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Republicans (and some Democrats) are holding middle class tax cuts hostage unless the top 2% of Americans get a massive new tax break.  I strongly oppose any efforts to deprive the middle class of much-needed tax relief, which is why I hope you'll help me lobby Congress today.

I'm launching a new advocacy site today, 700BillionReasons.com, to help voters across the country share their reasons about why we shouldn't dole out a $700 billion tax cut to a sliver of the wealthiest Americans when we could use that revenue to invest instead in the middle class or pay down our debt.

My new site lets you build your own budget with that $700 billion -- build schools, pay down the debt, invest in job creation tax credits, whatever you'd like -- and then lets you share your budget with your friends and family on Facebook and Twitter. Most importantly, my new site helps you contact your Senators and Representatives TODAY to demand that they reject Republican overtures to hold middle class tax cuts hostage.

WHY WE NEED TO FIGHT TO PROTECT MIDDLE CLASS TAX CUTS
Those clamoring to protect tax cuts for the rich rely on false data and faulty logic.  Let there be no mistake -- Republicans voted to have the Bush tax cuts for the top 2% expire this year. They did so knowing full well that giving a permanent tax break to that bracket would be irresponsible and ineffective.  

It's no secret that the Bush tax cuts for the rich have been wholly ineffective. Let's summarize the Republican position:

  1.  The GOP said that giving millionaires and billionaires tax relief for 10 years would create jobs.
  1.  Millionaires and billionaires didn't create jobs with the extra money in their pocket. According to independent analysts, they saved it.
  1.  We're seeing record unemployment, and the middle class has been decimated.
  1.  Now the GOP says let's hold tax relief for the middle class hostage unless millionaires and billionaires get more tax relief because this time around, we promise, they'll create jobs.


Unlike my opponent, Republican Congressman Mark Kirk, I deal in facts, not fiction.
And since the GOP theory that giving massive tax breaks to the top 2% will help create jobs has been disproved, it should be off the table.

WHAT IT MEANS TO INVEST IN THE MIDDLE CLASS AGAIN
So where do we invest instead to get our economy moving again?  Here are the facts:

1.  Job creation tax credits: Small businesses create the vast majority of new jobs. That's why I think we need to give small business owners a $2,500 job creation tax credit if they create new jobs in the 90 days. It's the mom & pop shops, not international corporations, that need incentives to create good-paying jobs here at home.

2.  Payroll tax credit: I think the laborers, the teachers, the everyday workers deserve to see a little more money in their paycheck. When we invest in the middle class, the middle class invests in our nation by way of increasing consumer spending.  A payroll tax holiday will provide millions of families much needed breathing room in their budgets and will help to ease financial burdens.

3.  Increasing Pell Grants:   Did you know that a Pell Grant covers half the tuition it did 30 years ago? The formula is clear: the more we invest in the middle class and the more of our children go to college, the more successful they'll be in society and the more they'll help our economy as a whole. It's a no-brainer. Even slightly increasing the Pell Grant by $1,000 and then increasing the number of grants themselves is a direct investment in our country's future that will have far more positive impact on the economic stability of our nation than any tax cut for the rich ever will.

4.  Foreclosure Prevention: I've been a vocal supporter of cramdown legislation that helps keep families in their homes.  Did you know it costs our communities $77,934 in lost value when a home is foreclosed, but only $3,300 to keep a family in their home. Just $1 million can help over 300 families stay in their homes. It's simple math. And it's simply the right thing to do.

5.  Clean Energy Investment: Creating the next generation of clean energy jobs is a key part of my economy plan. But here's something a lot of people don't focus on: weatherizing homes.  Simple upgrades can save a family about $400 a year on reduced energy costs (not to mention reducing greenhouse gas emissions). A tax credit to cover part of the cost would help thousands of families reduce their bills and carbon footprint.

6.  Paying down the debt: Eight years of reckless budgets -- all supported by Mark Kirk -- resulted in a staggering debt.  Mark Kirk, like other Republicans, fancies himself a "deficit hawk." He has voted time and time again against unemployment benefits because they were not allegedly "paid for," yet he has no qualms about re-supporting a $700 billion ineffective tax policy that will only increase the debt he helped to create.

 

We have a chance to move the debate on the issue.
 Recent polls confirm what we know:  protecting middle class tax cuts and letting the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire per the original Republican plan is a policy that is supported by all but a tiny minority of Americans.

There are many, many reasons why Democrats should stand up and fight to protect middle class tax cuts and to invest in the middle class again.  Share your own reasons by using our website,700BillionReasons.com.

I'm looking forward to discussion the issues with you in the comments.  

Originally posted to Alexi Giannoulias on Wed Sep 22, 2010 at 11:49 AM PDT.

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