Transpartisan Note #62
by A. Lawrence Chickering and James S. Turner
As Congress left for its August recess, its Problem Solvers Caucus (22Rs and 22Ds) said, “We are proud to deliver a set of bipartisan solutions to move health coverage forward so that our fellow Americans can also move ahead with restored hope in their own future and in the ability of Congress to resolve critical issues.”
Returning from recess this week, the Caucus has pending, along with its health care effort, tax reform and infrastructure. “Addressing either issue, on a broad bipartisan basis,” the caucus says, ”could give a significant boost to our economy and provide Americans with confidence that government can work for them.”
“Why, though,” asks No Labels, the bipartisan citizens group vigorously supporting the Congressional Problem Solvers, “does the Caucus want to tackle tax reform and infrastructure at the same time? Because the success of the two proposals is intricately tied together.”
Lower tax rates free up more capital for businesses to invest. Poor infra-structure is bad for the economy’s bottom line. It costs the US nearly 1% of GDP every year ($180 billion in 2015 alone). As long as roads, bridges and airports remain outdated, businesses lose money on investments in the American economy.
“Legislators,” says No Labels, “have a lot of work to do to pass the kind of tax reform and infrastructure investment bill America needs. But the Problem Solvers Caucus has provided a rare opening for bipartisan cooperation on these two critical issues. It’s time for the White House and leaders in Congress to seize the opportunity.”
Other Transpartisan advocates suggest that the Caucus and the Congress consider Professor Edgar Feige’s Automated Payment Transaction Tax/Fee in their tax reform, infrastructure and health financing deliberations. It lowers taxes and raises income to government. (We have written about it here, and here.)
Drawing on modern-day information technologies and fully implemented, the Feige Fee massively reduces taxes and increases government income. Advocates claim that individual annual payments to the government of a $100,000 per year income earner drop to $100 (yes $100) while fully funding the current budget with a $1 billion surplus.
Congress and the Problem Solvers Caucus could help the country learn about current financing strategies by studying the technology of the information economy. Information tools generate massive sums of money for giants like Apple, Amazon, Google and Microsoft. We could learn about funding government from them and their tools.
Just as government income shifted from 19th century tariffs to 20th century income taxes, 21st century government income could shift from income taxes to transaction fees. Considering such a shift adds a transforming dimension to current partisan politics. With plenty of money, the politics shifts from debating what we can afford to discussing what works.
Let’s modernize the government money discussion.
Note: In the time between drafting this note and posting it, President Trump surprised the media by making a budget ceiling deal with the Congressional Democratic leadership that, apparently, also surprised, and consternated, Republican congressional leaders. This might be a toe in the water toward the bipartisan possibilities of the Problem Solvers Caucus.