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Sheldon Whitehouse
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (Larry Downing/Reuters)
Senate Democrats are talking about a new strategy for tax reform that highlights the "Buffett Rule," the proposal stemming from billionaire Warren Buffett's campaign to pay a higher tax rate than his secretary. In his State of the Union address Tuesday, President Obama called for a the rule, saying that anyone making in the seven figures should have to pay at least 30 percent in taxes.

Those Democrats weren't just talking. They've got a proposal ready to go, according to Greg Sargent.

I’m told that Senator Sheldon Whitehouse [D-RI] is set to announce a proposal to do just this. The Senate Dem leadership is not commenting on this idea, but Dem leaders are looking for ways to hold votes on the agenda Obama laid out in his State of the Union speech. This would accomplish that perfectly. [...]

Whitehouse’s office shared some details of the proposal — which is called “Paying A Fair Share Act,” and will be introduced by Whiteouse next week.

The bill would require millionaires (well, their accountants) to calculate their overall tax responsibility—taking into account all income under every tax rate—in the current system, excluding charitable donations. If their effective tax rate is less than 30 percent, they would be required to pay 30 percent of all their income.

Whitehouse is pushing for a stand-alone vote on this bill, for it not to become a part of a larger package. It has the advantage of not requiring any tinkering with the existing tax structure, it works with it, and thus can be voted on quickly and not included in a long and drug out serious of compromises required in a larger tax reform debate.

It would also have the advantage of putting Republicans on the record right now for tax fairness, when the topic is white hot. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid should definitely force this issue now, and the Whitehouse proposal is the perfect vehicle for it.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 11:13 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Lying Republicans will have (9+ / 0-)

    plenty of excuses why they can't vote on this. It will die a quick death in this congress I feel certain.

    •  Sure, but more of this, please! (20+ / 0-)

      More, more, MORE!

      This is an election year. I want Republicans to have to explain, and explain again, why they're voting against things that most of the American people think make pretty good sense.

      We should all email or write Senator Whitehouse. If other Dems get the idea that this sort of thing is popular, maybe it will embolden them.

      We need to embolden Congressional Dems.

      •  Furthermore (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        TofG, cany, Kinak, Radical def, Matt Z

        congress won't do any business this year anyway.

        Reporting on congress here is quite clear that at best post offices will be named.

        So democrats should put up these propaganda bills to draw a contrast.

        •  I see a difference between a bill like this (5+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          IM, OldDragon, cybersaur, Radical def, Matt Z

          and a gimmick, like attaching Keystone to last year's payroll tax cut with a short fuse to force the president to reject approval.

          We actually think what's in this bill is a good idea. We support the policy. If Republicans see the light and vote for it, great!

          If they don't, well, then they give us a good club to beat them with. It's their choice.

          The Keystone gimmick Republicans added to the payroll tax bill actually made it less likely that the pipeline would be built. If they hadn't tried to make a political football out of it, it's very likely it would have been approved in due course sometime after the election. Now, who knows?

          •  The best (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Radical def, elmo

            propaganda is always the truth. So of course this law should be passable and I think could be passed and is an entirely workable bill.

            A bill, in other words that George Romney would have supported.

            Only the political realities of this congress in this election year make this bill a pure symbolic gesture.

      •  Simpler way to do it (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Radical def

        First, no preferential rate for dividends and boost capital gains rate back to 28%.

        Second, disallow all deductions and credits for those making above $1million, except maybe chritable deductions.

        If they did that, they could probably leave overall rates unchanged and still raise a significant amount.  They could all say they hadn't voted to change tax rates, and it would make the tax code much simpler.

        The scientific uncertainty doesn't mean that climate change isn't actually happening.

        by Mimikatz on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 01:31:10 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Whatever works, to squeeze 'em some moar (0+ / 0-)

          While "some people" might scream about "compromise", and "sell out", lol, on both the Right and the purported left, I see no reason not to cut whatever deal we can, to cut the peeps any slack we can, as soon as possible.

          The Republicans are going down, and the rich are going to have to pay, and there's no escaping it for them now, heh.

          I think we can expect the Prez and the Party to step out more boldly, going forward.  

