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(Center for American Progress)
As Greg Sargent took note today, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is talking about bringing back the millionaire surtax. It was scuttled in the battle to extend the Social Security payroll tax cut and other matters:
“I’ve talked to Senate Republicans, plural, who think there should be a fair tax on rich people. I’m going to make sure that my conferees understand that this could be part of what we try to do.”

The conferees Reid is talking about are the four he appointed Friday morning to the Senate-House conference committee that will, in January, be taking up the full-year extension of the payroll tax cut, emergency federal unemployment benefits, the "doc-fix" on Medicare reimbursement and other issues.

The Democrats gave up on the surtax idea as a loser in the fight to get the two-month extension that was finally and reluctantly approved Friday. So it's good to hear Reid saying it's not permanently dead. It is a matter of fairness. But it will take more than a surtax on those who have been getting one tax-cut deal after another since 1962. No way is real fairness going to be fixed with one little surtax, assuming it can be passed, and no way is a new tax code that progressives can even begin to support going to come out of the second session of the 112th Congress.

But, as a short-term matter, until a more progressive tax code can be attempted, the surtax makes good sense. Otherwise, all the offsets in spending, the "pay for" that the Republicans are demanding in exchange for the full-year extension, will come from federal programs. Here's Andrew Fieldhouse of the Economic Policy Institute discussing exactly the kind of 1%er approach the GOP will likely try again come the new year:

The Senate Republican proposal would limit federal agencies to hiring only one replacement employee for every three full-time employees leaving the agency until employment has fallen by 10 percent. This would result in roughly 280,000 job losses—ironic, given that the purpose of the payroll tax cut is to create jobs. Someone should remind the GOP that the purpose of a pay-for is to offset the cost of a policy, not its impact.

Laying off hundreds of thousands of federal workers is terrible policy for reasons beyond causing job loss during a jobs crisis. First, it ignores the need to keep up with a growing population. These civil service jobs deemed unnecessary by Senate Republicans include one out of 10 federal judges, FBI agents, Veterans Affairs doctors, National Institutes of Health cancer researchers, food safety inspectors, and air traffic controllers, to name just a few.

Second, haphazardly cutting certain agencies’ payroll would in many cases actually increase the budget deficit. Fewer Internal Revenue Service auditors would mean less tax enforcement and revenue. (In fiscal year 2010, 22,710 full-time IRS enforcement officers brought in $58 billion—an average of over $2.5 million per employee.) Fewer Medicare fraud investigators would mean more erroneous payments and unprosecuted fraudulent claims.

The surtax would make all that unnecessary. It would be the pay-for. No need to demolish tens of thousands of public sector jobs. Which, of course, is just one of the reasons the surtax idea goes against the GOP game plan.

Naturally, Reid's letting his conferees "understand" that a surtax "could be" part of a deal is a long, long way from actually making one happen. And the debate about it, assuming we get one, will be littered with more Republican caterwauling about the evils of class warfare. Plus many Democrats saying they don't believe in class warfare either, despite going along with policies that are, in fact, exactly that. According to the most recent Pew poll, most Americans seem to agree that self-defense in the class war is a good thing: 57 percent of them say that what bothers them most about the tax system is that the wealthy aren't paying their fair share.

The Democrats ought to capitalize on that, as well as the fact that the Occupy movement, whatever its flaws, has in a matter of months changed the national narrative about what matters most in the economy, something party leaders have failed to do, failed to even try to do, for decades.

Rather than continuing to seek that mythical "middle ground" which has moved the discussion and policy initiatives ever further to the right for the past four decades, Reid, Senate Democrats, House Democrats and the White House should capitalize on the changed narrative instead of ignoring it and trying to return to the conversation-as-usual. Standing firm on a millionaire surtax would be a good first baby-step along that path, both symbolic and having a real impact. But only a first step.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 09:44 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  A small 2% tax increase for the highest income (14+ / 0-)

    ...earners would be both reasonable and affordable as well as popular (like in the no-brainer category) with virtually all Americans including plenty in that tax rate. Congress needs to do the right thing.

    Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

    by kck on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 09:50:52 AM PST

    •  Doing the "right thing" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bear83, zerelda

      ..seems to have disappeared completely from Congress' repertoire. Their dismal approval ratings didn't appear out of thin air.

      I'm waiting to see what they do when the "Bush tax cuts" expire - again.

      •  The Bush Tax Cuts will be the Ultimate Showdown (10+ / 0-)

        Republicans will push for an across the board extension. Democrats will push for an extension up to a certain $ amount. $250,000 and up has been the Presient's talking point, but I think that is absurdly high. $150,000 would be enough for the vast majority of people.

        The only question is - who will blink first. Or maybe no one blinks, and all the Bush tax cuts finally expire.

        "Here is my principle: Taxes shall be levied according to ability to pay. That is the only American principle." Franklin D. Roosevelt

        by bear83 on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 10:26:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Agree (9+ / 0-)

          The expiration of the bush tax cuts will hopefully be the trigger for real tax reform.

        •  it will depend on the election (7+ / 0-)

          if the Democrats take back the House and hold the W.H., the Democrats get their way.  The Senate GOP couldn't force Pelosi's hand.  (All revenue bills have to originate in the House, which is key).  If we get an outcome like 2010, the House GOP is in a position to take the hostages again, only with the economy somewhat improving, perhaps Obama risks letting the tax cuts for the middle class expire and then puts the blame on the GOP going into 2014.  But I think it's a mistake to see this as a question of will -- each side presses to the extent it can.  The 2010 lame duck bill was a function of trying to limit the damage to 2 years and keep the issue out of the hands of a teabagger controlled house.  Perfectly rational weighing of the risks and benefits of doing a deal now versus later.

          "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

          by Loge on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 10:55:14 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Excellent summary! (8+ / 0-)

            I would just add that we need to inflict as much as we can as fast as we can while they are on the ropes. And if we can take back the House we push forward to our policies and priorities. It's time to step on the gas, as the president suggested.

            •  absolutely (4+ / 0-)

              since the GOP caved this hard already, i'm all for jamming them up with a millionaire's surtax. maybe they even try to kill it again, so it's all win win.  if they go along, they look like fools and Obama can even, if he feels like it, outflank them on the deficit.  I don't see an opportunity to address the whole bush tax cuts here, though -- it'll look like overreach.

              "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

              by Loge on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 11:23:28 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

          •  Your scenario is only rational if Dems take House (0+ / 0-)
            The 2010 lame duck bill was a function of trying to limit the damage to 2 years and keep the issue out of the hands of a teabagger controlled house.  Perfectly rational weighing of the risks and benefits of doing a deal now versus later.
            If Obama wins and the Dems take the House the cuts can expire and the Dem House can quickly pass a middle class tax cut. If Obama wins and the GOP retains the House neither Obama not the House is likely to allow the cuts to expire with 4 more years of gridlock ahead. I see no upside to extending the cuts in '10. Understand your comment, politically.  just totally disagree what was best for the country.  

            Eliminate the Bush tax cuts Eliminate Afghan and Iraq wars Do these things first before considering any cuts

            by kck on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 01:03:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Two years of bush tax cuts (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Larsstephens, crystalboy

              for the rich -- in conjunction with those most dems wanted to continue and all the other stuff -- was better in 10 than letting all the taxes to go up (during weak economy) or pushing it over to this congress given the stund they pulled with the debt ceilimg.  The politics were bad -- Obama looked weak, but the policy was effective triage from the catastrophe of elevting teabaggers to comgress.

              With a somewhat stronger economy, a threat to let everythink expire isnt so damaging and that gives Obama some slight leverage.

              "This world demands the qualities of youth: not a time of life but a state of mind[.]" -- Robert F. Kennedy

              by Loge on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 01:51:50 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  Don't forget tax increase from Health Care Reform (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          bear83, CuriousBoston

          PPACA adds a 3.8% tax to investment income (capital gains, dividends, interest, rent, royalties, etc.) starting in January 2013.

          So with no changes to law (Obama not extending Bush tax cuts again) the top income tax rate goes from 35% to (39.6+3.8%) 43.4% which is a 24% increase in marginal taxes due.  So in states and cities with the higher income tax rates the top income tax rate exceeds 50%.

