Opinion shorts: Tax reform, leftward we go, & U.S. angst

Democrats “compromise” on tax reform. James Freeman in the Wall Street Journal notes that Democrats in the U.S. Senate say they want to compromise on tax reform, but have already rejected any tax cuts that include the upper class.

Freeman notes that this could rule out relief for Americans paying nearly all the nation’s federal individual income taxes.

IRS data highlighted by the Tax Foundation shows that the top 5 percent of income earners pay nearly 60 percent of all income taxes. In 2014, the top 1 percent of taxpayers paid more income taxes than the bottom 90 percent combined. The top 1 percent paid $543 billion, while the bottom 90 percent paid $400 billion. The top quarter of income earners pay a whopping 87 percent of federal income taxes. The top half of income earners pay more than 97 percent of income taxes. The bottom half pays less than 3 percent.

So who should get a little tax relief?

Democrats continue to move left. Republicans have plenty of problems with a dysfunctional Congress and a president with a low approval rating. Luckily for them, the Democrats aren’t in much better shape because their ultra-liberal base controls the party and most of its elected officials.

A MorningConsult poll found that if Nancy Pelosi was replaced as House minority leader, more Democratic voters would want a socialist to replace her than a capitalist. “If Pelosi were to be replaced, 35% of Democrats think it’s somewhat or very important that they be a socialist. 31% say the same for capitalist. 44% of Democrats say it’s not important that her replacement be a capitalist. 41% say it’s not important to be a socialist.”

Meanwhile, a Rasmussen poll shows that a plurality 40 percent of Democrats think Bernie Sanders will be next Democratic nominee for president. And polls show that most Democrats support government-provided health insurance for everyone.

Democrats have yet to show they can appeal to mainstream Americans.

Latin America poor are more optimistic than U.S. poor. Fewer and fewer people in the United States are viewing America as the land of opportunity. A report on a 2016 Brookings Institution study starts out: “These are odd times.” Indeed, they are. The study finds that, “The poor in Latin America are much more likely to believe that hard work will get them ahead than are the poor in the U.S., and the difference in the scores of the poor and the rich is significantly smaller in Latin America than it is in the U.S. The poor in Latin America are also much less likely to experience stress the previous day than are the poor in the U.S. . . .”