The Buffet Rule and more fairness

September 20, 2011 - 5:38pm

President Obama threatened to veto any deficit reduction package that doesn’t include higher taxes on the wealthy.  It’s a welcome sign that Obama is demanding that wealthy Americans -- that have seen their incomes and wealth increase dramatically while working families are falling further behind -- do their part.

Republicans, conservative think tanks and pundits are trotting out their standard, and getting somewhat tiresome message points about how taxes on the wealthy will be a “job killer” and that asking the wealthy to do their part for the country is somehow “class warfare.”

Obama is simply calling for the end to the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy.   When President Clinton signed the 1993 budget bill that included small marginal increases in the taxes on the rich, the conservative machine went into high gear predicting economic disaster.

Rep. Thomas Ewing (R-IL) describe the package this way, “This is really the Dr. Kevorkian plan for our economy. It will kill jobs, kill businesses, and yes, kill even the higher tax revenues that these suicidal tax increasers hope to gain.”

They were dead wrong. The Clinton years saw continuous economic growth, poverty reduction and a Federal budget surplus.

The Los Angeles Times editorial, “The ‘Buffet rule’ and more”, lays out the case.  Read it here.

In the same newspaper, Bruce Ackerman and Anne Alstott, in their op-ed “Why (and how) to tax the super-rich”,  describe yet another proposal to make America a fairer, more prosperous country.  They argue that a wealth tax on the those with more than $7.2 million in net assets – the top .5% of households – would generate $70 billion per year. But, they say, it would go further and preserve democracy.  Read it here.

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