          The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

          by nextstep on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 11:23:16 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Capital Gains (long term) tax still 15%, Not 39.6. (0+ / 0-)

            So at least as to qualified dividends and long term capital gains the statutory rate would be 18.8%, still lower than the 20% that was in place before the Bush Tax Cuts, or the 28% enacted during Reagan's administration, right?

            And the effective income tax rate* of even the highest income brackets (1/10th of 1%) is just a bit over 20% last I looked.  

            http://en.wikipedia.org/...

            *Tax paid compared to taxable income.  

            Someone in a very expensive suit is at the front door and says he wants to foreclose on our democracy. Where should I tell him he can put his robosigning pen?

            by Into The Woods on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 11:48:28 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Qualified Dividends and Long Term Cap Gains (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bear83

              would go from 15% Federal to 23.8% (20% plus 2.8%) in Jan 2013, which is a 58.7% increase in the tax due.

              The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

              by nextstep on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 12:01:30 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  And still 15% lower than under the 1986 Tax Reform (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Meteor Blades

                law.

                And still much lower than in previous decades.

                And that's the statutory rate, not 'tax due'.

                The effective federal income tax rates are often much, much lower than the highest statutory rate that might be applicable.  

                Which is why instead of having federal income "tax due" of 35% in 2007, someone earning more than $2 million paid an effective federal income tax (tax due) rate of about 21.5%.

                So the 'tax due' for someone earning over $2 million was less than the marginal rate applicable to a single taxpayer earning say $60,000.

                It's good to keep those two terms in perspective when discussing actual out-of-pocket impact.

                Someone in a very expensive suit is at the front door and says he wants to foreclose on our democracy. Where should I tell him he can put his robosigning pen?

                by Into The Woods on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 12:24:53 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  There's definitely something to be said (0+ / 0-)

            for doing nothing in Dec 2012.

            It's not the ideal situation, but it is a much fairer set of tax rates than what we have today.

            "Here is my principle: Taxes shall be levied according to ability to pay. That is the only American principle." Franklin D. Roosevelt

            by bear83 on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 12:30:24 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  And it would demonstrate the reduction of deficits (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TofG, Eric Nelson

      and an efficient pathway it will give us once we have truly fair taxation all the way around. It would help shore up evidence that kick starting the deficit reduction without eliminating any 'job creation'. And it shores up resources for necessary safety nets that FDR showed were essential to recovery.

    •  2%? how about 10 %; from 35% to 38% (0+ / 0-)

      80 % of success is JUST SHOWING UP! Japanese's 40 million subsidy to whale hunting is nuts. Newt wants to isolate, crush, and replace the secular socialist left!

      by Churchill on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 11:30:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Let's see... (6+ / 0-)

    --fair
    --revenue positive
    --two-thirds say "yes"

    Go for it, Harry. Let's let the House 'Pubs stew over this one now.

    Corporations are people, my friend Yeah, well, so's Soylent Green, so I don't find that very comforting. New video: Not Enough (HD)

    by Crashing Vor on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 09:54:15 AM PST

  •  I'm curious about how the (8+ / 0-)

    Baggers are going to retaliate or back down on all future negotiations.  These fools are ignorant about even the most basic legislative processes and believe that by stamping their feet and threatening to hold their breath, they can win every fight.

    They have been able to obstruct and threaten and pretty much get their way until the "extra $40 in your paycheck" media blitz by the President and the Dems.

    Boehner has been scared straight over his inability to control the Baggers and has lost almost all credibility to negotiate with the Senate and President.  It is Boehner and the GOPers who are most threatened by the Baggers and it is about an internal war which might so disable the GOPers that the Dems will be able to hold the line and even move some legislation forward.

    May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house. George Carlin

    by msmacgyver on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 09:58:55 AM PST

  •  We should use the same arguments in February (5+ / 0-)

    and not give in on anything else.

    After all, now that the House Republicans have caved once, let's make them do it again.

     

    "Here is my principle: Taxes shall be levied according to ability to pay. That is the only American principle." Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by bear83 on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 10:21:54 AM PST

  •  I hope to be a millionaire someday (9+ / 0-)

    so this is bad, very bad.

