Democrats: Surtax on high-earners would pay for Obama's job plan
October 5th, 2011
03:50 PM ET
11 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. Marie MD

    It's nice to know that 400 Americans have all the wealth in this country, fine they are the 1%, along with having congress in their pockets and make sure corporations send jobs outside the US as they continue to get richer.
    Yes, mitt, there is a class warfare and guess who started it and since you are a part of it you should keep quiet about it? Your party of greed over constituents!

    October 5, 2011 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  2. Marie MD

    @johnfx – really?" Forget the fact that they are supporting by paying the majority of the taxes."
    Does the fx stand for faux as in news?
    I bet the republikans are sending or have some of their people posting here in cnn, but since cnn's correspndents are in favor of the rich and not those protesting in cities all over the US I sometimes wonder what became of the real cnn and why they have moved so far to the right. Somebody paying them to do so? Anyone seen murdoch or the koch brothers or armey in Atlanta lately?

    October 5, 2011 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  3. Bill

    Wow, what is the hatred toward people who are financially successful (maybe jealous). The top 10% of earners already pay about 65 to 70% of tax burden in the country. The bottom 50% pay less than 3% of the tax burden (and many pay nothing). Beware of the democratic "finger pointing", you could be next! Don't be successful, rather live off the government!

    On another note, how unusual, a democrat that want more tax money. The average American only turns over 55 to 60% of their pay already to the governments in taxes and fess! Why should be allow to make any decisions for themselves?

    October 5, 2011 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  4. Pa mom

    It is unfortunate that the middle class has not had economics explained to them in a manner they can undertsand. The rich are not taking away middle class jobs. Jobs are being lost at my husband's company thanks to Obama and his penalties. They cannot compete for bids. Why should the rich pay more when they are the [people creating jobs. Obama certainly isn't and his job bill will not create jobs. It pays for longer unemployment and "shovel" ready jobs that can't possibly be put into effect for many years. Get real and get educated. We are the ONLY country where 50 plus percent pay no taxes and the rich pay more than anywhere else. Look to the leadership you voted for.... a president with absolutely no real world experience. What could you possibly expect from this administration? Look to Europe and see where this mentality is taking this country.

    October 5, 2011 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  5. GuyinVA

    According to the President"s speech introducing this plan, it was fully paid for. Oh well.

    October 5, 2011 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  6. Robin

    Obama said the Jobs bill would be paid for- no new taxes and he absolutely would not accept it in pieces. Both statements proven untrue.

    He is Presudent of all citizens- why so much hate from everyone? If there were no large "greedy" corporations, there would be no union jobs, no beautiful buildings, conferences in hotels, etc.

    Each person makes their own decisions in life- we need to all come together as a country and please, Mr. President, be our leader- everyone's leader- not a blamer.

    October 5, 2011 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  7. Terry

    The only class warfare being waged is by the Republican henchmen of the filthy wealthy and big corporations by insisting that the wealthy are privileged and deserve t opayh less taxes than everyone else, that only the average Aemerican can be scrwed by them if they have their way by strangling Social Secuirty, medicare, job security, workers' rights, healthcare and coverage, etc. Folks, do you know that Republicans defends an IRS provision allowing the filthy wealthy to deduct interest on their loans to purchase million dollar yachts because there are sleeping berths onboard so that it qualifies as a "home" interest deduction?! Think about how terribly asinine, unnecessary, and "in your eye" that is!

    October 5, 2011 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  8. pjoe

    Harry ... who's name is on the 4 worst debts in US History?

    Worst US Federal Deficits:
    2009: $1,885,104,106,599.30 ... (Obama/Reid/Pelosi)
    2010: $1,651,794,027,380.00 ... (Obama/Reid/Pelosi)
    2011: $1,228,717,297,665.40 ... (Obama/Reid/Boehner)
    2008: $1,017,071,524,649.92 ... (Bush/Reid/Pelosi)
    2004: $ 595,821,633,586.70 ... (Bush/Frist/Hastert)

    October 5, 2011 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  9. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    Or maybe....and stay with me here this might be too much for your brain to handle.... the democrats want to find a way to pay for the Presidents job bill before they bring it to a vote because they know that if no plan is in place to pay for the bill the Republicans will cite that as a reason to not vote for it.
    And the "pay for it" is raising taxes "on the rich", which everybody already knows won't go anywhere. So this is all Democrats wasting time and continuing their class warfare strategy. All in order to repeat an already failed policy while flushing nearly a half trillion dollars down the Obama tiolet in the hope of saving OBAMA'S JOB, not the jobs of unemployed Americans.

    Democrats are going down even bigger in 2012 than in 2010. They have finally outted themselves as the socialists they have always been, but denied. The American people don't want a failed socialist European state brought here. Sanity WILL be restored to this country in 2012.

    October 5, 2011 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  10. N&W 1000

    These people are clueless boobs.
    WE are in huge trouble next year.
    Draft Hillary now

    October 5, 2011 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  11. Anders Perillo

    The how fast things turn around when Obama and his inept administration get booted out...just watch.

    October 6, 2011 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
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