Chris Van Hollen is senior Democrat on the House Budget Committee.
Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), is making good on several efforts to minimize the pay disparity between middle-class workers and wealthy investors with the introduction of a new Paycheck Bonus Credit legislation that would provide $1,000 per worker per year – or roughly $1.2 trillion over a decade. The money, generated from financial transaction fees assessed against the top 1 percent earners in the nation, according to Van Hollen, would kick-start a solution to ongoing wage stagnation.
Van Hollen, senior Democrat on the House Budget Committee and a former chairman of the party’s campaign arm for House races, voiced concerns in 2014 over the stagnant growth in wages for middle-class Americans, despite 58 months of private sector job creation and the creation of 11.2 million jobs.
Calling it a “plan to help tackle the challenge of our times” and one that “works for all Americans, not just the wealthy few,” Van Hollen said trickle-down economic theory was not an option.
“The Republicans’ that tax cuts for the wealthy will eventually trickle down to the middle class – has a long and proven record of failure. We shouldn’t be talking about tax cuts for the wealthy; we should try to build this economy from the middle class out and from the bottom up,” Van Hollen said.
Previously, Van Hollen suggested the development of a CEO-Employee Paycheck Fairness Act that would disallow corporations from deducting bonuses and compensations for their CEOs and other executives over $1 million unless the employees also earned some benefit.
“Pay yourselves what you want, but if you want the taxpayers to allow you to deduct your bonuses and performance pay, for goodness sakes, you better be giving your employees a fair shake. And over time, that would close that gap productivity and wages stagnation. Let’s help the workers, not just the CEOs. Let’s vote for the CEO-Employee Paycheck Fairness Act,” Van Hollen said.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the proposal was forward-thinking and necessary to meet the challenge of wage stagnation, which has gone unchallenged for the last 40 years.
“In 2014, we created nearly three million new jobs, more than in any year since 1999. For all our progress, however, too many Americans are still out of work and too many middle-class families still feel squeezed. It is clear Congress must act to create jobs and expand the opportunities of working people and middle class families,” Pelosi said.
Van Hollen remains hopeful of Republican-led Congress support and said the plan “attacks the chronic problem of stagnant middle-class income from both directions, creating bigger paychecks and letting workers keep more of what they earn.”
Other provisions include investment in job training, through apprenticeship programs or partnerships with community colleges, an increase in the tax credit for child care from $3,000 per person to $8,000, or $16,000 per couple; and the creation of a “saver’s bonus” of $250 for workers who put at least $500 a year into retirement or other savings accounts.