t! Would he?)
Ocasio-Cortez on the Ways and Means Committee this session would have been writing bill that have no hope of becoming law. In coming years, however, if Democrats win the White House and the Senate, that could change. Maybe once she’s put in more years, Democrat leaders in the House will give her those “posh assignments” she wants.
I’d like to think the voters in her New York district would consider having the good sense to bounce her from office after a term or two, but I don’t have that much faith in New York voters.
The Socialist Dream Girl will have to wait, but it’s not inconceivable that the assignment she wants will come to her eventually. We can only pray America can survive.