From Harold Meyerson, The American Prospect <[email protected]>
Subject Meyerson on TAP: Second-Term Bidenomics
Date January 30, 2024 8:55 PM
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**JANUARY 30, 2024**

On the Prospect website

Breaking the Ballot

Republican state lawmakers are enthusiastic practitioners of
direct-democracy backsliding. Can voters hold them off? BY GABRIELLE

The Bankers' Front Groups Fighting Tougher Capital Rules

It's understandable that Wall Street wants weak rules. Why are so many
community groups serving as the banks' echo chamber? BY ROBERT KUTTNER

Jeff Merkley vs. the Senate

The Oregon senator's new book harnesses 15 years of fighting to end
the filibuster. BY DAVID DAYEN

Everything Is Great!

Tom Tomorrow brings you This Modern World BY TOM TOMORROW

Meyerson on TAP








**** Second-Term Bidenomics

When it comes to making the rich fund affordable child care and
long-term Social Security, Bernie Sanders has a suggestion.

The most important strategic challenge for the Biden White House is to
formulate what second-term Bidenomics would be, and sell that to the
voting public between now and November.

It may not be the most urgent challenge, which is to avert the danger of
a larger Middle Eastern war, and/or halt Israel's destruction of Gaza,
and/or at least note that it's the House Republicans and Donald Trump
who are blocking reforms on our Southern border. But if Biden has any
shot of beating Donald Trump in November, he can't rely only on
Trump's self-subversions. He has to make a compelling case for
economic policies that will palpably benefit tens of millions of
Americans, and that Republican candidates won't support.

When Biden delivers his State of the Union address on March 7, I'm
certain we'll hear many such particulars: negotiating down the prices
of way more than ten prescription drugs, and not just for Medicare
recipients; further measures to restrict or abolish junk fees; expanding
the Child Tax Credit beyond what the proposal currently in the works in
Congress would do; renewing the battle for affordable child care; and
shoring up long-term funding for Social Security. The way to finance
those latter three and other policies that American voters would
welcome, Biden will surely say, requires raising taxes on the rich and
corporations, which every poll taken in at least the past decade shows
to be off-the-charts popular.

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Corporate profit margins still hover at historically high levels, and
while it may be a little late to be calling for an excess profits tax as
such, such justifiable sentiments should fuel Biden's initiatives to
reduce economic inequality. To that end, last week Bernie Sanders, in
the company of fellow senators Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey, and Chris
Van Hollen, introduced

what I've long argued (

**way**long, as some of my readers will attest) is the most salutary
(both economically and in terms of the mass political education it would
engender) corporate tax proposal I know: scaling the corporate income
tax to the ratio between CEO pay and median worker pay, which the
Dodd-Frank Act required publicly traded corporations to report on
annually. The Tax Excessive CEO Pay Act of 2024 would raise the tax rate
by one-half of 1 percent on corporations whose CEOs (or their
highest-paid employee if not the CEO) made between 50 and 100 times what
their median worker made, and then more than that in increments
reflecting higher ratios, up to those corporations whose CEOs make more
than 500 times what their median worker makes. Corporations whose
CEO-to-median-worker pay ratio came in under 50-to-1 would see no such
tax hike, though you'd be hard-pressed today to find any large
publicly traded U.S. corporation that meets that criterion.

Survey methodologies may differ, but every survey of the average pay
ratio among the 400 or 500 largest U.S. corporations over the past 20
years has usually shown the ratio to be somewhere between 250-to-1 and
350-to-1. In the 1960s, before the Reagan-era tax cuts that more than
halved the tax rates on the highest individual incomes, that ratio was
roughly 20-to-1. Were the Sanders bill to get enough traction to
generate real public debate, opponents might have to address not only
why CEOs are now thought to be worth so much more than their workers
than they were half a century ago, but also why they're worth so much
more than their mid-20th-century CEO predecessors. Do we really think
that the current leaders of, say, Boeing, or General Motors, or General
Electric, or Bank of America are ten times more deserving of rewards
than those institutions' leaders were during the economically stable
decades of broadly shared prosperity that followed World War II?

That's a discussion Joe Biden and the Democrats would do well to


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