And would you raise them even higher? Here’s a look at how the big banks used the Bush tax cuts to create a $600 billion windfall.
In his first two years, Clinton cut the top income-tax rate on the wealthy by a staggering 99%, from 70% to 32%. It was a huge move to finance his ambitious plan to create half a million jobs for young people and the low-income people who were suffering disproportionately.
But as the decade progressed, Clinton moved his tax cuts to the top end of the income spectrum, while raising the top rate for the middle class—which is why the real gains to the average middle-class American came through the “Buffett Rule” and other measures to lower taxes.
So would another Clinton tax increase? The short answer is you should not expect any. The long answer has a lot to do with what we are likely to get for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the rest.
To get the full effect on top incomes, Obama has promised to extend the Bush tax cuts for all households earning more than $250,000 before they expire in 2010. And he has a plan called the “Buffett Rule” that has the support of most Democrats in Congress and an endorsement by the White House, but he is not the only Republican eager to extend tax cuts for big income groups.
“We’re going to continue to offer these programs,” said Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid. “But the tax cut for the rich is going to end, and there will be a phase out.”
On the tax side, Romney and Paul Ryan had a different view, calling for the extension of the tax cuts in the name of “fairness” and to encourage hiring in “real” jobs. In his 2012 tax plan, Romney had even gone as far as to offer millionaires a tax break on their investment in the Olympics.
But Romney’s advisers have now changed course by agreeing to support expanding the Bush tax cuts, including those from 2001 and 2003. Romney has also called for the continuation of the Medicare savings provisions—a move that will add additional savings of trillions over the next decade, but not enough to offset the cuts for the super-rich that are likely to continue for years to come.
Obama has taken the opposite view. Obama has endorsed extending the tax cuts if Republicans in Congress and the White House stop opposing them. And he has also pledged an additional $700 billion in new deficits over 10 years by closing loopholes.
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