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Why We Must Raise Taxes on the Rich

Why We Must Raise Taxes on the Rich

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Published by Robert Reich
The only way America can reduce the long-term budget deficit, maintain vital services, protect Social Security and Medicare, invest more in education and infrastructure, and not raise taxes on the working middle class is by raising taxes on the super rich.
The only way America can reduce the long-term budget deficit, maintain vital services, protect Social Security and Medicare, invest more in education and infrastructure, and not raise taxes on the working middle class is by raising taxes on the super rich.

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Published by: Robert Reich on Apr 05, 2011
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08/28/2012

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RobertReich
______________________________________________________________
Robert Reich is Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy atthe University of California at Berkeley. He has served inthree national administrations, most recently as secretaryof labor under President Bill Clinton.He has written thirteen books, including The Work ofNations, Locked in the Cabinet, Supercapitalism, and hismost recent book, Aftershock. His “Marketplace”commentaries can be found on
publicradio.com
and
iTunes
. You can find his blog onwww.robertreich.org.
______________________________________________________________
WhyWeMustRaiseTaxesontheRich
 
MONDAY, APRIL 4, 2011
 
It’staxtime.It’salsoatimewhenright-wingRepublicansaresettingtheagendaformassivespendingcutsthatwillhurtmostAmericans.Here’sthetruth:TheonlywayAmericacanreducethelong-termbudgetdeficit,maintainvitalservices,protectSocialSecurityandMedicare,investmoreineducationandinfrastructure,andnotraisetaxesontheworkingmiddleclassisbyraisingtaxesonthesuperrich.Evenifwegotridofcorporatewelfaresubsidiesforbigoil,bigagriculture,andbigPharma–evenifwecutbackonourbloateddefensebudget–itwouldn’tbenearlyenough.
 
ThevastmajorityofAmericanscan’taffordtopaymore.Despiteaneconomythat’stwiceaslargeasitwasthirtyyearsago,thebottom90percentarestillstuckinthemud.Ifthey’reemployedthey’reearningonaverageonlyabout$280moreayearthanthirtyyearsago,adjustedforinflation.That’slessthana1percentgainovermorethanathirdofacentury.(Familiesaredoingsomewhatbetterbutthat’sonlybecausesomanyfamiliesnowhavetorelyontwoincomes.)Yetevenastheirshareofthenation’stotalincomehaswithered,thetaxburdenonthemiddlehasgrown.Today’sworkingandmiddle-classtaxpayersareshellingoutabiggerchunkofincomeinpayrolltaxes,salestaxes,andpropertytaxesthanthirtyyearsago.It’sjusttheoppositeforsuperrich.Thetop1percent’sshareofnationalincomehasdoubledoverthepastthreedecades(from10percentin1981towellover20percentnow).Therichestone-tenthof1percent’ssharehastripled.Andthey’redoingbetterthanever.Accordingtoanewanalysisbythe
WallStreetJournal 
,totalcompensationandbenefitsatpublicly-tradedWallStreetbanksandsecuritiesfirmshitarecordin2010—$135billion.That’sup5.7percentfrom2009.Yet,remarkably,taxesonthetophaveplummeted.Fromthe1940suntil1980,thetoptaxincometaxrateonthehighestearnersinAmericawasatleast70percent.Inthe1950s,itwas
 
91percent.Nowit’s35percent.Evenifyouincludedeductionsandcredits,thericharenowpayingafarlowershareoftheirincomesintaxesthanatanytimesinceWorldWarII.Theestatetax(whichonlyhitsthetop2percent)hasalsobeenslashed.In2000itwas55percentandkickedinafter$1million.Todayit’s35percentandkicksinat$5million.Capitalgains–comprisingmostoftheincomeofthesuper-rich–weretaxedat35percentinthelate1980s.They’renowtaxedat15percent.Iftherichweretaxedatthesameratestheywerehalfacenturyago,they’dbepayinginover$350billionmorethisyearalone,whichtranslatesintotrillionsoverthenextdecade.That’senoughtoaccomplisheverythingthenationneedswhilealsoreducingfuturedeficits.Ifwealsocutwhatwedon’tneed(corporatewelfareandbloateddefense),taxescouldbereducedforeveryoneearningunder$80,000,too.Andwithasinglepayerhealth-caresystem–Medicareforall–insteadofagaggleoffor-profitproviders,thenationcouldsavebillionsmore.Yes,therichwillfindwaystoavoidpayingmoretaxescourtesyofcleveraccountantsandtaxattorneys.Butthishasalwaysbeenthecaseregardlessofwherethetaxrateisset.That’swhythegovernmentshouldaimhigh.(Duringthe1950s,whenthetopratewas91percent,therichexploitedloopholesand

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Zack Van Cleve added this note|
I could call this dwarfish dolt names but I think his near sighted perspective speaks for itself. By the way you all know he worked for BJ Bill Jefferson Clinton?
Kevin Fox added this note|
Spending cuts!!! We are giving away free government cell phones to the "financially disadvantaged". You gotta love that term but that a whole other conversation. The phone program is a small program but we all no that we have hundreds of these, maybe thousands. Can we start with these cuts first please?
Kevin Fox added this note|
I paid this money in good faith. I was told every 90 days by mail from the Social Security Administration that I would get this money back when I reached 65. Now the GOP wants to raise my retirement age to 70 in order to keep from having to raise taxes on the super rich that donate so heavily to their party and campaigns. In other words, they want to give the super rich my retirement money.
Kevin Fox added this note|
If we assume that 150k didnt earn any interest & assume a $2000 a month payout. Thats 75 months of SS benefits & would get me from 65 to 72. I am only 48, I will pay in for another 15 years at least & that 150k will double. Again, assume 0 interest earned over almost 50 years with my money & now we are up to 150 months of benefits at 2k a month. Thats about 12 years of payments getting me to 77.
Kevin Fox added this note|
Spending cuts are important also. However, Social Security & Medicare always come to the top of the list in the discussions. The use of the word "Entitlements" in a negative way bothers me. Social Security is a retirement plan that all of us have been forced to put money in & our employers have matched it. At age 48, my employers & I have put in over $150k. I want my money paid back to me!!!!
Ive Haddit added this note|
You can add a new publication to Robert Reich, the Occupy Handbook http://newscenter.berkeley.edu/2012/04/17/uc-berkeley-economists-contribute-to-just-released-occupy-handbook/ Think about where you send your kids to school, and think about who you hire when you look at their resume. It is time to think of places like Berkeley as a red flag, a place of dishonor. Every conservative in the
Zack Van Cleve liked this
Mike Lawrence added this note|
Your thesis presumes that it is in our interest to continue our reliance on the federal government for much of our economic well being. Before removing more money from a struggling economy, it is both morally just and reasonable to ask the government to go first with real cuts. I personally do not believe they have the political will to do so.

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