  •  Yes, they should keep pushing taxing the rich (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, Pescadero Bill, Philip Woods

    This cannot be dropped from the discussion. Income inequality was highest before the depression in the 30ties. It was highest when revolutions in a number of countries swept capitalism away. Anybody who does not understand that inequality has to come down risks reviving the popularity of Marx and Lenin. This should be a bipartisan issue. Actually, why are only the Democrats trying all they can to keep our capitalism strong? This should be a cause for the GOP.  

    •  Because the GOP doesn't favor actual capitalism, (6+ / 0-)

      only corporate welfare, crony capitalism and oligarchy.

      •  you are right (3+ / 0-)

        I was thinking the same when I wrote this. GOP no longer stands for capitalism. Call it oligarchy, or the dictatorship of the 0.1%

        Capitalism, democracy, a strong economy and peace all depend on a strong middle class. This is what it comes down to.

        •  Capitalism will go on no matter what. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Into The Woods, Philip Woods

          Even during the most depressing times in human history capitalism existed. People bought and sold goods and services.

          There are just diseased forms of capitalism, like what we're suffering through now, and healthy forms of capitalism where government by the people watch over it, regulate it, and prevent it from running roughshod over the populous.

          •  this is simply not true (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Philip Woods

            or are you so young that you did not experience communism and the iron curtain? I have no desire to see countries returning to these kind of experiments. However, make no mistake if the inequality is not brought down, banks are not regulated better and democracy is not restored, you will see this happening again.

          •  People simply buying and selling goods and (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            CuriousBoston

            services doesn't constitute capitalism. Capitalism requires the investment of capital (and placing that capital at risk) with the expectation of making a profit but with the realization that such investment may instead produce no gain or even a loss. Regulation is necessary to prevent investors from being defrauded, to prevent collusion and/or monopolization which limits competition and stifles innovation, and to prevent shoddy goods and services from being marketed to unsuspecting investors and consumers.

            IMO, to paraphrase Churchill, capitalism is the worst of all possible economic systems - except for all the others.    

    •  We just have to turn one more corner, (0+ / 0-)

      and we'll start to see the economic benefit of that adjustment down to 15% tax for capital gains.

      Seriously, it will start to trickle down any year now. Any year...yup.

  •  Taxing inequality !!! (0+ / 0-)

    is the best way to do this. I really like the idea to use the Brandeis Ratio as a measure for taxation. Makes sense and I like to help spreading the word.

    http://www.nytimes.com/...

  •  Democrats need to keep fighting for this one. (4+ / 0-)

    Obama and the Democrats kicked the Republicans' asses with the payroll tax cut, and this is just as much a winning issue. If they keep making an issue out of this, I bet they get it.

    •  Fight until November 2012 (6+ / 0-)

      This is a winner. It also frames the election as those representing the 1% vs those representing the rest of us. Are you paying attention Democrats?

      I'm no philosopher, I am no poet, I'm just trying to help you out - Gomez (from the song Hamoa Beach)

      by jhecht on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 11:12:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've been disappointed with the Dems... (0+ / 0-)

        Still am, on a lot of issues. Things like this make me feel a hell of a lot better about going to the polling place next November.

        The 99% can't match Wall Street in terms of fundraising, but there aren't enough wealthy bankers to win you an election. It's us or them. No more fencewalking, wanting it both ways, bullshit.

  •  Keep hammering away, Harry. Keep beating them (5+ / 0-)

    up with it. It's a winner.

  •  Would Baucus support that? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, Meteor Blades, Eric Nelson

    I think the other three conferees Reid has named would, but I'm not at all sanguine about Baucus.  And we know all the Republican conferees will be opposed.

    With all this manure around, there must be a pony in here somewhere. - Count Piotr Vorkosigan

    by jrooth on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 10:54:46 AM PST

  •  House Dem. Conferees (7+ / 0-)

    Just a reminder, Nancy still needs to appoint conferees to represent the Dem. minority in the House.  Although they don't have significant power on the Committee, it would help if she appointed some Progressive Dems. with strong voices in favor of a millionaires surtax.  It would at least help to balancing things out a bit.

