Capitol Alert

‘Brilliant idea’ or ‘Socialism in California?’ Kamala Harris’ tax plan draws praise, scorn

California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris made headlines Thursday when she unveiled an ambitious plan that would provide American families making less than $100,000 a year with an extra $500 a month in the form of a tax credit.

While the bill’s prospects are not good in a Republican-controlled Senate, Harris’ announcement was praised by some experts as a savvy political move for a likely 2020 presidential contender.

The Atlantic ran a story about Harris’ bill titled “Kamala Harris’s Trump-Size Tax Plan.” Her bill would undo President Donald Trump’s signature legislative achievement in order to pay for a tax credit that would benefit an estimated half of American workers, according to Harris’ office.

The plan is reminiscent of universal basic income — the concept of a no-strings-attached, monthly stipend to help pay for the cost of living. It is a concept championed by liberal activists and Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs alike.

Mayor Michael Tubbs, of Stockton, who pushed a monthly basic income program to give $500 a month to city residents who meet income requirements, took to Twitter to endorse the senator’s plan.

“Exactly the issue we are trying to solve for in Stockton,” he wrote.

Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, called Harris’ plan “a critical way to address wage stagnation, and I hope all Dems take this brilliant idea seriously.”

Ezra Klein, founder of left-leaning online news outlet, said Harris’ plan was likely inspired by both Trump and Vermont socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders to offer “supersize” policy proposals.

But not everybody is a fan.

Some, like California Assemblyman Travis Allen, lambasted the bill as “SOCIALISM IN CALIFORNIA.”

Allen tweeted that Harris’ bill “has a new plan to give away YOUR tax money.”

“With unemployment at its lowest level in decades why do the Democrats want people on welfare?” he wrote.

Author Tom Corley tweeted that “those who embrace entitlement thinking will love this. Those who desire success won’t.”

Jack Pitney, a professor of government at Claremont McKenna College, previously told McClatchy that Harris’ bill, while unlikely to pass anytime soon, was a sure sign of her presidential ambition. Pitney also took to Twitter to weigh in on the bill.

Andrew Sheeler: 805-781-7934, @andrewsheeler