Ilhan Omar, the fiercely progressive congresswoman from Minnesota, as well as Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, both of whom are members of the Democratic Socialists of America, won landslide victories in their recent primaries.
And, although all three incumbents easily defeated their challengers, pundits predicted much closer and more challenging races.
Politico, for example, recently ran a headline reading “Ilhan Omar’s career on the line in tough primary.” The Hill and National Review ran similar headlines reading “‘Squad’ member Rashida Tlaib faces strong primary challenger” and “AOC Has a Real Challenger in Tuesday’s Primary” respectively.
A multitude of other highly progressive candidates, including the Ocasio-Cortez-backed Jamaal Bowman, Mondaire Jones and Marie Newman, also triumphed in their respective primaries
However, given the fundamental changes occurring within American politics and culture, the victories of these far-left and socialist candidates should not be all that surprising.
The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation found in 2019 that “70% of Millennials say they are likely to vote socialist.”
Additionally, after the 2016 election, students from over 250 college campuses requested starting a Young Democratic Socialists of America chapter, nearly quadrupling the group’s presence on college campuses and furthering the influence that far-left ideologies can have on students.
These changes in the Democratic Party and American political culture as a whole are largely reflected in the recent leftward shift of the Biden campaign.
Among the reforms advocated for are a $15-an-hour minimum wage, revisions to the tax code that would provide larger refundable tax credits to low and middle-income families, “decisive action to level the playing field for people of color,” tuition-free college for students whose families earn less than $125,000 per year and an overhaul of the “criminal justice system from top to bottom.”
The task force additionally recommends higher taxes on wealthy Americans, repealing “right-to-work” laws, the creation of an affordable public health care option “through the Affordable Care Act marketplace” and support for a House bill that would examine reparations for and study how slavery and Jim Crow laws continue to affect black Americans.
These positions, specifically those regarding tax reform, are far from new. Progressives have been lobbying for higher taxes on upper and middle-class Americans for decades.
Ocasio-Cortez, for example, has, on multiple occasions, endorsed a 70 percent marginal tax rate for top earners.
These disastrous and deleterious policy propositions are, astoundingly, being advocated for despite the United States’ already highly progressive tax code.
In the U.S., the top 20 percent of earners pay over 82 percent of all federal income taxes, while the bottom 20 percent of earners pay a negative tax, receiving more money back from the government in the form of refundable tax credits than they pay in taxes.
These socialist and progressive policies, if allowed to be enacted, would prove detrimental to the nation’s economic health and development.
As William McBride at the Tax Foundation explained, “Taxes on income and wages reduce the incentive to work. Progressive income taxes, where higher income is taxed at higher rates, reduce the returns to education, since high incomes are associated with high levels of education, and so reduce the incentive to build human capital. Progressive taxation also reduces investment, risk taking, and entrepreneurial activity since a disproportionately large share of these activities is done by high income earners.”
McBride added that higher taxes “reduce the incentive to invest and to build capital. Less investment means fewer productive workers and correspondingly lower wages.”
Similarly, increased regulations, whether they be environmental, wage or labor regulations, reduce economic growth and productivity.
Regulations, similar to taxes, are costly to businesses, reducing their ability and incentive to invest, build capital and produce. This will, inevitably, result in lower wages, higher unemployment and decreased economic activity.
A study by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University concluded that “more rules can lower economic productivity in the regulated industry” and that “less regulated industries outperform more heavily regulated industries in a variety of production efficiency measures.”
And while many regulations are often imposed to benefit consumers, the cost of those regulations are often ultimately passed on “to consumers in other ways,” as Scott Sumner wrote for The Library of Economics and Liberty.
So while it is concerning that progressives advocating for such policies are winning their primaries, given the current leftward political shift, it shouldn’t be surprising.
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