    We'll see what happens, but I trust Nancy to do the right thing.

    "Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and ask, 'Why not?"

    by Doctor Who on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 10:55:05 AM PST

  •  Once Grover Norquist's strangle hold is broken (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, Churchill

    it will be the beginning of the end (I hope) of Neoconservatism. It requires a need for a lot of 'pubs to break from their vow of fealty to the wealthy at once. The time is right to make it 'safe' for them to do so. It might open a door for the need of moderates in the GOP. The Club For Growth cannot retaliate against dozens of pledge breakers, nor would it be a good idea for them to try and bring dozens new Tea Bagger primary challengers  as they will also contend with dozens of Democratic primary challenges. Particularly as the Tea Bag ship continues to sink in the eyes of the American public.

  •  Be careful of what you ask for... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG

    We probably are going to only get 1 shot at raising the taxes on the rich, for a long time at least.  If we squander it for the payroll tax, we'll never be able to get the Bush tax cuts reversed.  We'll raise a lot more revenue by letting the Bush cuts expire than by getting the money for the payroll tax cut.

    The goal should be reversing ALL the Bush tax cuts.

    And don't suggest we'll get both, getting the surtax on payrolls will make it much harder to reverse the Bush tax cuts.

  •  Something's happening here (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, LibertySon

    Balls are sprouting all over Democratic Washington DC.  

    Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich: I'm loving it.

    by NyteByrd1954 on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 11:03:19 AM PST

  •  Cynicism (0+ / 0-)

    Sure!  The tooth fairy will bring it.  Our leaders think that raising this will bring hope to the base, and give Democrats something to trade away, again.  The last part is almost a certainty, but this part of the base can't summon enough belief to have this raise anything but my gorge.

  •  Uh, oh. I briefly saw a picture on MSNBC showing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson

    4 senators (those negotiating?) and one was Max B.
    (Another was Casey, who is generally reliable).

  •  Revived to be knocked down again (0+ / 0-)

    by the revolving villians

    "But once John Boehner is sworn in as Speaker, then he’s going to have responsibilities to govern. You can’t just stand on the sidelines and be a bomb thrower." - President Obama, 12-07-2010

    by justmy2 on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 11:07:57 AM PST

  •  Laying Off Government Workers (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jhecht, Meteor Blades, CuriousBoston

    For those who may not have been watching the employment figures closely, for at least the last 6 months straight while we have been gaining private sector jobs we have been bleeding public sector jobs.  State and local governments are still in the "lay-off" mode and eliminating jobs by attrition which is acting like a brake on the overall job creation trend.  In fact, if governments had just maintained their employment levels over past 6 months we might be looking at unemployment below 8.0% about now.

    The point is that any agreement which results in putting FRederal workers on unemployment is only going to serve to put an additional brake on the overall employment picture resulting in a higher percentage on unemployment come November.  Any wonder why Republicans want to cut the Federal work force.

    "Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and ask, 'Why not?"

    by Doctor Who on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 11:09:27 AM PST

  •  Normally I wouldn't trust Reid to stand up for (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Churchill, TofG, Into The Woods

    anything, since he caves in faster than a legendary temple after you take the ancient treasure.

    But he actually didn't totally fold on the payroll tax cut. I had to save vs. system shock.

    Maybe he is capable of more than just ducking into his turtle shell like a koopa trooper at the first sign of someone jumping at him.

    •  Dems Didn't Beat Down the House GOP. People did. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CuriousBoston

      No coincidence that they caved after they went home.  My guess is that both the face-to-face and polling was showing a political tsunami building.

      But that was opposition to a middle class tax increase.

      Caving to the people's will (66%+) and taxing the wealthy will be a tougher fight.

      Tougher, but worth it both because it will highlight the 1%/99% message finally entering American's consciousness due in no small part to OWS, and because it can be built on in other matters where the 1% is exerting an unbalanced influence on our Country.

      Someone in a very expensive suit is at the front door and says he wants to foreclose on our democracy. Where should I tell him he can put his robosigning pen?

      by Into The Woods on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 12:04:23 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  1% millionaires negociating millionaire tax (0+ / 0-)

    and it is an election year.  not sure I am holding my breath to anything ever actually being implemented for the rich to pay closer to their fair share of taxes.

