In a stirring speech last Wednesday, President Obama reminded us of our common values — that as Americans, we believe in shared sacrifice during tough times, and shared prosperity when times are good.
This Tax Day, we’ve seen those values flipped on their head. While America’s millionaires and billionaires pay the lowest tax rate in 80 years,1 Congress is slashing critical services like food stamps, family planning and foreclosure assistance that keep poor and working folks afloat. It’s immoral and un-American.
We’re with President Obama: it’s past time that we ask the richest Americans to start contributing their fair share. Rep. Jan Schakowsky‘s Fairness in Taxation Act would do exactly that, helping to balance the budget and stop deep cuts by raising taxes on millionaires and billionaires.
There’s real momentum behind this idea — 81% of Americans support increasing taxes on the wealthy.2 Opposing this idea should be a liability for politicians of any party — but Congress needs to hear from us. It starts with you, right now. Please sign our petition asking your Congressional representatives to co-sponsor the Fairness in Taxation Act:
Many in Congress compare the federal budget to a family’s budget. They argue that because the federal government is in so much debt, the nation is broke. And just like broke families need to make hard choices, the government does as well, so they advocate cutting programs that support poor and working folks, along with children, the elderly, and those who need special medical care.
But this is one of several ways their argument falls apart. When times get tough, families don’t abandon the grandparents and the kids because we can’t afford them — we try to bring in more income. A key problem in Washington is that politicians lack the will to tax millionaires and billionaires to bring in more revenue, so they throw grandma, grandpa, and the kids out on the street and under the bus.
The Fairness in Taxation Act attempts to address this by asking those who make $1 million in a year to pay a 45% income tax while billionaires would pay taxes at a 49% rate.3 That’s a big change over the current system, where millionaires and billionaires pay a maximum of 35% and last year paid an average of only 17% of their income in taxes.4 Rates this low haven’t been seen since the 1930s.
Schakowsky’s bill is projected to raise more than $75 billion in new revenues — more than enough to stave off unnecessary cuts to important programs while also helping to reduce the deficit.5 Please urge Congress to support this bold plan:
As our friends at CREDO Action have noted, “Over the years, Republican lawmakers have very successfully promoted the morally bankrupt and economically baseless dogma of ‘tax cuts for the rich, massive spending cuts for everyone else.'” It’s critical that we offer a drastically different economic vision.
That’s because the national budget is more than a roadmap to spending; it’s a statement of values and priorities. Properly taxing millionaires and billionaires would send a clear message that in America, we value feeding the poor and taking care of the sick and elderly. It’s about making sure that everyone has ample opportunity to be successful. As President Obama said, this is fundamentally patriotic.
This is why every member of Congress needs to answer a simple question: will you oppose fair tax rates for the wealthy, or will you stand with everyday Americans who are struggling in this tough economy?
This is more than just a moment to pass a critical piece of legislation — it’s an opportunity to reclaim the nation’s economic narrative. Many have been fooled by the right into thinking that America is broke — but the nation isn’t broke so long as we can raise revenues. Asking the very wealthy and large corporations to pay their fair share is a key part of the conversation that’s been ignored for too long under the GOP‘s “starve the government” philosophy.
Please join us in asking Congress to support Rep. Schakowsky’s tax on millionaires and billionaires, and ask your friends and family to do the same:
Thanks and Peace,
— James, Gabriel, William, Dani, Matt, Natasha and the rest of the ColorOfChange.org team
April 19th, 2011
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1. “Income tax in the United States,” Wikipedia
2. “Sanders introduces millionaire surtax to slash deficit,” Raw Story, 3-11-2011
3. “Schakowsky Introduces Bill to Tax Millionaires and Billionaires,” Press Release, 3-16-2011
4. “Super rich see federal taxes drop dramatically,” Associated Press, 4-17-2011
5. See reference 3