          But however correctly, falteringly, even uncooperatively they may act on our behalf, it's still ALL on us, to mobilize the masses for the Primaries, and for November, to bring forward the best possible candidates and to and get them elected.

          Whether the Prez or the Party "leadership" help us "enough", or even like it, or want it, or not, heh.

          Seize the Time!

          Seize the Power!

          Bring the Better Democrats!

          Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle.

          by Radical def on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 03:09:49 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  "except maybe chritable deductions." (0+ / 0-)

          I'm not sure where I stand on the whole issue of deductions for charitable donations. Personally, I never claim a deduction for my donations - it doesn't feel like true charity if I get a tax write-off for it.

          I think my bigger issue is - what is classed as a charity? I don't think religious institutions should be included, as they have agendas beyond simple charity. Are you happy Mitt's donations get tax deductions when they go to the Mormon church to fund bigotry in Prop 8?

          I guess you could use the same argument against donations to PETA, Greenpeace, etc, and that's where it gets gray for me. The more money those guys get the better, and if deductions enhance giving, great.

          •  It's the necessary carrot. (0+ / 0-)

            Those wealthy enough to make charitable donations in such an amount to make a dent in their income are "sometimes" those same people who resent taxes in the first place. If you force them to give that same money to the government against their will, even more money will be successfully taken out of circulation/hoarded, and nobody wins.
            You're last two paragraphs hit the nail on the head. What is classified as a qualifying charity is what must be heavily regulated, and at this point, some religions/churches no longer qualify, imho, based on what they then do with the money.

  •  I was under the impression that all bills (8+ / 0-)

    affecting revenue must originate in the House. Is this not the case?

    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 Jan 27, 2012 at 11:23:54 AM PST

  •  So it sounds like AMT part deux. (8+ / 0-)

    Query whether munis will be part of that.  Certainly state & local governments will lobby furiously against that, since it'll raise their borrowing costs.

    It'll also be interesting to how it's phased in.  Maybe a surtax that's charged between $1 and $10MM of income until it hits 30%.  That could create a marginal rate of >50% on income (combined fed & state).  And the hike in LTCG tax will be ginormous over the income thresholds.

    •  Oy (0+ / 0-)

      Why do I have that creeping feeling of impending dread that I get everytime Democrats in Congress try to right some wrong vis a vis the tax code.

      Maybe I'm just being paranoid...

    •  burrow owl (0+ / 0-)

      The way this is worded, it seems like there is a gaping loophole, namely, all taxes paid for all incomes and excluding charitable donations.

      Does this mean that J. Q. Moneybags III can suddenly donate massive amounts to charity and bring his total income down far enough to make his existing tax burden > 30%?

      How much of that charity money would go to "The Save the Senators" fund or "Toys for Already Spoiled Tots?"

    •  How do you figure greater than 50%? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      johnny wurster

      The highest tax state brackets are Hawaii and New Jersey, which approach 11%.

      "Well, I'm sure I'd feel much worse if I weren't under such heavy sedation..."--David St. Hubbins

      by Old Left Good Left on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 12:34:30 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here's what I was thinking: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        figure 35% baseline + ~10% state tax + ~3.5 PPACA surcharge, so we're at 48.5, and figure around 42 - 45 for the deduction on state tax.  Just for easy math, let's call it 45%.  And then there's gotta be an additional surcharge on income in order to bump the effective rate up to 30% from whatever it is.  

        When I reran a little hypo, though, I came up w/ something more reasonable.  Assume the phase-in is between $1MM & $10MM & a NJ rate of 8.97%, and assume non-charitable deductions of $1MM.  So that's fed tax of 1.2MM and NJ tax of 897k.  In order to get 3MM by the $10MM threshold, it's an additional $198k in tax / million of income.  Or, a surcharge of almost 20%.  So that's the all-in rate is 12% + 9% (state) + 20% surcharge + 3% PPACA = 44%.  All things considered, that's reasonable.

        Thanks for forcing me into the exercise.

        •  Take it ALL, and then maybe give some back (0+ / 0-)

          ...according to their practice in business and society.

          Like, say, anything over a quarter of a million of income OR "assets", should be seized.

          The "owners" should all get a fair and speedy trial.