  •  Reid? I'll believe it when I see it; not likely (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG

    80 % of success is JUST SHOWING UP! Japanese's 40 million subsidy to whale hunting is nuts. Newt wants to isolate, crush, and replace the secular socialist left!

    by Churchill on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 11:18:08 AM PST

  •  Just make capital gains taxable at income tax (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TexasTom, Meteor Blades

    levels.

    That would do a lot.

    It would, at the very least, be a reasonable place to start negotiations.  

    Follow me on Twitter @PeterFlom

    by plf515 on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 11:22:40 AM PST

    •  Yes (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      plf515, Meteor Blades

      Even raising the to capital gains tax rate back up to 28% (which is where it was from 1987 until 1996) would make a huge difference.  Really, if we want to make the income tax system more progressive, this would accomplish far, far more than the millionaire's surtax proposal.

      On top of that, it would open another front in the class war by forcing Republicans to defend the interests of coupon clippers (ie, those who live off of passive income) over the interests of those who actually work for a living.  That's not a fight that we should be running from.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 11:47:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  If the journey of a 1000 miles begins with one (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Eric Nelson, CuriousBoston

    step - then I guess that this is a "first step" worthy of notice!

    * * *
    I like paying taxes...with them, I buy Civilization
    * * *
    "A great democracy must be progressive or it will soon cease to be a great democracy."
    THEODORE ROOSEVELT

    by Angie in WA State on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 11:24:58 AM PST

  •  Reid seems especilly weak where needed most: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Churchill

    reducing or eliminating the filibuster. If Democrats hold the senate by any margin (and I tend to think as of now they will) the only way to get any meaningful environmental, jobs, union, etc. legislation through is 1) eliminate single senator blocks on leg. 2) either eliminate (preferred) or reduce the filibuster.

    If Harry wants to give a sop to GOP then keep it at 60 for the Supreme Court.

  •  Can anyone explain the uptick in 2007? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Into The Woods

    I was really surprised to see that.  I would have assumed the line would be flat, as I don't remember any significant tax reform being passed that year.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 11:30:10 AM PST

    •  The stock market sank... (3+ / 0-)

      ...and when the stock market sank, the portion of income coming from capital gains and dividends declined for the wealthy.  The net result is that a greater portion of the income that they did have came from wages (taxed at 35%) as opposed to capital gains and dividends (both taxed at 15%).

      So it had nothing to do with tax reform, and everything to do with the changing mix of income at the top.

      Political Compass: -6.75, -3.08

      by TexasTom on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 11:50:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not clear if chart is 'effective' or 'statutory' (0+ / 0-)

      rates.

      Seems like it might be effective (or average) rate paid which would be impacted both by the levels of income and by how much of the capital gain and dividends were long-term capital gain and "qualified" dividends that are subject to the lower 15% capital gains rate and how much is subject to ordinary income rates.

      Could be that when the millionaires got wind that the crash was coming, they bailed out of a lot of stocks before the big swoop down began, even if that pushed some of the gains out of the lower rate category.  

      Pure guess.

      Someone in a very expensive suit is at the front door and says he wants to foreclose on our democracy. Where should I tell him he can put his robosigning pen?

      by Into The Woods on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 12:12:03 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Warren Buffet to GOP: Raise my taxes, bro! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CuriousBoston

    Ok, perhaps in somewhat more sedate language, but nonetheless.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 11:41:02 AM PST

  •  Also, missed in all this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CuriousBoston

    is the question of what happens when the payroll tax cut expires again in two months? I think pretty much everyone agrees that it'll be extended again, and perhaps again, and again, through the election (with or without concessions).

    But eventually, it'll have to be restored, because it's just fiscally and politically unsustainable to keep replacing the missing revenue from general revenue. Yet no one will want to be accused of raising taxes on working people in a recession. Which will make restoring it politically challenging, to say the least.

