U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) today discussed the massive tax breaks for millionaires in the Democrats’ reckless tax-and-spending spree. Thune noted that middle-income, working families would be forced to fund the Democrats’ radical bill that would significantly expand the role of the federal government into their daily lives.
Thune’s remarks below (as prepared for delivery):
“Mr. President, Democrats continue to work on their reckless tax-and-spending spree … or perhaps I should say their reckless tax-and-spending disaster.
“Tax hikes, deficit spending, inflationary spending … it’s all there in Democrats’ spending package.
“Plus, of course, that tax break for wealthy Americans.
“Yes, you heard me right.
“A tax break for millionaires.
“I’m talking, of course, about Democrats’ expansion of the state and local tax deduction – known as the SALT deduction – which would overwhelmingly benefit affluent taxpayers in mainly Democrat-led states, and do almost nothing for middle- and lower-income families.
“Mr. President, for months and months Democrats have been going on about the need for the wealthy to pay their “fair share” of taxes.
“Which is why I find it the height of irony that Democrats’ current bill contains a substantial tax break for wealthy Americans.
“I’m not surprised that Democrats kept SALT out of the Ways and Means Committee markup.
“After constantly talking about making the wealthy pay their “fair share,” it’s a little awkward to publicly debate your tax break for the wealthy.
“Instead, Democrats stuffed the tax break into their reconciliation bill under the subtitle of – of all things – ‘Social Safety Net.’
“Social safety net.
“Who benefits from this particular ‘safety net,’ exactly?
“About 94 percent of the tax benefit would go to the top 20 percent of earners.
“About 70 percent would go to the top 5 percent of earners.
“And nearly one-third of the tax benefit would go to the top 1 percent of households.
“The average tax savings for middle-income households from raising the SALT cap would be $20.
“Meanwhile, millionaires would receive an average tax cut of about $14,900.
“I guess the priorities of wealthy Democrat donors in blue states trump Democrats’ plans to make wealthy Americans pay their ‘fair share.’
“Mr. President, not only does the bill contain a tax break for millionaires; this tax break is one of the most expensive parts of the bill.
“In fact, it’s the second-most expensive item in the House-passed bill over the next five years.
“According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, only Democrats’ child care and pre-K programs would exceed the cost of raising the SALT cap.
“Given their rhetoric, you would think that Democrats might have chosen to forgo this tax break for the wealthy and spend the money on one of their other programs that they fund for only part of their bill’s 10-year budget window.
“This tax break is apparently so important to Democrats that they are willing to shortchange some of their other priorities in order to include it.
“Mr. President, we’ve also heard a lot from Democrats about how corporations need to pay their fair share – which I guess is whatever Democrats determine it to be.
“And Democrats’ bill does include a corporate minimum tax.
“Except it turns out that it’s not really a corporate minimum tax since some corporations won’t have to pay the full tax.
“Democrats have carved out certain exceptions to the corporate minimum tax, including clean energy tax credits.
“So if you’re a corporation engaged in Democrat-approved activities, you’ll be able to avoid paying some or all of the corporate minimum tax.
“If you don’t qualify for Democrats’ approved carveouts, on the other hand, you can look forward to paying the full tax.
“Mr. President, Democrats’ hypocrisy might be amusing if this bill weren’t so dangerous.
“But unfortunately there’s not much to laugh about when it comes to this bill.
“Democrats’ ‘Build Back Better’ spending disaster will pour $1.75 trillion in government money into an already overheated economy, which will likely prolong the serious inflation we’re currently experiencing.
“Democrats helped create our current inflation situation by flooding the economy with a lot of unnecessary government money earlier this year.
“And now Democrats are going to pour another $1.75 trillion onto the inflationary fire.
“American families are already experiencing the worst inflation in more than 30 years.
“I don’t want to even think about what inflation will look like if Democrats succeed in passing another $1.75 trillion in government spending.
“Mr. President, I say $1.75 trillion.
“But of course Democrats only arrived at that number through a series of shell games and budget gimmicks.
“The real cost of Democrats’ bill is much, much higher.
“An honest accounting of the bill puts the number in the range of $4.5 to nearly $5 trillion.
“To put that number in perspective, the entire federal budget for fiscal year 2019 was $4.4 trillion.
“The entire federal budget.
“Mr. President, Democrats are proposing a major expansion of government.
“And they are deceiving the American people into thinking that it can be paid for with $1.75 trillion.
“That is simply not true.
“Democrats arrive at that number by putting some of their provisions – from tax measures to new programs – into place for as little as a year.
“But of course Democrats don’t have the slightest intention of having those tax measures or new programs expire after a year or two, or ever.
“Take their child allowance.
“Democrats’ legislation would have their child allowance sunset in one year.
“But of course Democrats fully intend for their child allowance to be permanent.
“But by only funding the child allowance and other measures for a fraction of their bill’s 10-year budget window, they can disguise the true cost of permanently implementing these measures – and how much these measures will end up costing the American people.
“And these programs will cost them.
“Democrats may talk about funding their legislation with taxes on corporations and the wealthy, but ordinary Americans are going to be paying for a major part of the bill.
“A substantial part of Democrats’ tax increases on businesses and investment will be passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices or reduced services.
“And those price hikes will come on top of the inflation we’re already experiencing – and the additional inflation we’re likely to experience as a result of this bill.
“Americans are also likely to pay for this legislation with decreased economic growth and fewer economic opportunities.
“And they may pay in further tax hikes when Democrats try to extend their programs and need to come up with money to at least partially pay for them.
“Mr. President, I am hard-pressed to think of anything more irresponsible than Democrats passing this legislation at this time.
“As I mentioned, inflation is currently at a 30-year high.
“American families are struggling with high gas prices, high grocery bills, high rent prices, the high price of used cars … the list goes on.
“And yet Democrats are planning to pass a bill that is likely to worsen our inflation situation and extend our current inflation crisis even further.
“Not to mention driving up our deficit and worsening our country’s fiscal health.
“Mr. President, we don’t know what government money will be needed down the road.
“We’re emerging from a pandemic that required a lot of unexpected government expenditure.
“And we don’t know what other challenges our country will end up facing in the future.
“Yet Democrats are planning to keep spending as if there’s no tomorrow, with absolutely no regard for our current inflation situation or for possible future needs.
“It’s deeply irresponsible, Mr. President.
“And if Democrats succeed in passing their spending spree, the American people will be paying a very steep price for decades to come.
“Mr. President, I yield the floor.”