          Subsidies and incentives for those with correct practice, and sanctions against those who have violated the public interest, in direct proportion to how heinous their crimes against humanity may be.

          Seems like a no-brainer, to me.

          All those...numbers?  

          I'll leave the gory details to the policy wonks.  



          Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle.

          by Radical def on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 03:33:27 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  actually Alternative AMT? (0+ / 0-)

      It sounds simple, but implementing it would be complicated -- sounds like people in that income bracket (or close to it) would have to figure taxes 3 ways: regular, old AMT, and this new AMT2. Computer software can do it, but making sure your software package has the right coding in it is expensive. And there would always be people close to the magic line with an incentive to understate income to get them just under the line.

      I wish that instead they would rework the existing AMT -- and while they're doing that, index it for inflation as they should have done originally and perhaps shift the impact on moderate income large families, so Congress doesn't have to do a temporary fix every year (giving the GOP one more thing to hold hostage).

  •  Good idea --get 'em on the record now (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DRo, Radical def, PorridgeGun

    Great to feel some forward motion on our side.

    GOP = Greedy One Percent

    by Palafox on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 11:26:55 AM PST

  •  Frontal Assault on Free Enterprise! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IM, Dirtandiron, Radical def

    Alert! Alert!

    Whitehouse is attacking the Free Enterprise with this bill!  

  •  With my luck (7+ / 0-)

    This will pass and then I'll win the lottery.

    Man, would that suck.


    We get what we want - or what we fail to refuse. - Muhammad Yunus

    by nightsweat on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 11:29:05 AM PST

  •  Sounds good to me, for starters... (4+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    LI Mike, DRo, Crazy like a fox, ChadmanFL
    Hidden by:
    Mindful Nature

    Personally, I'd like to just arrest everyone making over a couple hundred thou, and seize all their assets.

    Not saying they should be dragged out into the street and shot, out of hand.

    They should get a fair trial, first.

    Those who have genuinely tried to do the right thing, in terms of labor and environmental standards, say, and have paid their fair share of taxes, should get a prize, and incentives to continue such practices, with substantially increased, but fair tax rates

    IE: Fair = determined by a genuine democratic process, after some reasonable electoral, campaign finance and media reforms have allowed that to emerge, for a change.

    Those who have ripped off, unjustly exploited, murdered, etc. should face revolutionary popular democratic justice.

    Oh well, nobody listens to me, heh.

    Meanwhile, tax the rich, Moar, you bet...this will no doubt be very popular, and it will help move us in the right direction.

    Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle.

    by Radical def on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 11:30:30 AM PST

    •  Nobody listens to you? Gee.. wonder why??? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      TofG, erush1345

      You make so much sense!  But why bother with the trials??

      •  Why bother with trials? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        What, are you calling me a wimpy liberal, for not demanding a summary bullet to the head?

        While I think anti-democratic traitors forfeit their civil rights, to a very substantial degree, and should not get a freakin' vote, I am willing to recognize their fundamental human rights.

        I'm not about being mean to the pigs, or grinding their face in the dirt, just to get "even".  

        The debt they owe to humanity can never really be paid...but the least we can do is stop them from running amok.

        Now, those who resist the popular democratic mandate, they may require more draconian action, especially if they "rise up" militarily.

        Which may be a likely prospect, since they are already calling for political assassination, mass murder and civil war, arming themselves to the teeth with military weapons, and committing heinous acts of terrorism.


        Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle.

        by Radical def on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 12:14:56 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Couldn't agree more (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Radical def

          I say reform them if possible through political/economic re-education.  Though as you say, most of those you speak of need to be outright removed from society one way of another.  

          •  tyvm... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            And I think we will treat them a lot nicer than they have Evah treated us.

            Instead of just knocking them on the head and throwing them in a cage, to be raped and otherwise brutalized and further dehumanized, and left to rot, we'll offer them actual rehabilitation, and material incentives for getting on the bus, to rejoin society in a more correct and principled manner.

            Only the most intransigent and recalcitrant, and those who have committed the most heinous crimes against humanity should have to do hard time.

            Whether the death penalty should be retained for some cases will have to be decided by the popular democratic will, which I'm willing to accept...once the Right has been thoroughly purged and suppressed, heh, and denied any vote on such issues.

