I have several questions that I would love to ask President Obama on tax policy:
You have said that the rich need to pay their share and called for repealing the Bush tax cuts for people making over $250,000 per year. Does this mean that you consider the Clinton tax rates to be the optimum fair share?
Follow-up - if so then how did you arrive at those rates? The highest marginal rates have varied enormously over the last century. Why those rates? Does Bush-hatred figure into this calculation?
If you don't think that the Clinton rates are a true fair share then what do you consider fair and why aren't you starting with those figures?
You recently indicated that the way to stabilize Social Security is to raise the Social Security tax rate on the rich. How will this work? Currently Social Security taxes are only paid on the first $100,000. Will you raise taxes on people making between $100,000 and $250,000 or will you have a doughnut hole in the taxes? The current cap goes back to FDR's original compact that both the amount of income that can be taxed and the highest retirement rate are both capped. If you remove the cap on taxes will you also remove the cap on retirement income or are you planning on scrapping FDR's compact?
Do you intend to raise both income tax and Social Security taxes on the rich?
In your speech on the deficit you quoted a CBO report saying that in ten years seniors the Republican plan for Medicare would require seniors to pay over $6,000 per year for insurance to meet current coverage. The same report says that the current level of coverage cannot be continued for ten years without major changes. What changes are you planning to make the system solvent? Will this involve additional taxes on the rich?
Last year at a kick-off event for the "Recovery Summer" you talked about how money spent on a road project would generate future spending as workers spent their wages on other products. This effect also happens when the rich spend their money so, taxing the rich has negative economic consequences that offset the positive effects of government spending. Has your administration calculated the point where taxing the rich will cause more economic harm than is gained through government spending? If so, will your economists make these figures public?
Currently the US has the second-highest corporate tax rate in the developed world. At the same time, the tax code is riddled with tax breaks that allow some corporations to pay little or no tax. Tightening up on tax breaks and loopholes would allow the tax rate to be cut without losing revenue. Failing to do this gives the impression of crony capitalism where lobbyists and friends of the administration like GE can avoid paying taxes while smaller corporations have to pay the full rate. Will you consider revising the corporate tax code?
Which do you consider more important - for the tax code to promote economic growth or for it to promote income parity?