The House must follow the Senate's lead

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It is urgent for everyone to contact his or her House representative urging that he or she vote this week for the House Democratic Bill which would end the Bush tax cuts for the richest people in America.

Lat week, the Senate passed a bill by 51 to 48 that would extend the Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans for one year, but end the tax breaks after the first $250,000 in household income which benefit only the richest 2 percent in the country.

By Thursday of this week the House will vote on two different bills. The Democratic measure is almost identical to the one approved in the Senate and to the tax plan backed by President Obama. The Republican measure would extend the tax cuts for all Americans, including the rich, for one year. That measure was rejected 54 to 45 in the Senate.

When compared to the Democratic bills, the GOP Senate and House bills extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich would add $50 billion to the deficit. The GOP bills would also raise taxes on 25 million middle and lower income families by an average of $1,000 by reducing several refundable tax credits, including the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and the American Opportunity Tax Credit which helps make college affordable.

The GOP bills expose the hypocrisy of GOP lawmakers who masquerade as opponents of tax hikes but are perfectly willing to raise taxes on millions of poor and middle-class people as long as the rich don't have to pay a penny more.

The GOP House bill that comes up for a vote this week gives the $1 million-a- year- or-more people a tax break of $150,000 more than the Democratic plan.

The claim by Republicans that the Democratic plan hurts small business is an outright lie. Less than 3 percent of small-business owners make more than $250,000 a year.

Renewing the Bush tax cuts on the wealthy makes it much more difficult to stimulate the economy. Study after study shows that, unlike tax cuts for the rich, tax cuts for the working people and, even more important, money invested in public benefits, generates economic activity way above and beyond the original amount invested.

While a one-dollar tax cut for the rich generates less than 35 cents in new economic activity a dollar spent on infrastructure, for example, generates $1.44 in new economic activity. Continuing the tax cuts for the rich makes such investment of public funds much less likely.

Ending the tax cuts for the richest two percent is simply asking them to pay their fair share into the funds needed for such public investment.

Continuing the tax breaks for the rich means we won't be able to improve infrastructure, we won't be able to create jobs, we won't be able to support schools, we won't be able to strengthen Medicare and millions of families will have a more difficult time just getting by.

Continuing the tax cuts for the rich means we'll have to borrow more money to pay for those cuts thereby adding to the deficit Republicans claim they want to reduce. We cannot afford tax cuts for rich people who don't need them and for rich people who, in most cases, haven't even asked for them.

Call your congressional representatives now. Ending the Bush tax cuts for the rich is the critical first step that must be taken if we are ever to have a fair tax system in America.

Photo: At a 2011 tax fairness rally in St. Louis. PW

 

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