When House Democrats introduced what they call the Heroes Act this month, they described it as "a bold and comprehensive coronavirus response bill that will meet the challenge this pandemic poses to our nation."
Among its provisions: restoring the full deductibility of state and local taxes, which the Republican tax legislation of 2017 had limited. The issue doesn’t have much to do with the coronavirus.
There’s only a loose relationship between the states hardest hit by it and the states whose residents have faced the most tax increases because of the deductibility limit.
Liberal think tanks have criticized the idea of raising the cap, noting that 56% of its benefits would flow to the top 1% of households, and 80% would go to the top 5%.
Repealing the cap is nonetheless a party priority. After House Democrats impeached President Donald Trump on Dec. 18, it was the first order of business they took up.
They passed full deductibility on Dec. 19.
As Democrats have kept raising the issue, Republicans have taken pleasure in pointing out that the politicians who usually decry budget-busting tax cuts for the rich were in this case demanding some. Most observers treated this inversion of the usual partisan rhetoric about the rich as an anomaly.
Democrats are, after all, willing to raise taxes on high earners and the wealthy in other ways. Some of the same people who would benefit from a bigger deduction for state and local taxes would get hit by the higher capital-gains taxes that Democrats seek.
But the Democrats’ solicitude for the interests of the affluent in this case may not be the aberration it appears to be.
It reflects the party’s long-term movement up the socioeconomic ladder — and shows why Democrats may find it impossible to reclaim their historical identity as a working-class party.
In U.S. politics today, class is more a function of formal education than of income.
The two are of course linked. College graduates on average earn more than thosewho attended college but received no college degree, and they in turn make a little more than those who never went. Over time, schooling has become relatively more important in voting behavior and money less so.
Ramesh Ponnuru is a Bloomberg View columnist. He is a senior editor of National Review and the author of "The Party of Death: The Democrats, the Media, the Courts, and the Disregard for Human Life." Read Ramesh Ponnuru's Reports — More Here.
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