What should Democrats do about supporting an infrastructure spending bill? They need to make it a win-win proposition and by win-win, we mean that it’s a win for the Democrats whether the bill passes or fails. This needs to be a true ‘heads I win, tails you lose’ coin flip in favor of the Democrats. The stakes are too high. How do they pull that off?
The Republicans won’t be able to pass this without Democrat support as this will need 60 votes to pass unlike the majority of bills considered in 2017. The Democrats have a lot of leverage. Add to the fact that a lot of Republicans will be opposed to this anyway and the Democrats hold the keys to its passage. This bill is more likely to pass with full Democratic support and a dozen GOP members than it is with full Republican support and a handful of Democrats.
With that in mind, don’t be the Party of No. That’s the Republican brand so let them own it. Don’t compromise, either. Go public with your own spending bill. Make it a true infrastructure package devoid of special pet projects. Build bridges, roads and tunnels. And, here’s the kicker – use the opportunity to firm up Social Security. How? Most of the public doesn’t realize that Social Security taxes are only paid on the first $128,400 of income (this is the 2018 amount which is only a slight increase over 2017). After that you get a free ride. So the more money you make the less percentage of your income you pay in. Everyone pays 6.2% of income on Social Security unless you make more than $128,400 in which case the more you make, the less percentage you pay. It’s a truly regressive tax meaning the less you make, the greater percentage of your income you pay. Let’s look at an example. If you make $25,000, you’ll pay 6.2%. If you make $1,000,000, you’ll pay less than 1%. Make it a flat tax. Let everyone pay the same percentage no matter how much they make. No more cap. Keep a cap on the employer contribution side so it doesn’t affect jobs but no more on the individual side. It’s a much fairer system and it will save Social Security for the foreseeable future.
No compromising on this. If the Republicans balk, then let the bill die. Get in front of this and place all of the blame on the Republicans. Blame them for its failure as they are coddling the rich again and failing the American worker.
If it does pass, this will without a doubt be a Democratic victory that Democrats can run on in 2018. Democrats can take full credit for all economic gains that come from its passage. The Democrats can’t lose if they stick to their principles, own the messaging on the bill, and refuse to compromise.