Sudden Thunder From the Center-Left

So Rep. Chris van Hollen (D-MD), very close to the House Democratic leadership and not known as a lefty firebrand, is unveiling a rather large proposal to pay for a significant set of lower-to-middle class benefits via caps on tax breaks for the 1%, and a fee on financial transactions.

There are some other interesting provisions involving tweaks in tax writeoffs for employers who do or don’t raise wages or offer training to employees, and we haven’t seen the whole package. But suffice it to say it’s one of the more frankly redistributive proposals coming from anywhere other than the Progressive Caucus in a good while, and the central prominence of the financial transaction tax makes it a direct shot at Wall Street.

Aside from a virtual endorsement by Nancy Pelosi, it may be significant that Van Hollen is formally making this proposal at the Center for American Progress, an organization generally thought to be the beating heart of Hillaryland. So expect speculation that this could be the first step towards a “populist” repositioning of HRC.

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.