    My suggestion--perhaps Obama & Dems' ace in the hole plan all along, if we're still thinking 11D chess--is to restore part of the payroll tax, perhaps in a more progressive manner, and make up the difference--and then some--by raising the cap (which is how it should have been paid for in the first place). Raise it enough and not only do you make up the difference, but you also make Social Security fully solvent way beyond 30 years. With the added political benefit of forcing Repubs to side with the rich over working people AGAIN (while refusing to help lower the deficit AGAIN), if they oppose this. It would be politically brilliant.

    And the right thing to do, policy-wise.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 11:50:42 AM PST

  •  Eliminate the FICA cap (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CuriousBoston

    And keep the rate where it is. How can the wingers object to having everyone pay the same rate, particularly when it will help make SS solvent again?

    Subtlety: The art of saying what you think and getting out of the way before it is understood.

    by ccallure on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 12:08:18 PM PST

  •  The smart money behind the GOP has to be (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, LibertySon, CuriousBoston

    Looking at this and seeing defeat looming in Nov. and losing Congressional majority status.  Most likely the Presidential race was written off as a loss some time ago.

    But the WSJ pegged it.  Bungled.  

    This isn't going to lead to acceptance, however.  These people will now be fighting for their lives.  The future of the GOP is at stake here.  When the Tea Partiers get saddled with steering the boat onto the shoals,  there will be an attempt to realign the party out of the hands of the rash and reckless.

    Seeing that coming will intensify the struggle within the GOP and Democrats can be smart by not throwing out any life preservers.

    This is the finals round in championship poker.

    hope that the idiots who have no constructive and creative solutions but only look to tear down will not win the day.

    by Stuart Heady on Fri Dec 23, 2011 at 12:11:30 PM PST

  •  Definition of 'fair tax' depends on who you ask (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Meteor Blades
    “I’ve talked to Senate Republicans, plural, who think there should be a fair tax on rich people. I’m going to make sure that my conferees understand that this could be part of what we try to do.”

    'Fair tax on the rich' can be defined as follows:

    Me: Tax 70% of income above $1M, capital gain is income.

    Reid: 2% increase in top rate, 2% decrease in capital gains

    Repubs: 35% of income above $1M will be taken from social security and paid to rich.  Same applies to capital gains, again assessed at 35%.

  •  Just wanted to say this was a great (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CuriousBoston

    diary, with outstanding comments.
        My coment: Give 'em hell, Harry!

  •  Good talking point. Good bargaining chip. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CuriousBoston

    It would be even better if they actually did it.

    Raise the SS payroll tax cap also.  That's how you keep SS solvent and reduce the regression.

  •  Make taxes really fair! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CuriousBoston

    Since the ceiling for "Payroll Taxes" is set at about $107,000 and it is applied to the unadjusted gross income of the middle and working classes, why not make taxes really fair for those who make more than $107,000 by imposing a 14% (the payroll tax for self employed - the real "small business owners") on the unadjusted gross income of all tax payers above $107,000 and earmark it for national debt reduction. Then taxes will be really fair and the Republicans, who are always talking about a "flat tax" being the fairest, will have to impose their favorite form of taxes on their patrons the !%. Anyone making over $107,000 certainly should be able to afford to continue to pay what even those who's income is so low they don't have to pay income taxes still have to pay in payroll taxes!

  •  Are we really going to let the Repugs (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Coastrange

    seemlessly move into this astounding "tax cuts have to be paid for" meme without once mentioning that under the theory of Reaganomics, tax cuts pay for themselves??? And where was this discussion of paying for tax cuts when the Bush extension was capitulated to?

    I still think Democrats are doing a horrible job framing these battles and we're not getting near the mileage out of them as we should. We've had opportunities to make clear to the American people the many ridiculous elements of the conservative agenda but we've barely layed a glove on them.

    We better not spend the next few months turning somersaults trying to "pay for" these tax cuts and then that concept ends whenever a Repug tax plan comes to the table.

  •  AMEN................. (0+ / 0-)
    Standing firm on a millionaire surtax would be a good first baby-step along that path, both symbolic and having a real impact. But only a first step.

    The goal is not to bring your adversaries to their knees but to their senses. -- Mahatma Gandhi

    by Mindmover on Sat Dec 24, 2011 at 02:09:36 PM PST

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