Peace & Justice

This is the blog of the Commission on Peace and Justice for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany, New York.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Higher taxes on the rich?

Whitney Tilson, a hedge fund manager and a member of Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength, recently wrote in The Washington Post about the need to raise his taxes.
I am part of the 1 percent of the 1 percent. I mean, I am fortunate to be a wealthy American and I say, "It's OK to raise my taxes."

I was at the White House last Wednesday supporting President Barack Obama in his call for Congress to pass the "Buffett rule." This legislation — inspired in part by Warren Buffett's exasperation upon learning that his assistant paid a greater percentage of her income in federal taxes than he did — would require anyone whose income exceeds $1 million a year to pay a minimum 30 percent in taxes.

It would hit me hard. I haven't finished my taxes for 2011, but in 2010, my federal tax rate was 21 percent; if the Buffett rule had been in effect, my federal tax bill would have been 40 percent higher. Some years, my taxes would probably be more than 50 percent higher.

Why am I OK with this? Simple math, and basic fairness.

This country is running enormous and unsustainable budget deficits that will bankrupt us all if they are not narrowed. There is no way to do that without both cutting spending and raising revenue.

Everyone is going to have to make sacrifices as part of a comprehensive budget deal along the lines of Simpson-Bowles, with tens of millions of people getting smaller entitlement benefits, for example, and tens of millions of people paying higher taxes.

It's not class warfare to say that people like me — who aren't suffering at all in these tough economic times, who are in many cases doing the best we've ever done — should be the first to make a small sacrifice.

You can read more here. In addition, you might be interested in this survey that shows the majority of Americans support the "Buffett rule."
Seven-in-ten (70%) Americans favor “the Buffett rule,” a proposal to increase the tax rate on Americans earning more than $1 million per year, compared to only 27% who oppose it.

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