Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt, proposed two bills on Thursday that aim to shift tax burdens further onto the wealthy and corporations. One of them aims to undo the 2017 Trump-initiated cut of the corporate tax rate from 35 to 21 percent, and the other is to implement a progressive estate tax.
Also, Sanders is once again attempting to expand public health care services, and he defended former President Donald Trump with regard to censorship on Twitter.
The new estate tax Sanders is proposing will set up a 45% levy on estates valued between $3.5 and $10 million, and 65% for properties above $1 billion.
Sanders, who is the chair of the Senate Budget Committee, told NPR that the government needs this new revenue to fight income inequality, pay for student debt, and fight the “existential threat” of climate change.
Republican leadership is already distancing itself from any tax hikes. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., made as much clear on Tuesday March 23.
“I don’t think there’s going to be any enthusiasm on our side for a tax increase,” McConnell said.
What might come of this new tax revenue could be foreseen by proposals from the Biden Administration. The White House is seeking up to $4 trillion dollars for a new “infrastructure” plan that includes Bernie-friendly ideas such as tuition-free college, universal pre-kindergarten, paid family leave, and climate investments.
One analyst thinks that Bernie’s proposal is a “headache” for Democrats including for Biden.
“New proposals from Sanders go well beyond the revenue-raising measures Biden proposed in his campaign, which already would not completely pay for the $3 trillion-package he is reportedly considering to rebuild the nation’s infrastructure,” Niv Elis wrote for The Hill.
This is not the first time that Sanders has tried to reform the estate tax. In 2019 Sanders pushed the “For the 99.8% Act,” which included a 77 percent tax on wealth over $1 billion and at least 45 percent for those making $3.5 million and up.
While Sanders and Democrats continue to attack the 2017 Trump tax cuts as a relief for the rich, some analysts believe that the cuts spurred a strong economic response.
“The reforms simplified the process of paying taxes, lowered rates on individuals and businesses, and updated the business tax code so that American corporations and the people they employ are globally competitive again,” wrote economist Adam Michel.
More public health care
Tax reform is not all that Sanders is up to. On Tuesday, the Vermont senator unveiled three bills concerning prescription drug purchasing.
One bill is to pin drug prices with its respective worldwide market, another is to have Medicare compete in a bidding process to pay for drugs, and the third is supposed to increase access to foreign drugs. He also wants to reduce the age for Medicare’s eligibility from 65 to 55 years old and have it cover dental, eye surgeries, and hearing aids.
Sanders and his longtime political nemesis former president Donald Trump have been known to agree on the matter that prescription drug prices need to come down.
Sanders sides with Trump on free speech
Sanders has sided with Trump on the issue of social media censorship. While the senator maintains that he thinks Trump is “a racist, a sexist, a xenophobe, a pathological liar, an authoritarian,” he still believes that the former president deserves to have a voice in the arena of ideas.
“But if you’re asking me, do I feel particularly comfortable that the then-president of the United States could not express his views on Twitter?” Sanders recently told the NY Times. “I don’t feel comfortable about that. … Tomorrow it could be somebody else.”