The Corner

Fiscal Policy

Shameless Schumer Seeks SALT Salve

To “cushion the blow of this virus,” Senator Schumer wants to eliminate the cap on the state and local deduction.

Republicans put the cap in place in the tax law of 2017. It raised money that went partway toward making up for the tax cuts that the law also included; and it raised that money chiefly from high earners in high-tax, which is to say Democratic, jurisdictions.

So the issue flips the usual partisan scripts: Eliminating the cap would be a tax cut for the rich, but it’s Democrats who want it while Republicans voice that objection to it. As I’ve noted before, even with the cap in place, the beneficiaries of the deduction skew toward the affluent.

I’m against the deduction, but there is a reasonable argument for it. What can’t be argued with a straight face is that helping out high earners in high-tax states, a Democratic priority before anyone had heard of COVID-19, has anything to do with relief from the pandemic.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.

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