            "Wait, Wait!  I vote to cut myself loose, to run amok!!1!"

            I don't Think so, bubba

            Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle.

            by Radical def on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 02:06:06 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  They already think we have concentration camps (0+ / 0-)

              The right-wing loons already think we have concentration camps (FEMA camps) set up all over the country.  The Youtube videos posted by the conspiracy nuts of alleged "FEMA camps" and "FEMA coffins" are hilarious.  I say make their wishes come true and open them for business.  ;)

        •  Hey.. I have some farm land we could use for (0+ / 0-)

          the re-education camps!

    •  This comment has distinctive troll-like airs to it (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      It's making my teeth itch, just like trolls do....

      "Repeatedly he [Voltaire] dwelt on the folly and credulousness of the masses and the selfishness and unscrupulousness of the ruling few." 'nuff said.

      by caseynm on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 11:57:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sorry to make you nervous... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        But if you haven't done anything wrong, you shouldn't have anything to worry about, heh.

        It's true though, Blue Dogs, and Right wingers do tend to call me a freakin' troll, LOL.

        Indeed, many on the purported left also object obstreperously to my thinking, and saying out loud, that I believe we can conceivably achieve a much more genuine and viable democracy via the Democratic Party, and that this would be a good step toward justice and peace, to save the planet.

        Maybe you're afraid the right will quote my remarks, as representative of "all Democrats", and use that to sway "undecided" and "swing" voters their crazy way?

        I got news for ya, they are already doing that just fine, without me, and are preparing to kill us all, should it prove "necessary" to prevent democracy.

        And anyway, Fuck a whole bunch of people who can't make up their minds between the Republicans and Democrats, at this stage of the game.  WTF good are they?

        We don't "need" another crop of Blue Dogs, to replace those we just finally got rid of in 2010.

        What we need is a mass electoral uprising, explicitly to purge and suppress the Right, for everything they have been doing to us, and the whole world, these many years.

        Unless and until we do that, the whole world is screwed.

        You don't have to use my rhetoric, heh...but just saying.

        Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle.

        by Radical def on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 12:28:11 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  How very Khmer Rouges (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Matt Z

      Of you.  Going to check for callouses before shooting people?

      •  I'll leave such criteria up to... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        the popular democratic will, which I expect will be far less draconian than that.

        Interesting that you would equate a call for social and economic justice with Khmer Rouges.

        Would that make it OK for me to call you a supporter of monopoly corporate fascism?

        Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle.

        by Radical def on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 12:30:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  just calling for vengeful violence will do it. (0+ / 0-)
          Personally, I'd like to just arrest everyone making over a couple hundred thou, and seize all their assets.

          Not saying they should be dragged out into the street and shot, out of hand.

          They should get a fair trial, first.

          Advocating violence against a particular group of people as subject to some majoritarian impluse to achieve your political aims is pretty much not anywhere within the scope of alling for social or economic justice.  

          I'd expect you to call names, actually,based on your comment above.

          •  You got some kind of big problem... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            with democracy?

            We now have a grossly unjust death penalty, and various other "policies" that allow for, and even facilitate both individual and mass murder by corporate scum.

            For you to call me "violent" for proposing that such people, who commit such acts, should NOT just be treated meanly, but Should get a fair trial, and be subject to popular democratic justice, whatever that may be determined to be, democratically, electorally, seems...disingenuous.

            I'm no freaking pacifist.  When someone is trying to kill me, I fight back...they attack at their own peril.  The class war is on, and intensifying.  

            We didn't start it, but only we can end it.

            We fought a war, to defeat fascism.  Does that make us "violent"?  Don't answer that,'s a deeper question than is appropriate for this diary, and strictly rhetorical.

            The point is, I'm pissed, and so is everyone else, and rightfully so.  To demand justice, even though that means violence is likely to ensue to prevent justice from happening, does not make one "violent", per se.

            Oh well...if it gives you any consolation, I also think that many elements of the Bourgeoisie can be more or less won over, to support a more viable democracy, and others can be co-opted, or coerced (politically speaking, of course) not to oppose it.

