Is there a path back to an America that is increasingly instead of decreasingly progressive? Yes! Here is a possible strategy to get us there on taxes. It requires that Obama is reelected, a Democrat-controlled House, and at least a slim majority in the Senate.
The problem with letting the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of 2012 is that 4/5 of the lost revenue from these tax cuts has given lowered taxes to those earning less than $250K - and taxes on the lowest-earning bracket would increase from 10% to 15%. Dems want to protect this group from too-high taxes and they must, or they'd get turned out in the next election.
Here's a simple, though protracted strategy to increase revenues coming from wealthy Americans - a crucial victory that Obama and Dems need to restore taxation progressivity and bring in needed revenues.
1. During the 2012 campaign Obama and all congressional candidates hammer away at the need for more fair taxes by increasing taxes on those earning over $250K. It could be part of a winning populist strategy. Dems and Obama would campaign this way knowing full well that a bill to increase taxes on just the wealthy would never be introduced by the Boehner House before the end of 2012. Still, all the dem candidates would sell this as necessary, fair, and as something they could pass as law.
2. Assuming Obama has won reelection, he and the Senate let the Bush tax cuts expire after the election at year end 2012.
3. This, of course, presents a problem because taxes have gone up on lower-bracket earners whom Dems want to protect. So, when the new Congress convenes (this requires a Dem House and Senate), House Dems introduce a tax cut (yes, cut) bill for earners below $250K, not necessarily restoring all of the Bush cuts for those earning over (say) $100K, by graduating the rates in the $100K - $250K range. Rs in the House and Senate are boxed in and have to support this. They are clear hypocrites if they don't lower taxes on just this lower-income group and would know that if they blocked such a bill, they would be destroyed in the midterms. And, they can't also lower them on the wealthy too because they don't (in this scenario) control the House to introduce such a bill.
4. This would generate more than $100B a year and it would allow dems to bring back some government spending, such as in infrastructure, if they could sell it to enough Rs in the Senate to prevent a filibuster.
If we believed Obama and Ds would pull this off - and they certainly could - it gives us a good reason to campaign hard for Ds and Obama in 2012.