NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


April 8, 2009

In these hard economic times, Democrats across the nation are working on plans that will turn some of us into instant millionaires.  There's only one catch: you're not actually going to be bringing in the millions; rather the tax man is just going to treat as you did, says the Wall Street Journal.

That's the message coming out of Albany, New York, where a newly ascendant Democratic majority forced a deal with the Democratic governor to impose a new "millionaires' tax."  The beauty is that to pay this tax, you won't have to make anywhere near a million dollars.

However, it's important to distinguish what New York is doing from the more traditional Democratic approaches to taxing millionaires, says the Journal:

  • In 2004, a California Democratic assemblyman championed a ballot initiative that imposed a 1 percent surcharge on personal incomes over a million dollars to pay for mental health programs; this year, another Democratic assemblyman introduced a similar bill to help state colleges from having to raise their tuition and fees.
  • In 2008, the Democratic governor of Maryland successfully established a new 6.25 percent tax bracket for million-dollar incomes.
  • Connecticut Democrats have just released a plan that would jack up taxes on millionaires by 60 percent.

Today such an approach seems positively démodé, says the Journal.  The new fashion is to take advantage of hard times to target a class of people that few politicians are willing to defend -- and then expand that class. 

Yet, for the moment, the effort to make new millionaires has been confined to Democratic governors and Democratic state legislators.  There appears, however, to be a sense that a much larger change they can believe in is now within grasp, says the Journal.

Source: William McGurn, "How Democrats Make Millionaires," Wall Street Journal, April 7, 2009.

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