Monday, August 8, 2011

Tax the rich

Posted By on Mon, Aug 8, 2011 at 2:00 PM

For the last several months, one national opinion poll after another has shown wide and deep levels of voter support for higher taxes on the country’s wealthiest 1 percent, i.e., the folks who are crapping all over the rest of us. It’s too bad no one relayed this information to the White House, much less GOP leaders in Congress, but so be it. Now, though, as Rob Schofield at NC PolicyWatch notes, a new joint study by The Century Foundation and the Economic Policy Institute, arrives at the same conclusion as most voters. Part of the study says the debt ceiling deal’s emphasis on spending cuts is a “one-dimensional approach to the nation’s budget problems.” It also lists the Top 10 facts backing a strategy that includes raising revenues as a supplement to the cut-till-you-bleed approach “negotiated” by the GOP and President Rollover, er, Obama. You can read the intro to the study here, and then link from there to the entire report, which elaborates on the Top 10 facts.

Meanwhile, here are the Top 10 facts that support increasing what the highest-income households contribute in taxes:

1. Meager revenues and Bush-era tax cuts contribute greatly to the deficit.

2. The top 1 percent of households benefited disproportionately from the Bush-era tax cuts.

3. Recent income gains for the highest-income 1 percent have far exceeded gains for everyone else, leading to dramatic income concentration at the top of the scale. Now, more than ever, the highest-income households are in a better position to pay taxes.

4. Wealth is even more concentrated at the top than income, and the main wealth tax — the estate tax — has been sharply reduced in recent years.

5. Reasonable proposals for taxing the highest-income households can raise significant amounts of revenue.

6. By not taxing the highest-income households, deficit reduction relies too heavily on spending cuts that harm low- and middle-income Americans.

7. Raising taxes on the highest-income households reduces the deficit without having much impact on the economic recovery or job growth.

8. Few small business owners have exceptionally high incomes, and thus few would be affected by these tax increases on the highest-income households.

9. Even if taxes on those with the highest incomes are substantially increased, income gains at the top over time would still dramatically outpace gains among the rest of the population.

10. The progressivity of the federal income-tax system offsets the regressive nature of federal payroll taxes and state and local tax systems.

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