Democrats: Surtax on high-earners would pay for Obama's job plan
October 5th, 2011
03:50 PM ET
3 years ago

Democrats: Surtax on high-earners would pay for Obama's job plan

Washington (CNN) - Senate Democrats Wednesday unveiled a five percent tax hike on annual income over $1 million, which they said would raise the nearly $450 billion needed to offset the cost of President Barack Obama's recent proposal to boost employment and stimulate the economy.

However, the idea was met with a not-unexpected thud by Senate Republicans who steadfastly oppose tax increases and indicated it won't pass the narrowly divided chamber.

"We're going to move to have the richest of the rich to pay a little bit more," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, at a Capitol news conference.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, immediately said he and his colleagues would block any tax increases.

"We don't think raising taxes in the middle of a recession is a good idea," he told CNN. "I think we made that pretty clear in the past."

The Democrats' plan would place a surtax on any income earned over $1 million. That would include earned income - like salary - and unearned income - like profits from dividends or the sale of stocks. Taxes on estates worth more than $1 million would also be subject to the surtax.

The new Democratic plan would replace a not fully-defined proposal from the president to pay for the jobs plan. It was unpopular with some Democrats because it included tax hikes on the wealthy and on corporations like oil and gas companies.

"An overwhelming majority of Democrats" support the plan, said Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, a Democratic leader.

Top Senate Democrats acknowledged it might be difficult to win GOP support for the bill, but said they hoped public opinion surveys that show broad support for increasing taxes on the wealthy would persuade Republican senators.

"They have to listen to their constituents," Reid said.

Reid is expected to move the bill as early as next week, but senior aides acknowledged Republicans will likely defeat the measure on a procedural vote before the bill even makes it to the floor.

Asked about the Senate Democrats' proposal, House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer said Wednesday, "I think that has support here in the House."

"I think we'd be very pleased to support it, and in fact some of our members may like that alternative better," Hoyer added, saying, "I'm sure that's the case as a matter of fact" but he acknowledged he hasn't canvassed all House Democrats on the proposal.

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Filed under: Charles Schumer • Harry Reid • President Obama • Senate
soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. walter

    These Repubs think they are Kings and Dukes!

    October 5, 2011 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  2. Mitt Who ?

    Maybe we could slash the senates budget and pay for it ?

    October 5, 2011 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  3. Blackman in America

    The games repuks/KKKers/teabaggers play .......................................... 1 day will be used on them, would love to see how they like it.

    October 5, 2011 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  4. Mitt Who ?

    I have heard that there are only like 800 people with income over 1 million. So for every 800,000,000 in income that 5% only brings in 40 million. Where do these people learn their math ? That surcharge tax would have to remain in effect for 11 and a half years just to pay back the principle alone. Add in the interest, because they have to borrow and print the money to be able and spend it today, and that tax is in place for 20 to 30 years before the spending is paid for.

    Democrats know no solution and have been destroying this country for over 50 years. It's time for a real change. .

    October 5, 2011 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  5. Mitt Who ?

    At leaste teh "The Greedy Old Pigs have declared class war on US!" got substance for their money and Halliburton employed people. All Solyndra left behind was an empty building and a larger unemployment line..

    October 5, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  6. Mitt Who ?

    What can the government do with 50,000 dollars ?
    By the time it gets where its going, it will only be 25,000 due to government overhead and waste.

    What can 1 person do with 50,000 ? They might buy 1 car, boat or vacation home that helps keep hundreds of businesses alive and people employed..

    October 5, 2011 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  7. WiredweirdinSF

    These are the same democrat liberals that think shutting down Wall Street like the thug unions and their pothead cohorts are doing is going to help. The same ones that told us that if we passed the "stimulus" plan, which consisted of giveaways to democrat liberal cronies and corrupt unions, unemployment would not rise above 8%. In the picture you see the same corrupt Dick Durbin who has brought new debit card fees to us to "get back at the rich."

    These are the smartest guys the democrat liberals have to offer.

    October 5, 2011 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  8. Keeping it Real

    Typical Democrat Playbook. Tax and Spend, but with a twist. Tax and Spend even more!

    October 5, 2011 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  9. Rudy NYC

    Sen. Demint was just on CNN criticizing the "millionaire's tax". He said something to the effect that this group of people doesn't exist. If that were true, wouldn't that also mean that the Republican "job creators" don't exist?

    October 5, 2011 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  10. MyrnaMe

    We've gone from the president saying the Buffet Rule (that rich should pay at least the same rate as the middle class) to Harry saying a 5% surtax on all rich - so great, Buffet pays 20% and the successful middle class pay 40%. Harry, get a life and a brain and a clue!

