President Joe Biden nominated an extraordinarily radical candidate for U.S. Secretary of Labor who wants to wield bureaucratic power to raise your taxes.
Julie Su was previously confirmed as Biden’s Deputy Secretary of Labor on a thin party-line vote, with zero Republicans voting in her favor. Su became Biden’s acting Secretary of Labor in March following the resignation of Secretary Marty Walsh and she is now the president’s nominee to officially take the helm at the department.
It is no surprise, given her history of attacks on taxpayers, that Su’s confirmation is once again in peril. During her time as the head of California’s Labor & Workforce Development Agency, Su oversaw historically damaging policies that raised taxes and squandered public funds.
Notably, Su was an architect and chief enforcer of California’s controversial Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5), which sought to reclassify countless independent contractors as employees and force them to have a boss — or force them out of work entirely.
Independent contracting allows tens of millions of workers across the country to be their own bosses, from long-haul truckers to professional musicians, theatre performers, and sign language interpreters. By forcibly reclassifying these workers, Julie Su set her sights on seizing their right to choose and subjecting them to the whims of Big Labor bosses. In doing so, she also raised their taxes.
Americans for Tax Reform and the Tholos Foundation commissioned a study last year which analyzed what would happen if the core element of Su’s AB 5, a three-factor “ABC test” to determine who may identify as an independent contractor, were applied on a nationwide basis. The results were devastating for current freelancers, nearly 8 million of whom would see their taxes raised after being forced to reclassify. On the high end, using more comprehensive data on freelancing, the study estimated that as many as 33 million Americans could see higher tax burdens if Julie Su were to impose her ABC test across the country.
“The president promised in his campaign to raise taxes only on those making more than $400,000,” noted the researchers in the study. “Millions of independent contractors will pay more tax if forced to become employees, and almost 100% of them make less than $400,000, thus breaching President Biden’s pledge.”
But it’s not only her tax hikes on independent workers that should give Americans great concern. Just as dangerous is her demonstrated incompetence in handling taxpayer funds.
As California Labor Secretary, Su was tasked with overseeing the distribution of tens of billions of dollars in unemployment insurance payments during the COVID-19 pandemic. In the process, Su stripped the program of commonsense safeguards and wasted up to a staggering $31 billion on fraudulent payments. That’s about $1300 per income tax filer in the state.
To further contextualize the unprecedented scale of this failure, the entire FY2024 budget request for the U.S. Department of Labor was $15.1 billion. Julie Su squandered more than twice this amount of taxpayer money on fraud in a single program in a single state. Americans should rightfully worry about the impact on their own pocketbooks if Su is given an undeserved promotion to oversee operations in all fifty states.
With the Senate’s labor committee advancing her nomination on yet another party-line vote last month, all eyes are now on a handful of undecided Democrats to see if they will break ranks from President Biden’s radical agenda in a floor vote on the nomination.
We have seen this movie before — last year the Senate rejected David Weil, Biden’s nominee for Wage and Hour Administrator, for supporting the same anti-worker, pro-tax hike ideas that Su seeks to impose. As with the Weil nomination, senators should listen to their constituents, who are making clear that they strongly oppose Su’s nomination and the dangers she poses to taxpayers.
Julie Su will take your freelance work. Julie Su will raise your taxes. The Senate should reject her nomination for Secretary of Labor.
Grover Norquist is the President of Americans for Tax Reform.
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