This is a good sign. Instead of sitting around and waiting for leadership from the White House, liberal Congress members are taking the initiative to push tax legislation that will clearly draw the lines between the rich — and everybody else. From The Hill:
In an interesting development, liberals are calling for taxes to be raised on people making more than $1 million annually while Obama and other party leaders have embraced $250,000 or more per year. The left-leaning lawmakers stress that while they still support what Obama wants to do, the president wasn’t able to convince the Democratic-led Congress to pass his tax blueprint last year.
The group of legislators, which includes Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), argue that poll numbers suggest the public is on their side and that added revenue is needed to narrow deficits and keep programs such as Head Start from being placed on the chopping block.
But they downplayed the dollar figure differences between their plans and the president’s.
“I don’t think there’s anything magical about 250,000 or a million. It’s how much money do you need,” said Sanders, whose proposal would set a 5.4 percent surtax on income over $1 million a year. “In my view, the Democrats and the president should be very strong on this issue: that our goal is shared sacrifice and let’s not balance the budget on the backs of the working and middle class.”
Schakowsky signaled that her legislation – which would create a 45 percent bracket for income between $1 million and $10 million a year, with a top rate of 49 percent for income of $1 billion a year and above – could work in concert with a plan to return rates to Clinton administration levels. The current top individual tax rate of 35 percent would rise to 39.6 percent at the end of next year, unless Congress again extends existing high-income rates.
“I certainly don’t see it as a counter to the real and specific debate on the Bush tax cuts,” Schakowsky said. “The fact is, Republicans don’t want to do anything to take away tax breaks from the richest Americans, and we want to stimulate that debate.”