    Barry had his chance, and you spent 4 trillion of money we did not have to support his uneducated ideas ... but it appears as though you will follow the dream of hope and change. Many of the constituents are tired of this dream and simply realize that government is not the solution, but in fact the problem.

    October 5, 2011 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  11. bill

    Funny how McConnel wanted a vote in the Senate regarding obamas job bill and Harry Reid said no.

    October 5, 2011 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  12. Reading comprehension....the impossible American Dream.

    @ Mitt Who?- Ummm, who needs check their math? Only 800 people that make over $1mil/yr? Wow. Are you kidding? I live in Chicago, and there are WAY more than 800 people making north of a million a year just in the city. Not even talking about places like Glencoe, Kenilworth, Winnetka, etc, etc, etc.

    If that's what you believe, then you are completely dissociated with reality.

    October 5, 2011 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  13. Chewy

    obama said there would be no tax increases in his jobs bill.

    October 5, 2011 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  14. Rick

    For all of the stupid people that think the rich are getting treated unfairly, WAKE UP!!! The rich pay an estimated 18% tax, through loopholes, and your sorry but pays 30%. ARE YOU DRUNK?

    October 5, 2011 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  15. Scott

    I suggest all the republican partisan idiots to actually look up how many "small business owners" make over 1 million TAXABLE income a year.

    just for reference, only 3% of small businesses make more than 250k TAXABLE income.

    October 5, 2011 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  16. Ex-GOP Con

    Makes perfect sense. If the "job creators" aren't going to actually go out and create jobs with their tax savings we might as well put it to some good use--like paying down their debt.

    October 5, 2011 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  17. Four and The Door

    The $500 million Obama/ Biden gave to Solyndra actually over-funded a company which was not ready to build a new factory, so over 1,000 jobs were lost. Oops! Just another blunder on the list. We can do better. Romney 2012.

    October 5, 2011 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  18. Russ

    Yep, we Republicans wouldn't want to piss off or donors. The Rich and the Corporations that control the government. So sorry jobs bill and the people that would benefit from it. We can't vote for it or we could lose our cushy jobs in congress. I'm sure you low lifes will come up with a way to survive without jobs.

    October 5, 2011 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  19. TJC

    The Dem's policies have been working GREAT so far, huh? The Democrat's politicization of the economy has been absolutely tragic for the less fortunate among us. Do they really plan to continue to steal dreams and peoples futures with their class warfare rhetoric and proposals?

    October 5, 2011 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  20. Buford

    It's time that Congress STOP playing with the American people. If the GOP has no plan to work with the Democrats then they should all just step aside and let the progress begin. Stop calling things faild policy when the GOP will never let them pass to see if they work or not. The GOP will be the cause of the fall of America to its knees and will never be able to recover from the crash.

    October 5, 2011 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  21. Tubby the Tuba Texas

    The Republicans are only against taxing the Rich, not the middle class...as they are already paying a higher percentage than the filthy rich. They would raise the taxes on the middle class in a heartbeat!! Cain says being rich is nothing to be ashamed about, only those without...who refused to trample on the rights of those who don't have the capital to spend to rob the poor! I would be ashamed to be supporting those people who took advantage of the poor and middle class to make their riches!!

    October 5, 2011 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  22. Ray E. (Georgia)

    Just more redistrubition of the wealth. Socialisim at it's worst. How many jobs will come out of this? None that i can see. It would be much better to extend the Bush Tax cuts for at least 10 more years and repeal Obama Care.

    October 5, 2011 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  23. TEG

    Look Harry I've told you fifty thousand times stop trying to destroy the country, people don't care that you're a mormon and you want to try to make a difference because neither of those things matter. Stop trying to tax the people who want to invest in the economy and start thinking of reform you know dealing with that nearly 30 year old Tax Code?

    October 5, 2011 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  24. texan

    Republican motto : " Don`t tax you, don`t tax me, tax that little guy behind the tree." --– Two unpaid wars then more tax cuts for the rich !?!?!? All under Bush II !!!----- And you blame Obama ????

    October 5, 2011 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  25. Joey

    So the ugly head of capitalism is rearing itself. So now that the middleclass who have been holding up this country singlehandedly for the past 50 years making a few people rich and funding programs from welfare to warfare have been flogged to weakness now needs the FAT CATS who just watch what's left of the middleclass (bankrupt,jobless and in foreclosure) squirm thinking "hey, they'll think of something" while they enjoy exotic vacations in beautiful villas & luxury cars spending vast amounts overseas. Well, it's time to come home to the people who made you wealthy & help strengthen the middleclass who keeps the rich as well as the poor exist. So it's time for that high income percentage to return the favor.

    October 5, 2011 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
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