Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes famously defined taxes as “what we pay for civilized society.” Those who care about human needs know that adequate federal revenues are essential to our shared well-being and progress. They know too that those revenues must be collected fairly, according to our ability to pay. However, years of tax policies that have disproportionately benefited higher-income individuals and big corporations have left the country with a tax code that is both unbalanced and insufficient to meet national needs.
Tax reform should make the tax system more progressive and raise substantial additional revenue from the wealthiest individuals, business and corporations. Loopholes that encourage corporations to shift jobs and profits overseas should be closed to put the nation on a more sustainable fiscal path, allow us to support investments in the job creation measures our economy needs, and protect and strengthen vital programs and services. It is important to end the Bush-era tax cuts for income above $250,000 per couple ($200,000 per individual), which will affect only the richest two percent of households and generate nearly $1 trillion in savings (over 10 years). If corporate tax reform moves forward, it should generate significant new additional revenues.
Many in Congress have vowed their opposition to raising revenues, but in the face of the nation’s deficit dilemma, enacting spending cuts alone to solve the issue would be a disastrous plan. A good mix of spending cuts and revenue raises is necessary to protect services to low-income families. Truly, a tax policy is needed that raises adequate revenues in a progressive manner and includes tax benefits that help struggling families.
For more information on this issue, visit CHN’s Public Policy Priorities, 2015-2016.
Americans for Tax Fairness
Center for American Progress
Center for Effective Government (Formerly OMB Watch)
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Citizens for Tax Justice
Economic Policy Institute
National Priorities Project
Tax Policy Center
United for a Fair Economy
- January 23, 2016The Hill: Bipartisan idea to lift millions out of poverty
Policy Analyses and Research