by Steve Levy
Suburban voters better start paying attention, because the Biden-Harris ticket and the Democratic Party platform that’s been rolled out this week will hit them like a ton of bricks if they win in November.
Suburban voters better start paying attention
This is important because recent polls indicate that white suburban women who voted for Donald Trump in 2016 are trending away from him in 2020.
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As a white male who was the county executive of New York’s largest suburb, and who did not vote for Trump in 2016, I understand where they’re coming from. But as someone who plans to vote for Trump over Biden this time around, here are seven reasons why I want to suburban women (and men) to think carefully about their vote.
But, first, let’s dissect why suburban women are rejecting a second Trump term. It’s not his policies; it’s his demeanor.
As late as February of this year, six in 10 Americans said in a Gallup poll that they felt better off after the first three years of Trump.
Yet, nearly 60% of suburban women in the poll viewed Trump’s character negatively.
This seems to be the driving force behind the fact that a recent NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll showing 66% of suburban women disapprove of the job President Trump is doing.
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Meanwhile, there’s no question Republicans took a huge hit with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. An NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released earlier this year showed support for Republicans among suburbanites dropped 7 points from 50 percent in February to 43 percent in March.
A recent Fox News poll now has Trump down 11 points in the suburbs.
The pandemic, the social unrest in the streets, and the self-destructive tweets from the president himself, have distracted voters from the destructive economic policies being espoused by the Democrats’ standard-bearer.
Here are seven reasons suburban voters should pay attention to the Biden-Harris ticket.
1. Taxes – Get ready to pay more
Not much attention is being given to Biden‘s efforts to restore taxes to the Obama administration levels. But why would any of us want to revert to a time when the GDP was a mere 1.6%, wages were stagnant. and income inequality was actually on the rise?
It was the Trump tax cuts and deregulation that accelerated unemployment down to record low levels. These policies boosted confidence within the corporate world, leading to enormous investment (and the market soaring) and wages piercing the 3% level for the first time in over a decade.
Biden plans on reversing the measures that created this historic economic boom. After Obama raised taxes in 2013 significantly, businesses recoiled.
And yet Biden is saying let’s go back to those bad old days?
Trump’s tax cap of 37% from the previous 39.6% in the top bracket meant thousands of more dollars in the pockets of many suburbanites to pay for their kids’ college bills or for replacement of that worn-out car.
The elimination of the alternative minimum tax, which clobbered upper-middle-class workers, put more money at their disposal to update their homes, and thereby hire contractors and buy needed furnishings.
The tax cuts helped working and middle class suburbanites as well. The average tax liability decreased 12.5%, for people making $15,000 to $20,000 a year, 11.5% for people making $25,000 to $30,000, and 10.96% for those earning $100,000 to $200,000.
2. Doubling capital gains taxes
Not to be overlooked is Biden’s proposals to double the capital gains tax. What happens when these folks sell their businesses that they built up over the last 25 years. The profit that would’ve gone toward a comfortable retirement is now going to be ceded to the government in the form of a 40% capital gains tax for sales exceeding $1 million.
On Long Island, a typical home in Nassau County purchased under the $500,000 capital gains exemption might today be valued at over a million. For the first time, many of these homeowners will have to consider what the capital gains bite will take from their life savings when they decide to downsize.
3. Estate taxes
Now we get to the point where your house or business is passed over to your children upon your death. Presently, the cost basis upon the transfer rises so that your children are not forced to sell the asset to pay the capital gains. That may end under Biden’s tax plan.
4. Raising business taxes
Many suburbanites own businesses, which benefited tremendously by Trump’s lowering of the corporate rate from 28% to 21%. Are you willing to start paying more when Biden raises it back to the higher rates, as promised?
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How many suburbanites will lose their jobs when business dollars that would otherwise go toward employee wages now goes back to Uncle Sam?
5. Ending the Business Income deduction
Many middle-class suburbanites are not corporate board members but rather small business owners who were helped significantly by the 2017 tax plan that allowed up to a 20% deduction on their business income. According to Ed McWilliams of Cerini and Associates, an accounting firm in Bohemia, N.Y., that move in 2017 potentially dropped their tax from 37% to 29.6% on their business income. Biden will aim to reverse the cut.
6. Overruling Local Zoning
Suburbanites need to know that Biden will reinstate an Obama decree that gives far more powers to the federal government to supersede local zoning powers in the name of social justice.
If there is an insufficient number of minorities in a specific area -- without any demonstrating any overt discrimination -- it could trigger a mandate by the feds that a town build high-density housing in contravention of local zoning laws.
7. Violent Crimes Coming Your Way
Once the coronavirus subsides, suburbanites commuting each morning to their city offices or seeking an evening of culture in the urban center will now potentially have to contend with violent crime sprees. And while Biden claims he’s against defunding police out of one side of his mouth, he thoroughly embraces the notion of “redirecting” funds away from the police. Translation: more social workers, fewer cops.
I’m not so sure a commuter will be calling out for a mental health therapist as a deranged vagrant is pushing her onto the oncoming train.
Elections are a binary choice.
Many Trump-defecting suburban women say their decision to switch alliances stem from the president's combative nature, his crude, often insensitive remarks, and his inability to emote empathy.
It’s easy to understand and I do. That's why I opposed Trump four years ago.
The president's narcissistic, impulsive nature continues to disturb me, too, but seeing our nation plummet into a crime-ridden, economically stagnant society that would come about from leftist-tilting Biden and Harris, who appear unwilling or incapable of stopping it, concerns me much more.
Steve Levy is president of Common Sense Strategies, a political consulting firm. He served as Suffolk County Executive, as a New York state assemblyman, and host of "The Steve Levy Radio Show."
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