This story was updated on April 9, 2019.
The loudest voices in the Democratic party want to raise taxes on businesses and the wealthy. Rep. Eric Swalwell of California is willing to lower business taxes—as long as companies benefiting from tax breaks can show that workers are participating in the gains.
“I'm okay with reducing corporate taxes if you see profit sharing and equity sharing,” Swalwell told Yahoo Finance during a recent interview in his Capitol Hill office. “Especially for small businesses, reducing the corporate tax if it's tied to employees sharing in the benefit.”
A former prosecutor, Swalwell announced he’s running for president on April 8, joining a crowded Democratic field that includes eight other members of Congress and, probably soon, former vice president Joe Biden. With a working wife and two kids under 2, the 38-year-old legislator says his life is already a “traveling circus.”
Swalwell is a familiar face to cable-news watchers, thanks to frequent appearances on MSNBC and Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox. He’s a member of the House intelligence committee, which may soon obtain a full copy of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
Swalwell never favored impeachment proceedings against President Trump. But he’s still suspicious about Trump’s connections to Russia, even though Mueller reportedly found no direct link. “What we've seen, from the president to his sons to people in the Trump Organization, is just lie after lie about what their dealings were with the Russians. If it was so innocent, why couldn't they just have been straightforward about it?”
Swalwell objects to Trump’s public criticism of military and law enforcement officials, such as when Trump tweeted that the chiefs of several intelligence services were “passive and naïve.” “When they see their work politicized, it really is a punch in the gut,” Swalwell says. “They go out of the way to be objective.” Privately, he says, intelligence bosses (and some Republicans) complain about Trump’s attacks. But they don’t feel they can go public. “What frustrates me is when I hope they could speak up, they don’t because they know correcting the president would be perceived as having a dog in the fight.”
Swalwell characterizes himself as a moderate, the son of two Republicans who “married a Hoosier from southern Indiana, who grew up with the Pences, down there.” But on one prominent issue, he aligns with the liberal wing of his party. Swalwell favors a single-payer health care system run by the government, which would replace the current system of employer-provided insurance. Asked about the sky-high cost of “Medicare for all,” he says, “I think most Americans find health care today unaffordable. I would put the best minds together to make sure that we have a health care insurance plan that covers families in an affordable way.”
Rick Newman is the author of four books, including “Rebounders: How Winners Pivot from Setback to Success.” Follow him on Twitter: @rickjnewman