Forget the "Buffett rule." It's not enough. What's more, "letting the Bush tax cuts expire for the rich" isn't enough either -- although it might get us halfway there.
As for that "Simpson Bowles" so-called "deficit reduction" plan: It's a hoax, another ploy to give the ultra-rich yet another huge tax cut -- unless you believe that the lobbying fairy will magically grant a wish that's never been granted before: an end to billionaires' loopholes.
If you buy that -- which I don't -- then the plan's just grossly unfair.
The real moment of truth Washington won't face is this one: It's time to admit that we can't rebuild our economy -- or balance the Federal budget -- without raising taxes on the very wealthy. That's what Simpson, Bowles, and all their highly-funded friends won't tell you: We need to raise their taxes a lot.
And by "a lot," I mean doubling them.
Left Is Right
Let's be clear: I'm not talking about imposing sharp increases on incomes over $250,000 or even $500,000, at least not until the economy's healthier. At those levels an expiration of the Bush tax cuts would probably be enough. But once you hit income of a million dollars a year and over, we should go back to the higher tax rates that were in place for millionaires during the Nixon years.
That's right: When it comes to taxes, Nixon's the One. And Eisenhower was much stronger on these issues than Nixon.
The public's being bludgeoned by deficit reduction rhetoric from people who clearly couldn't care less about deficits. They certainly don't intend to do anything about them. Ike and Nixon would throw them out of the cabinet room if they walked in with proposals like these.
Once we get back to their brand of Republicanism, we can revitalize the genuine left and start having a real economic debate in this country.
Get Back to Us When You're Serious
Don't let yourself be intimidated or bullied by the billionaires' pre-paid advocates, who travel in a pack as DC's self-described "centrists." Sunlight -- the economic kind -- will cause the minions of the radical Right to melt back into the darkness.
So don't let them scare you. The solutions to our economic fiscal concerns are obvious, and tax hikes for the wealthy are high on the list. The only question is, Do we have the political will to do carry them out?
Of course, we won't solve all our problems just by raising taxes on billionaires. But we can't solve those problems unless we do.
Here's what we should be saying to our lawmakers -- and to the billionaires who finance them -- next time they want to cut vital programs in the name of "deficit reduction": Show us you're serious, by giving us a serious set of tax rates.And by "serious," we mean Dwight D. Eisenhower "serious." Then you can talk to us about "shared sacrifice."
But not until then.
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