Has there ever been a more hollow political promise than Joe Biden’s vow not to raise taxes on anybody making less than $400,000 a year?
During his State of the Union address Tuesday, the president reiterated this vow while proposing a new tax on the very wealthy to ensure they pay their “fair share.” Never mind that the top 1 percent of all wage earners account for more than 42 percent of all federal income tax collections.
This is a cut-and-paste off Page 1 of “The Dummy’s Guide to Democratic Talking Points,” yet it is remarkable that progressives get away with leaving their amorphous definition of “fair share” simply floating in the air. Would it be fair if Washington took 50 percent of all your earnings? Seventy-five percent? What would be “fair”?
Regardless, the point the president desperately hopes to make is that he’s targeting only the bank accounts of fat cats — the other guys — and Joe Sixpack has no reason to cling to his wallet. Oh, if only that were the case.
While Mr. Biden hasn’t yet signed any legislation that directly increases taxes on average Americans, his economic policies have had a similar effect. Under this administration, inflation soared to 40-year highs, evoking memories of the Carter White House. While rising prices — which act as a punitive tax on the middle class and poor — have slowed somewhat in recent months, the inflation rate remains triple what Mr. Biden inherited and continues to punish consumers.
In September, NerdWallet estimated that the average U.S. household “would have to spend an extra $11,500 this year in order to maintain the same standard of living as previous years.”
To fight inflation, the Federal Reserve has imposed a series of interest rate hikes. This has made money much more expensive, further burdening buyers unable to pay cash for homes and other large-ticket items — none of which helps those making less than $400,000. Rising credit card interest rates, for instance, will sap resources from Americans carrying large amounts of consumer debt, many of whom will struggle to make even minimum payments.
“It is a bleak irony that those hit hardest by inflation — lower and moderate-income Americans — may also be harmed most by the Fed’s actions to bring prices down,” Charisse Jones of USA Today noted in October.
Mr. Biden may have technically fulfilled his tax pledge so far — although White House efforts to raise corporate taxes would result in higher costs for all wage earners. But that’s small solace to Americans who have seen their standard of living eroded thanks to this president’s frequent fiscal fumbles.