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At some point, it seems, conservative ideologues and their friends in Congress will simply get down to admitting that what they have in mind for the American tax code is the following simple situation:

The wealthy will simply pay no income taxes, capital gains or estate taxes of any kind.  Meanwhile, average working people will be called upon to bear an ever-greater responsibility for funding essential public services and structures — or, at least, the services and structures that conservatives are willing to allow to continue and/or farm out to corporate interests.    

The latest example of this inevitable trend in motion can be see in this new proposal from U.S. Senate conservatives.

 

NC Budget and Tax Center

Later this evening, the U.S. Senate will vote on the so-called Buffett Rule, an Obama Administration proposal that seeks to ensure that households earning more $1 million a year pay at least the same tax rate as middle class families.  Introduced as S.2230, “The Paying a Fair Share Act,” by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), this important legislation promotes tax fairness, a balanced first step to deficit reduction, and long-term economic growth.

Under the current Bush-era tax levels, individuals earning more than $1 million per year face a tax rate of 35% for wage income, yet between a range of loopholes, deductions, and preferential treatment of investment income, many of these wealthy individuals are able to shield vast portions of their earnings from Federal income tax—thus reducing their effective tax rates to levels lower than the tax rates faced by middle class families.  One recent study showed that more than one-quarter of all millionaires pay less than 26.5% of their income in federal taxes, while 10 million Americans earning less than $100,000 pay more than 26.5% in taxes.

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If you haven’t read it yet, be sure to check out today’s edition of the Fitzsimon File. In it, Chris looks at the good, bad and ugly aspects of some of House Speaker Thom Tillis’ recent tax talk. 

He notes that Tillis is actually right about broadening the base of the sales tax, but, he also notes, Tillis is way out in right-wing fringe land when it comes to the income tax.

This is from a story in the Davidson County Dispatch from last week that helped prompt Chris’s column: Read More