            My criteria is NOT how much money does one have, so much as how did they get it, and what do they do with it?

            It's much less about what's squirming around in their brains, which we can't control (yet, heh).  It's ALL about their practice, what material effects that has on society, and what society is going to do about that, democratically, electorally, and, of course, legislatively and judicially.

            The military aspect is only a last resort, to defend democracy, should that prove necessary, which it probably will.

            Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle.

            by Radical def on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 01:22:07 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  DUDE! "Give em a fair trial, then hang em"?? (0+ / 0-)

      That is exactly what this

      Not saying they should be dragged out into the street and shot, out of hand.
      They should get a fair trial, first.

      sounds like and why you are getting slammed on this. My first response was-"French Revolution, Committee of Public Safety, anyone?"

      Wanna clarify?

      "Repeatedly he [Voltaire] dwelt on the folly and credulousness of the masses and the selfishness and unscrupulousness of the ruling few." 'nuff said.

      by caseynm on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 03:34:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  OK, OK, it's a provocative rhetorical ploy... (0+ / 0-)

        Warren Buffet, I would not shoot, nor anyone else who surrenders voluntarily and requests amnesty.

        I do think Buffet should still get a fair trial, but it seems he'd probably get off light, ya know?

        We pay the Cops, Sheriff, IRS, DOJ, NG, et all to pack the heat, and take care of that kinda business.

        By no means would I advocate any kind of individual, vigilante, unregulated rogue "militia", or mob action.

        Unless you would call the popular democratic will, as expressed through an electoral mandate a "mobocracy" such as anti-democratic elitists tend to do, heh.

        Like the damn Birchers, Libertarians, LOL

        "This is NOT a Democracy, it's a Republic!!!1!"

        I never can get an explanation about what they don't get, about Democratic Republic.

        Just a lot of jive about how democracy would "really" be a dictatorship...since it would presume to dictate to them that they cannot be a racist, sexist, eco-raping, murderous capitalist ripoff, or imperialist warmonger, I guess.

        "It's our God-given Right, to be Free to run amok!!!1!"

        Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle.

        by Radical def on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 04:00:28 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Remove "Capital Gains" From The Tax Code (13+ / 0-)

    Just take out the distinction.  Don't introduce a new complexity.  Add capital gains to all other sources of income to get gross income.  Period.

    •  Couldn't do that (0+ / 0-)

      it would directly effect the money our congress critters make of capital gains, bi-partisanly. Whitehouse makes a fortune being a major trader of Goldman Sachs alone. This depression has made them richer.  If you think that their going to reform anything  that makes them this much money your delusional. The interest's of our ruling glass conflict literally with our 'national interest' and our common good. The deficit is a direct result of their mendacity and corruption.

      The debt/ tax reform kabuki is to me the most absurd of all their corrupt posturing. why would they want to put a dent in their golden gooses bounty. Besides they need to create some wealth so that 'innovative entrepreneurs' like Steve Jobs can make them some more and create worker slave jobs in China.

      We need to stay competitive in the race to the top and as Obama said of the health insurance extortionist's, 'we do not disparage wealth creation'. In fact we worship it and we all need to sacrifice our well being and our planet so that they can make more profit of the inevitable-world as we find it. The one they arrogantly believe is theirs to pillage and destroy.


      •  Dude! Take no prisoners! (0+ / 0-)

        While I sympathize and identify strongly with your...perspective, I am more optimistic.

        I think that with the help of people like Buffet and, yes, the Prez, and the Progressive Caucus, and other liberal and rational, moderate elements in the Democrat Party, we could, conceivably, attain sufficient plurality in the House and Senate to enact some fairly substantial and meaningful electoral, campaign finance and media reforms, that would allow a more viable democracy to emerge, toward more optimal programs and policies on all fronts.

        Would it be utopia yet?  I think not.

        But meanwhile we could roll out the new green paradigm all the way, put everyone back to work, bring home the troops, have pensions, houses, health care, education, etc., and bring to justice the traitors committing heinous crimes against humanity, etc. moar.

        Of course, less progressive plurality in Congress, not so much, or worse.

