I was talking with one of my favorite U.S. politics interlocutors the other day, and he asked the following question: “Why don’t the Democrats force a vote on a bill to extend the Bush tax cuts for everyone making less than $1 billion?”
He went on [I'm quoting loosely here]: “Think about it! They’re damned either way! Either they admit that they won’t even raise taxes on BILLIONAIRES, or they have to admit that yes, sometimes we have to raise taxes to pay for the government we want! Either they admit that they’re NOT fiscally reasonable AT ALL, or they admit that taxes aren’t ALWAYS too-high.”
And see, I think it’s a great tactical idea. There are only 413 billionaires in the United States. They live at a cartoonish level of wealth. They depend upon a full array of government services that many Americans rarely use (For example: most use the air traffic control system more often in a month than most Americans do in a lifetime). They absolutely should pay more in taxes. Economic inequality in the USA has been growing for decades.
It’s true that returning billionaires’ taxes to pre-2003 (or even to Clinton-era) tax rates won’t cover the national deficit, let alone pay down the national debt. This isn’t a policy solution…it’s a tactical one. Make the Republicans show their cards. Do they believe that billionaires should pay ANY taxes at all? Maybe they all agree with former GOP Chairman Michael Steele, who said, “After taxes, a million dollars is not a lot of money.”
What about a BILLION dollars? Hell, if they vote that down, let’s hold a symbolic vote to eliminate the Bush tax cuts for trillionaires (none currently exist), just to see how they react…