Tax Analysts Blog

BTW, Remember to Soak the Rich

Posted on Jun 22, 2009

Robert Reich reminds President Obama to stand firm on taxing the rich:

    Demand that taxes be raised on the wealthy to ensure that all Americans get affordable health care. At the rate health care costs are rising, not even a real public option will hold down costs enough to make health care affordable to most American families in years to come. So you'll need to tax the wealthy. Don't back down on your original proposal to limit their deductions. And support a cap on how much employee-provided health care can be provided tax free. (Yes, you opposed this during your campaign. But you have no choice but to reverse yourself on this.) These are the only two big pots of money.
Does Obama really need the reminder? Pretty much every tax idea coming from the White House has targeted the rich. In fact, some would say (read: I would say) that's been the problem from the start. Democrats are in a revenue bind precisely because they want to target the rich -- and only the rich.

Go ahead, soak the fat cats. Lord knows, they've had a good ride this past decade or so. But you can't pay for health reform -- broad, lasting, effective, important health reform -- without taxing the rest of us, too. Why is this notion so poisonous among liberals? A recent New York Times poll suggests that Americans understand this fiscal reality and don't shrink from it. A remarkable 57 percent say they would personally pony up the cash if it meant that everyone could have "health insurance that they can't lose no matter what."

Americans will pay taxes -- even regressive ones -- if it buys them real economic security. FDR understood that fact 70 years ago. Why can't Democrats grasp it today?

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