On good authority (here, here and here), it seems that Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island) has a tax fairness bill, dubbed the Buffet Rule Bill, ready to go. Word has it that it’s easy – requires no fiddling with the tax code – and could be ready to go right away:
The bill would ensure that taxpayers who make over $1 million would pay at least a 30 percent tax rate on all their income, Whitehouse aides say. It would do this by requiring millionaires to calculate their overall effective tax rate under the regular system – by taking into account all their sources of income and the various rates they are taxed at.
Those taxpayers whose effective rate is under 30 pecent would be required to pay taxes on all their income at the 30 percent rate. (Charitable contributions that are deductible under the current system would be exempt from income calculations.)
For our local purposes, it’s important to note that Whitehouse plans to try to start the action right away:
Mr. Whitehouse said he had the support of at least two other Democrats on the bill. He planned to announce other names later on Monday, and more names will come after the nonpartisan Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation releases an official number for the amount of revenue the bill would raise. That “score” was requested by Senators John Kerry of Massachusetts and Benjamin L. Cardin of Maryland, both Democrats.
Seems to me we need to do whatever we can to make sure that Claire McCaskill comes out as one of the prominent supporters – it could even be put to her as a litmus test. At the very least, good Missouri progressives need to start lobbying our entire Missouri contingent – Roy Blunt et al. – to support the Senate bill and something similar in the House. We need to know who’s willing to stand up for fairness and who wants to continue forcing the American middle class to subsidize the Mitt Romneys of the world. Their position on the Buffett Bill will present a clear-as-day picture of where they all stand so we must impress upon them that they need to put up or shut up, the sooner the better.
And by shut up, I mean we need to be ready to huff and puff and blow down the house of cards that the GOP has been building to showcase their lame response to calls for tax fairness: class warfare is bad, they say, except when it’s waged by the Rex Sinquefields of the world; God save us from the politics of envy when it might embarrass Mitt Romney and pals; free speech is good when it equates to big bucks from corporations and the rest of us only indulge when we’re in “quiet rooms.” Then there’s the all time GOP favorite claim that deficits can only be fixed cutting by benefits to the 99% which are mostly paid for by the 99%, while subsidies for the corporations and the 1% are to die for. Or, to consider another variant, raising taxes on the 1% might make those rich folks so angry that they won’t create any jobs in the good ol; U.S. of A. – especially since their purchased pols have ensured that we play by rules that make really easy for them to take advantage of slave labor abroad.
But to get back to the more immediate issue – here’s how you contact Claire McCaskill to ask her to work for us: 506 Hart Senate Office Building, Washington, DC, 20510;
Phone: (202) 224-6154; Web Contact Form: here
Don’t let Roy Blunt off the hook: 260 Russell Senate Office Building, Washington DC, 20510;
Phone: (202) 224-5721;
Web Contact Form: here
UPDATE: There are some indications that it’s a good time to hit Republicans with demands for tax fairness.