January 25th, 2012
05:34 PM ET
11 years ago

Democrats to target wealthy in tax reform effort

Washington (CNN) - Senate Democratic leaders said Wednesday they are determined to push tax reforms President Barack Obama outlined in his State of the Union address, saying they would roll out bills throughout the election year to highlight their differences with Republicans.

Most are aimed at increasing taxes on the wealthy while easing the burden on the middle class.

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At the top of their list is a proposal known as the Buffett rule that would sharply increase taxes paid by many wealthy Americans.

Democrats pointed squarely at Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who revealed this week he paid only about 14 percent of his substantial earnings in taxes

"Republican presidential frontrunner is a perfect example of what's wrong with the tax code. An individual who makes in a two year period forty-three million dollars and pays a tax rate of less than fifteen percent suggests that maybe things need to be changed a little bit," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid at a Capitol press conference.

"So, it's a priority for us to act on some kind Romney, I mean Buffett rule this year," added Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-New York, purposely mixing up the names.

The Democratic leaders said they generally support having wealthy Americans pay at least 30% of their income in taxes but said it was premature to detail how they would ensure that.

Other tax reform measures the Democrats said they want to deal with this year include allowing the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy to expire; ensuring all corporations pay some taxes on their profits; increasing the taxes paid by hedge fund managers, and using the tax code to reward companies that create jobs in the U.S. and punish those that send jobs overseas.

Schumer said after the payroll tax cut fight in December, in which Democrats appeared to get the upper hand with the public, he is confident the strategy will succeed.

"Don't be surprised if election year pressures push Republicans to cooperate with this president more than they were planning too," Schumer said. "Otherwise they're going to find themselves on the wrong side of the middle class again and again."

Also see:

Live blog: 2012 State of the Union

New Freddie Mac contract prohibits 'lobbying activities'

Romney resets image with postcards from the edge

Gingrich gets major help

Filed under: Congress • Taxes
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. geggyg

    oops meant "just like you want do to disadvantaged people now"

    January 25, 2012 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  2. BigD

    5% more for the 98% verses 5% of the 2% is a whole lot more in a year. Tax everyone "a little more" disporportionatly and then we can say we all paid "our fair Share". Just Taxing millionares will take several years to put a dent in the debt, alone, again because you are only talking about a small group of people.
    Who doesn't want to do their "Fair Share"?

    January 25, 2012 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |

    The Democrats won"t be happy until all the country"s wealth has been redistributed so why not just confiscate (okay,tax) all the money the rich has except for 10 or 20 grand and split it it up with those who have less. Let's make it a law that this has to be done every few years. That way everybody will have the same no matter how smart you are or how hard you work. Of course the country wont last long but at least we'll be equal.

    January 25, 2012 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  4. dmf0786

    President Obama made a great case last night , and for rest of 2012 election year , about creating fairness in our society . There are hundreds of thousand of people with taxable income in millions and billions of dollars a year . President Obama is asking the Congress to tax these people at what is now called " Buffett rule " , more than that of their secretaries. Billionaires Warren Buffett and Bill Gates have openly declared , that they are not being taxed as much as their office staff ! The tax Laws should not be written by expensive special interests lobbyists , rather by the U. S. Congress . If the Congressmen have special interests covered , for reelection campaign fund contributions or other private expenses , that would hurt their judgement concerning poor and middle class interests ! Congress as an institution must not be violated by elected representatives , who are under oath to serve , enjoy trust of their constituents and the Country . Gov. Romney released his tax return Tuesday , shows him paying only about 14% as taxes on his income . According to news reports , had Romney been paying taxes at Reagan era tax rates , that should be 30% or more . That would be fair for millionaires' . President Obama is advocating for " ...building an economy that works for everyone, not just a wealthy few " . The tax laws should be just and fair for the rich and 160 million people in work force

    January 25, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  5. thrifty

    You know, when I'm out of money I think of ways to cut my spending. I am personally responsible for my finances. Too bad the government can't do the same.

    January 25, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  6. sick of republican phonies

    It's about time the dems called the republican bluff. If they were so serious about cutting the deficit (although the trillion dollar Bush war didn't bother them), AND not raising taxes, confront them with bills that will close loopholes they adore and change the unfair rules like "carried interest" . Let them show their true colors and see what people think.

    January 25, 2012 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  7. Daniel6

    This reminds me of the Litigation/Malpractice awards--who do you think is paying for this?? You want to simplify taxes?? Do it-But STOP demonizing capitalism -it made America what it is--

    January 25, 2012 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  8. Rick McDaniel

    That's not going to fly, and we all know it.

    January 25, 2012 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  9. sabina barnes

    Hey to all millionairs making more money than the middle class,should pay there 30% or more they still have enough to spare, why cant they just cooperate. Meaning the rep,except the fact that the average person doesnt make that kind of money if we did we to should have to pay more taxes ,because we can afford it, then middle class could get a tax which is needed. With everything. Going on we need this more than anything.

    January 25, 2012 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  10. Bugs

    Taxing anybody will not make a lick of difference. There are not enough people making a million + per year. We need to stop spending what we don't have – Period !

    January 25, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  11. HawaiiGuest

    I always wonder why some people don't understand why a flat tax is a horrible idea.

    January 25, 2012 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  12. Dan5404

    Many millionaires support this country even if it costs them a few percentage points in taxes. It is the demagogues from the right that are spending millions on their own personal agenda and supporting candidates that preach the big political donors' beliefs, not necessarily the views of most Americans. The right-leaning Supreme Court is also now a virtual legislative body, allowing unlimited big corporate money to influence elections beyond reasonable boundaries.
    It's time everyone paid their fair share and someone figures a way to reverse this terribly destructive travesty by the court.

    January 25, 2012 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  13. A Texan

    Republican bottom line and only real goal is to protect the wealthy............. Lip service to everything else.

    January 25, 2012 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
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