Meanwhile, Republicans in Congress are balking at any increase to the corporate tax rate, which was slashed from as much as 35 percent to 21 percent with the Trump tax cuts. To preserve those cuts, Republicans are employing a little prestidigitation: “Look over there! Antifa! Critical Race Theory! Socialism! Don’t worry about tax policy, which impacts your daily life! Worry about these scary things!”
Corporate tax increases, under President Joe Biden’s infrastructure proposal, would help pay for roads, bridges, airports, internet access, cleaner water, cleaner air, hospitals, child care access, etc. You know, things that would improve the daily lives of Americans — and things that would help American business compete globally. At least that’s the idea; we should not be so naïve to believe that government ideas always go according to plan.
But there is more to making capitalism work than simply increasing taxes on the wealthy. There also is strengthening the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which was created in the wake of the Great Recession. The Trump administration did its best to undermine the bureau, clinging to the strategy of making government fail so critics could say, “See, government doesn’t work.”
Congressional whittling of the Glass-Steagall Act precipitated the Great Recession. Congressional whittling of the Dodd-Frank Act has set the stage for another economic calamity. And policies driven by the fantasy of trickle-down economics have undermined the middle class.
As the Pew Research Center reported this year: “The growth in income in recent decades has tilted to upper-income households. At the same time, the U.S. middle class, which once comprised the clear majority of Americans, is shrinking. Thus, a greater share of the nation’s aggregate income is now going to upper-income households and the share going to middle- and lower-income households is falling.”
Which might or might not matter to you. But when faced with the question of what can be done about it, the answers are not that difficult. Government policies have created a situation in which capitalism is failing too many people; government policies can reverse it.