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Enthusiast

(50,983 posts)
Tue Nov 19, 2013, 07:07 AM Nov 2013

For Democrats, a Tax-the-Rich Road to Victory


For Democrats, a Tax-the-Rich Road to Victory


Richard Eskow

As we enter into yet another round of budget discussions, the Democratic Party is confronted with an opportunity – and a challenge. There’s an opportunity to shift the budget debate to an area where they hold the high ground. But it will be a challenge for some Democrats to take the initiative on a subject they seem reluctant to discuss.

The subject is taxes.

Tax increases are a subject people seem reluctant to mention in the nation’s capital. Republicans have convinced everyone inside the Beltway that new tax revenues are politically impossible. The talk on the Hill is that the White House is urging Senate and House Dems to accept a cuts-only budget deal for the next go-round. It seems that the conventional wisdom says tax increases are best left unmentioned.

But the conventional wisdom is wrong.

New polling by Hart Research Associates, conducted for Americans for Tax Fairness, confirms and amplifies findings from earlier studies showing that Americans strongly support higher taxes for the wealthy and corporations. And when we say “strongly,” we mean very strongly.

As that covert recording of Mitt Romney showed last year, some of the “1 percent” think other Americans aren’t pulling their own weight in this economy. As this new polling confirms, the feeling’s mutual. By a seventeen point margin (56 percent to 39 percent), the American people want the next budget agreement to include new tax revenues from corporations and the wealthy.

And despite the conventional wisdom which suggests that “moderates” reject tax hikes, the Hart polling shows that moderates actually want these tax hikes –by an overwhelming forty-two point margin. Registered independents, often thought of as the Holy Grail of electioneering, back them by a nineteen point margin.

The conclusion is inescapable: if Democrats make this budget battle a fight over who has the smartest spending cuts, they’re fighting on the Republicans’ turf. That will weaken them as they enter the 2014 campaigns. But if they make this a fight over taxes and jobs, that’s a fight they can win.
(snip)

http://ourfuture.org/20131117/for-democrats-a-tax-the-rich-road-to-victory?utm_source=signon&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=eskowgo
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JHB

(37,105 posts)
2. A history lesson might help with this...
Tue Nov 19, 2013, 07:55 AM
Nov 2013

Most discussions on this subject mention the top marginal rates of the past (91% in the 50s, 70% in the 60s and 70s, 50% through most of Reagan's presidency, etc.)

I like to highlight a different aspect: leaving aside what the rates were, where did they kick in? We live in times where people argue "are couples who make $250K 'rich'?" "Should we raise taxes on people who make over $250K? Over $500K?"

Where did these sorts of things lie in the past?

Using the inflation adjusted historical tax bracket tables from The Tax Foundation for married couples filing jointly, let's break it down a little and find out the equivalents in 2012 dollars:

1945:
Total number of brackets: 24
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 14
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 9
Top bracket affects income over: $2,551,044

1955:
Total number of brackets: 24
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 16
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 11
Top bracket affects income over: $3,426,776

1965:
Total number of brackets: 25
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 13
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 8
Top bracket affects income over: $1,457,740

1975:
Total number of brackets: 25
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 9
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 5
Top bracket affects income over: $853,509

1985:
Total number of brackets: 15
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 1
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 0
Top bracket affects income over: $360,650

1995:
Total number of brackets: 5
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 1
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 0
Top bracket affects income over: $386,423

2005:
Total number of brackets: 6
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 1
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 0
Top bracket affects income over: $383,773

2013:
Total number of brackets: 7
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 2
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 0
Top bracket affects income over: $440,876

Special Bonus Gipper edition numbers:
1988:
Total number of brackets: 2 (No, not a typo. Two brackets)
# of brackets only affecting income over $250K: 0
# of brackets only affecting income over $500K: 0
Top bracket affects income over: $57,738
(There was a reason why Poppy Bush had to go back on his 'Read My Lips' line -- this rate was so low it was unsustainable (naturally, the RWers crucified him for it). And RWNJ billionaires and their tebagging useful idiots want to go back to this, or lower...)

ALL income tax progressivity for very high incomes was eliminated under Reagan, and has stayed that way ever since.

Enthusiast

(50,983 posts)
4. Excellent point.
Tue Nov 19, 2013, 08:00 AM
Nov 2013

Old Saint Ronnie.

But the public is against the anti-tax ideology. We can win on this issue if Democrats were only willing to pursue it.

StarrGazerr

(60 posts)
7. Changing times
Tue Nov 19, 2013, 08:17 AM
Nov 2013

Excellent post. I'd also be interested in seeing how the percentage of households with two wage earners has changed over that period. When I was growing up most of the mothers stayed home, with a few exceptions which were mostly teachers. A family could live a very comfortable middle class life on one salary, and children weren't forced to spend so much of their time without any parental involvement. AND few people needed to set up a "college fund" the day after a child was born just to try to get them a decent education. Since the "Reagan Revolution", I can think of very few married couples with children that don't need two incomes just to get by.

JHB

(37,105 posts)
16. Basically they took scissors to the rates at the low end...
Tue Nov 19, 2013, 10:26 AM
Nov 2013

...to gain popularity and provide real relief, while taking a chainsaw to rates at the top.

StarrGazerr

(60 posts)
3. I thought Republicans liked the "good old days".
Tue Nov 19, 2013, 08:00 AM
Nov 2013

When I was born, Dwight Eisenhower was President. The top marginal tax rate was 91%. The top corporate rate was 52%. The national debt was $276 billion and didn't reach $300 billion until I was five years old. It didn't hit $400 billion until I was 14. The rich were still rich, and the rich still got richer every year. We had enough money to pay for the construction of an interstate highway system, raise the minimum wage, create the Department of Health, Education and Welfare, and in many states you could get a college education without a student loan. We balanced the budget three times under Ike, and despite the fact that the Democrats had a majority in both houses of Congress during Ike's entire term, there were a total of two cloture votes, and both of them failed. There were zero filibusters, and almost every person Eisenhower nominated to any office was confirmed.

Ah, the "good old days". Maybe if the Republicans wanted to take us back to 1958 instead of 1858 we might have something here.

Nye Bevan

(25,406 posts)
6. Most congressmen, senators and officials aspire to move to Wall Street,
Tue Nov 19, 2013, 08:14 AM
Nov 2013

or become highly paid lobbyists, after their public service.

This provides a huge built-in disincentive for these folks to support significantly higher taxes on the rich.

 

Dawgs

(14,755 posts)
8. Yes, but I would like to see a minimum wage to $10+ first.
Tue Nov 19, 2013, 08:52 AM
Nov 2013

It would be a like a tax on the rich, but also a boost for the poor.

 

Coyotl

(15,262 posts)
12. Agreed. Make "tax equity" an issue. No more "welfare for wealth" tax breaks, loopholes, or rates.
Tue Nov 19, 2013, 09:26 AM
Nov 2013

Fuddnik

(8,846 posts)
13. They want Austerity? How about Austerity for the Rich?
Tue Nov 19, 2013, 09:36 AM
Nov 2013

Make a maximum income of about $5 million per year, and not allow an accumulation of more than 5 times that amount.

Poor fucking babies will have to live on surf and turf for breakfast.

Pump all that money into the economy where it will do some real good, instead of buying our political system.

pampango

(24,692 posts)
17. The key to a more equitable distribution of income here - in addition to being a winning
Tue Nov 19, 2013, 10:27 AM
Nov 2013

electoral strategy.

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