One of the great truths of life is that politicians have virtually no shame, no matter how much they morally preen and scold others. I was reminded of this in reading that NY Senator Chuck Schumer and Congressman Thomas Suozzi are pushing to include a removal of the SALT cap in the next COVID relief package.

For the uninitiated: The SALT cap was part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. SALT stands for State and Local Taxes. Prior to this legislation, those taxes were fully deductible for anyone who had enough deductions to itemize their income tax return (i.e. complete a Schedule A). The bill capped the deduction at $10,000.

Obviously there were squawks, and cries of unfairness, and much gnashing of teeth.

Why?

Because that deduction was of greatest import to high-tax states like those in the Northeast. Which trend heavily “blue” in terms of their electoral politics. The Democrats feared, correctly, that the capping of this deduction would incentivize the millionaires living in their states to move to states with lower taxes.

Of course, they didn’t portray it that way. They spoke on behalf of the “middle class” that they claim to champion, and how unfair this was to the less-wealthy homeowners (who suffer under massive property taxes already). That their rhetoric didn’t match reality doesn’t matter of course. As I analyzed and blogged at the time, the combination of rate cuts and bracket shifts offset the loss of deduction even for higher earners, and was net-favorable to those lower income homeowners who were supposedly harmed by this.

As I’ve written countless times, it’s alway about Other People’s Money, and the Dems wanted to keep more of that in their hands in their blue states.

Now, they want to simply eliminate that cap, even though it would negatively impact federal income tax revenues in a time of massive deficit spending, and even though it’d be truly one of those “tax breaks for the rich” that they constantly accuse the Republicans of peddling. Just so they can reduce the incentives for millionaires to leave (rich people can be quite mobile, and the pandemic’s demonstration that more and more of them can ‘work from home’ certainly doesn’t help the Dems’ avarice).

Imagine this message: “We’ll give a Federal tax break to the rich, just so we can keep them in our states and soak them at the state level.”

Now, imagine that message, in conjunction with this one: “The Feds need to send us money to help us survive the COVID outbreak, and to rebuild that which has been destroyed by BLM-related riots and violence (that we’ve tolerated and excused).”

Have they no shame?

The answer is obvious.

Next time someone claims the Democrats oppose tax breaks for the rich, remind them of this bit of history and current endeavor. It probably won’t change their opinion of their party, but it might give them a bit of pause.


A bit over 20 years ago, the South Park boys released Chocolate Salty Balls, Chef’s (the late great Isaac Hayes) sung explanation of a recipe for a confection, with innuendo and double entendre as thick as molasses in winter. I tip my hat to their genius, and offer homage in the title of this essay. I hope at least some of you appreciate the reference.

Peter Venetoklis

About Peter Venetoklis

I am twice-retired, a former rocket engineer and a former small business owner. At the very least, it makes for interesting party conversation. I'm also a life-long libertarian, I engage in an expanse of entertainments, and I squabble for sport.

Nowadays, I spend a good bit of my time arguing politics and editing this website.

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