U.S. Senator Kamala Harris (D-California) is promoting a basic income scheme for the middle class disguised as a “tax credit.” Importantly, many observers consider Harris the front runner in the Democratic presidential race.
Harris and several other Congressional Democrats want to replace Republican tax cuts with a $6,000 a year tax credit for low and middle-income households, CNBC claims. The tax credit is basic income because it guarantees money to all families that meet specific criteria.
Notably, Harris wants to give families the option of taking the tax credit as a $500 a month payment. That looks like the basic income scheme Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) cofounder Chris Hughes is promoting. In detail, Hughes wants to pay every married person who makes less than $50,000 a year $500 a month.
Kamala Harris’s Basic Income Proposal
Harris’s “LIFT the Middle Class Act” will fund basic income by redirecting last year’s Republican tax cut, Vox reports. However, there are some serious restrictions to the scheme.
For instance, people will not receive money if they do not report income from a job or file income taxes. In addition, it differentiates between singles and married people. Singles will apparently receive $250 a month and married couples $500 a month.
A notable flaw in Harris’s proposal is that there is no money for children. Thus, it does little to address the scourge of child poverty.
Under those circumstances, the American Family Act proposed by U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colorado) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) is a better deal. In detail, the American Family Act will pay a household $3,000 to $3,500 a year per child, Vox reports.
Some Democrats want to go even further. “You know what you could actually do with this money,” Representative Ro Khanna (D-California) speculated. “You could give anyone making under $75,000 a raise.”
Why Democrats are backing Tax Credits as Basic Income
Harris’s strategy here is very shrewd. To explain, she understands that Americans will oppose basic income as welfare or “something for nothing.”
A tax credit; on the other hand, threatens nobody’s identity as a “self-reliant” member of the middle class. Instead, the credit money will seamlessly transfer money to the middle-class without entangling recipients in needless bureaucracy.
Another advantage to tax credits is that they operate outside the social services bureaucracy. Therefore, money can be transferred quickly and efficiently. Moreover, no social worker will have power over middle-class families’ lives.
It is obvious that Harris or her advisors understand American history. President Franklin D. Roosevelt (D-New York) sold the existing US basic income scheme; Social Security, to the public as an old-age pension.
How Kamala Harris’s Basic Income will Shift Political Power in America
Social Security is the key issue that motivates senior citizens who make up most of America’s electorate. Harris is trying to create a constituency of middle class Americans with a vested interest in maintaining and expanding the welfare state.
In particular, Harris is trying to buy the votes of middle class soccer moms – who will decide the 2020 presidential election. If Harris’s proposal is successful it will dramatically change the American electorate and shift the balance of political power to the left.
Democrats’ main problem in recent elections is that their voters; younger non-white people, are not as motivated to turnout as older white, Social Security recipients. Harris is trying to change that by expanding the welfare state to cover the middle class. The hope is those people will vote to protect their basic income like seniors vote to protect Social Security and Medicare.
Simply put, Harris is trying to buy the middle class for the Democracy. To clarify, the Democracy is an old nickname for the Democratic Party.
Kamala Harris Supports Basic Income
Bettors at the online probability market PredictIt believe Harris will be the Democratic nominee in 2020. To clarify, bettors were most likely to put up money for Harris.
Harris beat out several better known figures including U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), former Vice President Joe Biden (D-Delaware) and U.S. Senator Liz Warren (D-Massachusetts). However, Harris is still unknown to average Americans and the media usually ignores her.
Therefore, she faces a battle for public recognition. On the other hand; Bill Clinton (D-Arkansas), George W. Bush (R-Texas), and Barrack Obama (D-Illinois), were all unknown to the public before their presidential ascents. Notably, each of those men won election to the presidency twice.
Why Kamala Harris Supports Basic Income
An obvious reason Harris is embracing basic income is to head off fringe candidates like Andrew Yang (D-New York). For instance, Yang is promoting a $1,000 a month basic income for all as the basis of his campaign.
Harris’s embrace proves basic income is now mainstream. It raises the obvious question will the probable Republican contender; President Donald J. Trump (R-New York), support basic income?
My suspicion is that Trump will embrace basic income – if he thinks it will help him re-election. Something to remember is that Trump’s political role model; U.S. President Richard Nixon (R-California), was a strong supporter of basic income.
Trump has a powerful incentive to back basic income because his most formidable potential opponent in the Republican primaries; U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida), supports it. To explain, Rubio advocates no-strings attached tax credits for every American child. Trump will have to address the basic income issue if he faces both Harris and Rubio in 2020.
Harris’s performance in the 2020 Presidential race could determine the fate of basic income in America. If Harris succeeds, basic income will become a central tenet of future Democratic and Republican campaigns.
Why Democrats like Basic Income and Republicans oppose it
Democrats will embrace basic income, because in modern America; Democrats are about money, and Republicans are about power.
To explain, Democrats try to make or control as much money as possible. They will embrace basic income, because that will give them more control over the economy and money.
This is why so many Goldman Sachs bankers, Hollywood stars, and Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are Democrats. They know where the money is.
Republicans’ major goal is political power, they can win or lose which without money. That is why so many lawyers are Republicans, they understand which party values raw power above all else. To clarify the Republican position is “money can buy you power but power will always get you money.”
Republicans will Oppose Basic Income as Long as Possible
Therefore, the Republicans will oppose basic income as long as possible because it will diminish their power. In particular, the taxes needed to support basic income will reduce the wealth and power of the GOP’s upper middle class power base.
To explain, the Republicans real source of finance and power base is not billionaires like the Koch Brothers. Instead, it is the upper middle class, the self-made businessperson or executive; who will write checks to the Grand Old Party (GOP) and ask no favours in return? Those self-proclaimed rugged individualists will be basic income’s greatest opponents because it threatens their world view.
If Kamala Harris is successful, basic income will become a major political issue in America. Republicans; and many Democrats, will hate basic income but they will have to deal with it.