        But its seems worthy of our best shot, in terms of saving millions of lives, the fact that the ice caps are melting faster and faster, and also in recognition of the very strong popular democratic mandate of '08, rejecting Both Right wing lines And left boycott and splitting lines...don't you think?

        Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle.

        by Radical def on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 04:19:42 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  sounds good (0+ / 0-)

          too bad it isn't going to happen at least not until we somehow take back our party from the Third Wayer's and bankster's who now run and own it, including the WH. Congress critters both D's and R's are not about to purpose any reform that cut's into the capital gains they make and that is where they make the big bucks. Here's an eye opener about the amounts were talking. btw Whitehouse is supposed to be a progressive liberal Dem. so color unimpressed that he's willing to pay more on his taxable income. Goldman Sachs rules the world as the trader said.

  •  "Paying a Fair Share Act"? (7+ / 0-)

    Obviously Luntz' entry "Penalizing Job Creators and Killing Entrepenuership as We Know It" was rejected.

    More of this please.

  •  Whitehouse, you Commie socialist bastard. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cocinero, IM, cany

    Oh sorry. I was just working on my inner Republican for a second.

    I can just about forgive the Brits for starting our revolutionary war and burning DC to the ground during the war of 1812 for giving us Led Zeppelin.

    by Pager on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 11:33:47 AM PST

  •  Rebrand: Call it the "Romney Rule" (9+ / 0-)

    The Buffet Rule is a very nice name, but we should call this the Romney Rule.  He is the quintessential example of the type of corporate tax giveaway that we need to stop.

    Even if you support capital gains tax breaks, Romney shouldn't qualify for them.  Capital gains tax breaks are designed to reward those who put their own money at risk by investing it in American businesses.  Romney never put a dime of his own money at risk -- yet takes the break anyway!  

  •  capital gains??? (0+ / 0-)

    i wonder does this include capital gains income?  or will they wiggle around that calling it profit on investments?  
    they should hammer on capital gains as being income.

    •  Pointless if (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Of course it must include capital gains - it would be a pointless law with out it.

    •  Capital gains (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      I am not particular driven about what the Capital Tax gains should be - but by even arguing about it one actually undermines the political strength of this new proposal since once your income exceeds $1m then of course you would tax Capital Gains at 30%.

      The beauty of the current proposal would be the simplicity of the target - i.e it is not targeting millionaires (many of whom have worked hard /saved hard to get to that postion over a lifetime) but rather targeting people who make a $1m per year in mainly unearned Income - i.e they are not necessarily working that hard - hence Romney is the prime target.

      This is a very important distinction.

  •  This line jumped out at me: (0+ / 0-)
    -taking into account all income under every tax rate—

    Does that include income earned from capital gains?
    Personally, I'd rather see an overhaul of the tax code, with an upper bracket in line with what it was during the Clinton years, and capital gains taxed the same as ordinary income, with a modest reduction in rate for long-term (and I mean legimately long term) investment to reduce volatility.
    But if Whitehouse's idea is more easily done, then I say go for it.

    Taking a cue from Italian cruise ship Captain Francesco Schettino, Newt Gingrich now claims he did not commit adultery, but that "Calista slipped and fell onto my penis."

    by jazzmaniac on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 11:45:46 AM PST

    •  agree it should be higher (0+ / 0-)

      It seems that the Obama Syndrome is in effect again.  Why not propose a rate of, say, 50% and then negotiate?  

      In this proposal, they're starting at 7% less than the 1990s rate, and in negotiations, it would likely be lowered to maybe half that amount -- that is, the 15% the obscenely wealthy already moan is way too high and do their best to come in under.  

      •  I'm not sure, but I think the rate you refer to (0+ / 0-)

        in the 90s was the top marginal rate, or in other words the rate on the top segment of income, with each segment underneath taxed at a lower and lower rate.
        If I understand Whitehouse's proposal correctly, the 30% minimum rate would apply to all income, once a certain income level was exceeded.

        If that casino mogul is betting ten million dollars of his own money that Gingrich will be President, then that's the casino I want to be playing in.

        by jazzmaniac on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 03:03:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That is how I read it... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jazzmaniac, wsexson

          Unfortunately, it makes a stupid Tea Party argument a reality.  The argument that some one won't be more productive because taxes cause them to make less money.  If one makes $999,999 per year the taxes are say about 20% or $200,000.  But, at 1,000,001 this rule kicks in and the taxes become about $300,000.  So, making $2 more per year in gross income results in a $100,000 increase in tax liability.

