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People First Economic Plan for Working Families
My grandmother worked her entire life as a maid, a cook, and a babysitter. She raised my mom on her own, and helped care for my brother and me, always putting other folks ahead of herself. She sacrificed for our family, and while she could not pass on wealth or power, she did entrust us with an inheritance of hard work.
This plan is for the working families of America just like mine.
Our economy today is not working for working people, the way it did in the past. The costs of caring for your family are rising year after year, while your paycheck is staying the same. The wealthy few have set up the rules to work for themselves, while working families who labor for a living are left behind. Our economy has changed with technology and automation, but our policies have not kept pace to empower working families with a fighting chance for a better future.
Why in the richest nation on Earth should we tax work more than wealth?
Today, I’m proposing an ‘Inherited Wealth’ tax that ensures folks who receive income in the form of inheritance pay a fair share of taxes, like the rest of us. Income from capital gains and income from labor should be treated the same way: as income. That’s why I’m advocating that we raise the capital gains rate to match the marginal income tax rate for the wealthy. In my plan, I’m also supporting a ‘Wealth Inequality’ tax through mark-to-market system for the richest one-tenth of 1 percent that would tax their capital gains annually. Wealth inequality is a fundamental challenge to our economy, and we must address it. Under my plan, 99 percent of Americans would see their taxes go down or stay the same.
We can ensure that the wealthy pay their fair share and then invest that revenue into relief for working families.
My ‘Working Families First’ Credit includes a universal child credit of $3,000 per child for every family of modest means and a major expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit. As I’ve previously proposed in my “People First Education” platform, we will provide universal pre-K education, and now I propose expanding that to include universal child care; these programs will lower the cost burden on working families and increase wages for child care workers. Together, the new credit, pre-K education, and child care will help us achieve a bold new goal to reduce child poverty by two-thirds. Furthermore, the foundation of strong working families is gender pay equity, and that’s why my plan includes paid family and medical leave and an equal rights amendment.
This plan is based on the principle of putting working families first and ensuring the wealthiest folks pay their fair share. We can raise wages, reduce inequality, and invest in working families for a thriving middle class and a better future for us all.
Ensure the Wealthy Pay their Fair Share
1. Create an “Inherited Wealth” Tax
2. Treat Income from Capital and Labor the Same
3. Repeal the Trump Tax Bill
¹ The ‘Silver Spoon’ Tax: How to Strengthen Wealth Transfer Taxation (October 31, 2016). Washington Center for Equitable Growth, Delivering Equitable Growth: Strategies for the Next Administration (Fall, 2016). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2862144
Invest in Relief for Working Families
1. Create a “Working Families First Credit”
Families are working harder than ever for less and less. Real wages are stagnant, and folks are needing to work multiple jobs just to pay the bills. Almost 10 million children, 13 percent of kids residing in the world’s wealthiest nation, live in poverty. This is not just immoral and shameful, but it’s also a policy failure. Our economy is $1 trillion smaller than it could be because of this lost potential. In 2015, Congress tasked the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine with studying how we could reduce the number of children living in poverty by half within ten years, and the experts recommended a policy like this one. While Trump and the Republicans have refused to act, we will use proven policy tools to raise incomes and reduce inequality.
The program would additionally allow for monthly payment of credits, the use of Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITINs) to qualify for the credit and be paired with efforts to reduce the costs and complexity of tax filing, including through offering free and autonomic filing services by the Internal Revenue Service for individuals who qualify for the credit.
For example, under the ‘Working Families First’ Credit:
2. Implement a $15 Living Wage
Right now, Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump could increase incomes for over 35 million working families — more than 1 in 4 American workers. For over a decade, we haven’t raised the minimum wage, which has been losing purchasing power every year. It would be worth over $19 an hour if we had kept pace with productivity growth. That’s why organizers, cities, and states have taken action in places like Chicago, Arizona, and Michigan. That’s why I stood with fast food workers in Durham, North Carolina and the Quad Cities in Iowa as they demanded a raise to at least $15 an hour. We need to fight for $15 but also be ambitious for more.
3. Ensure Gender Pay Equity
The foundation of strong working families is equal pay for equal work. We achieve this by expanding workplace protections for paid family and medical leave, passing the Equality Act, and fighting for an Equal Rights Amendment. We need to break down barriers that prevent pay parity between men and women.
4. Invest in Universal Child Care and Universal Pre-K Education
Quality daycare and preK education is expensive, and it’s not a luxury in a 21st century economy. The typical family spends 10 percent of their income paying for child care, and the two million mostly women workers who care for over ten million children are underpaid. Moreover, the best return on investment of public dollars is to invest in our youngest learners. For every one dollar dedicated to high-quality early childhood education, we receive nine dollars in long-term benefits.