          We don't want to make that argument a reality.  It is an easy one to shoot down now with a simple "You are an idiot who does not understand marginal tax rates."

  •  Isn't this just an AMT for rich people? (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elmo, xenopus17, TomFromNJ, ChadmanFL, Matt Z

    Which I think is a great idea as the current AMT is I understand increasingly unfair to the middle class since it isn't being adjusted often enough.

    Call it the Alternative Millionaires Tax.

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

    by kovie on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 11:46:13 AM PST

  •  Sounds fair to me n/t (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Radical def

    Honesty pays, but it doesn't seem to pay enough to suit some people. Kin Hubbard

    by Mr Robert on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 11:47:58 AM PST

  •  I (6+ / 0-)

    read this over at NC

    Passing Money Down To His Family

    Romney’s sons have a trust fund worth $100 million.

    Johnston says currently the maximum amount a married couple can pass to their children without paying gift taxes is $10 million. But the Romney’s confirmed through their lawyers that they did not pay any gift tax on the $100 million account. How is this possible?

    “They apparently gave the sons some of their carried interest. And because the carried interest is not an ownership, it is a right to receive profits, Congress lets you value that gift at zero,” Johnston said.

    “When you get the income you have to pay it at the 15 percent rate. It means that the parents have effectively pushed forward not just the 100 million the sons have, they avoided the 31 million in gift tax, so they’ve really in effect given their sons the equivalent of $130 million without paying any tax and nobody can do that except people who run private equity funds like Bain Capital Management,” Johnston said.

    Will the Mitt/Newt Slugfest Boost the Occupy Movement?
    •  There are a few other ways the kids (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      VClib, Radical def, Crazy like a fox

      could have all that.  They could've used their gift tax exemption (the unified credit) and engaged in smart estate planning.  They also could've used large loans to the trust.  The loans wouldn't show up on the income tax returns, so just because we can't see them doesn't mean they're not out there.

      They probably did gift carried interests to the trust, of course.  That said, I've seen trusts that big that didn't get the benefit of carried interest gifting.

    •  Crazy - there are many investment partnerships (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Radical def, Crazy like a fox

      where the managing partners have a carried interest that are not private equity funds. Using a partnership structure, and allocating ownership to the managing partner, has been common for 60 years and is used extensively in real estate, movies, oil & gas exploration and development, venture capital and hedge funds in addition to private equity funds. This technique can also be implemented using stock options, so the notion that only private equity fund managers can do this type of estate planning is wrong.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 02:54:07 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  And then the kids can say they didn't (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Radical def, Crazy like a fox

      Inherit the money too.  That's just ducky.

      Is there any wonder why societies eventually erupt into violent revolution?

      Can't never did nothin'; Can Do did!

      by susanWAstate on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 03:26:52 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But this is the USA, here and now (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        susanWAstate, Crazy like a fox

        ...going into the 21st Century, and I think we have good prospects going forward without violent revolution.

        Which is no guarantee that violent anti-democratic counter-revolution will not ensue, but the stronger the popular democratic mandate, the more quickly and effectively that can be suppressed.

        Less of a mandate, not so much, or worse.

        I think this is a critical aspect of our realpolitik that more people need to be aware of, and think about...

        Not the armed struggle part, so much, but the urgency of the electoral struggle, to seize the power.

        We need to go into these primaries, and then November, with a do or die attitude here, people.

        The ice caps are melting faster and faster, and we don't have another generation or two, to sort this all out.

        Obama seems unlikely to lose the presidency.

        This is really ALL about the relative left/right plurality in Congress, and down the ladders of power, coming out of November.

        Sometimes it seems the Right sees the writing on the wall more clearly than many on the purported left...the Right is growing increasingly hysterical and draconian in their rhetoric and practice, virtually freaking out.

        The revolution is at hand, if we want it.

        Democracy is the most fundamental revolutionary principle.

        by Radical def on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 04:46:14 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  And Republicans won't filibuster this because....? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Radical def

    "Repeatedly he [Voltaire] dwelt on the folly and credulousness of the masses and the selfishness and unscrupulousness of the ruling few." 'nuff said.

    by caseynm on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 11:53:06 AM PST

  •  I can already tell you (6+ / 0-)

    How they'll spin this, because I've already heard it from some of them when talking about Romney's tax returns.

    They'll argue that instead of raising the taxes on the rich, we should lower taxes on everyone to what Romney pays.  

    The actual practical effect of that would be to totally eviscerate the government to the point that none of it would function at all, but then again Republicans seem to fantasize about the idea of living in Somalia anyway.

  •  Reconciliation. I didn't sleep much last night, so (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    TofG, Kinak

    forgive me if I got this screwed up, but couldn't they use reconciliation and a simple majority to do this since it clearly affects the budget?  

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt. Bertrand Russell

    by accumbens on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 11:55:11 AM PST

  •  He kinda looks like Aaron Eckhart (0+ / 0-)

    I just noticed in that pic he looks like an older version of Aaron Eckhart who played Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight.

  •  Another way to make this more pointed (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IM, Radical def

    With 7 of the top 10 richest members of congress being democrats, ALL of these people should stand ready to vote in favor of this proposal (which I absolutely LOVE) whenever it is offered up in their chamber of congress.

    Talk about forcing the issue !!  If repubs vote against it, dems can offer up to them that even their most wealthy members are willing to "pay their fair share".

    - If you don't like gay marriage, blame straight people. They're the ones who keep having gay babies.

    by r2did2 on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 12:03:49 PM PST

  •  Great Idea but (0+ / 0-)

    But I am not sure if this was logically explained above. So even though I am not familiar with the proposal surely the below logic would apply.

    Imagine some one with 1m of Taxable Income - but all Capital Gain (or otherwise unearned) - I beleive it would still be logical for the tax bill to be $150,000 (assuming that the capital gains tax remains the same.

    Now imagine the same person but with $2m of income and all capital Gains - he would now pay $150,000 plus $300.000 = $450,000 - taking his effective rate to 22.5%

    Obviously as the Income gets larger this issue gets significantly reduced. But can not simply go from 15% to 30% ($150,000 ) tax simply by getting $1 of Income over $999,999.

  •  By proposing 30% rate, does Obama (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    want Romney to emigrate?

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in a flag and carrying a cross." Sinclair Lewis, 1935 --Talk of foresight--

    by tuma on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 12:11:50 PM PST

  •  Forget the Republicans..... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RhodaA, PorridgeGun

    ...what about Conserva"dems" like Bayh, Baucas and Nelson?

    Who believes this bill will get the 60 votes needed to pass the "permanent filibuster"?

    While I don't hold Obama in high esteem, that doesn't mean I would say he's the Devil Incarnate and the lessor of evils. He is merely the lessee of evils.

    by xynz on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 12:13:21 PM PST

  •  30% total tax rate? Why so low? (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IM, PorridgeGun, Matt Z, wsexson

    If someone had introduced a bill setting 30% as the floor back in 1950, conservatives oud have jumped for joy.

    You can tell Monopoly is an old game because there's a luxury tax and rich people can go to jail.

    by Simian on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 12:14:53 PM PST

  •  "Paying A Fair Share Act" -- REALLY? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Good lord Dems are bad at naming things.

    Fair Taxes Act?
    Fairer Taxes Act?
    Tax Fairness Act?
    Tax Justice Act?

    All taken...I guess?

  •  I guess it's a start (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PorridgeGun, wsexson

    But even 30% is a joke.  We need a top tax bracket of >50% to really make things fair and expand social programs.  Sadly it's probably a long-term goal.

  •  I'm sure it will sail right through n/t (0+ / 0-)

    "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!"

    by jkay on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 01:43:27 PM PST

  •  i hope Senator Whitehouse (0+ / 0-)

    has political ambitions befitting his last name

    "Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D."
    Must see video: When Mitt Romney Came to Town

    by TrueBlueMajority on Fri Jan 27, 2012 at 04:17:10 PM PST

  •  super AMT? (0+ / 0-)

    And what makes this any different from a super AMT?

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