12/25/2011 (3:40 am)

Millionaire surtax: The go-to tax

Filed under: Uncategorized, money |

+%3Cp%3E+It+looks+like+the+millionaire+surtax+is+going+down+again.%3C%2Fp%3E%3Cp%3EDemocrats+have+pushed+for+weeks+to+impose+a+millionaire+surtax+to+help+pay+for+the+cost+of+extending+the+payroll+tax+cut.+Republicans+have+said+it+would+be+a+job-killer.%3C%2Fp%3E%3Cp%3E%3Cp%3E%3C%2Fp%3E%3Cp%3E%3Cp%3E%3C%2Fp%3E%3C%2Fp%3E%3C%2Fp%3E%3Cp%3EOn+Wednesday+night%2C+with+time+running+out+before+Congress+adjourns+for+the+year%2C+it+appeared+that+Democrats+were+ready+to+give+up+in+the+name+of+getting+a+deal+done.+A+source+told+CNN+that+Senate+Democrats+would+propose+a+new+plan+that+did+not+include+the+tax.+%28Read%3A+The+latest+on+negotiations%29%3C%2Fp%3E%3Cp%3EThe+demise+of+this+version+of+the+millionaire+tax+would+not+be+a+surprise.+Lawmakers+have+already+voted+down+a+surtax+of+5.6%25%2C+then+3.25%25+and+most+recently+1.9%25.%3C%2Fp%3E%3Cp%3EBut+the+idea+of+taxing+the+rich+will+come+up+again+and+again+next+year%2C+since+themes+of+income+inequality+and+tax+fairness+will+be+sounded+repeatedly+on+the+campaign+trail.%3C%2Fp%3EPayroll+tax+cut%3A+What%27s+at+stake%3Cp%3EUrban+Institute+resident+fellow+Howard+Gleckman+points+out+that+an+extra+tax+on+millionaires+may+make+for+great+politics+but+it+would+make+for+awful+policy%2C+although+not+for+the+reasons+that+many+in+the+GOP+suggest.%3C%2Fp%3E%3Cp%3ERepublicans+still+cleave+to+the+notion+that+to+ever+ask+millionaires+to+pay+more+in+taxes+will+bring+the+economy+to+a+screeching+halt+because+it+would+hurt+small+business+job+creation.+%3C%2Fp%3E%3Cp%3EBut+there+are+problems+with+that+reasoning%3A%3C%2Fp%3E%3Cp%3E–A+very+small+percentage+of+tax+filers+with+business+income+make+more+than+%241+million.+%3C%2Fp%3E%3Cp%3E–There+is+no+way+to+tell+how+many+new+jobs+those+millionaires+create.+%3C%2Fp%3E%3Cp%3E–And+business+income+can+come+from+activities+that+don%27t+result+in+a+lot+of+hiring%2C+such+as+owning+rental+property+or+investing+in+a+partnership.+%3C%2Fp%3E%3Cp%3EFor+Gleckman%2C+a+big+problem+with+the+millionaire+surtax+is+that+it+feeds+the+myth+that+the+super+rich+can+pay+for+everything.+They+can%27t.+There+are+not+enough+of+them.%3C%2Fp%3EPayroll+tax+cut+divide%3A+How+to+pay+for+it%3Cp%3EAnd+by+applying+a+surtax+here+and+a+surtax+there%2C+soon+you%27re+talking+serious+rate+creep+–+to+levels+that+could+be+counterproductive+%3Ca+href%3D%22http%3A%2F%2Fus-fast-cash-now.com%22%3Efast+cash%3C%2Fa%3E%3C%21–+.+–%3E.+The+higher+rates+become+the+more+likely+it+is+that+the+rich+will+look+for+ways+to+avoid+paying+them.%3C%2Fp%3E%3Cp%3EIf+the+Bush+tax+cuts+expire%2C+the+top+rate+goes+to+39.6%25+and+the+value+of+certain+deductions+goes+down.+Add+in+a+new+Medicare+tax+for+high-income+households+starting+in+2013%2C+and+the+top+rate+could+approach+50%25+if+Congress+passed+a+5.6%25+surtax%2C+Gleckman+noted.+%3C%2Fp%3E%3Cp%3EDespite+the+flaws+in+the+parties%27+strategies+–+Democrats+always+reach+first+to+tax+the+rich+and+Republicans+always+rush+to+protect+them+even+at+the+expense+of+everyone+else+–+each+contains+a+bit+of+truth+the+other+side+will+have+to+accept+sooner+or+later.%3C%2Fp%3E%3Cp%3E%3C%2Fp%3E%3Cp%3E+%3C%2Fp%3E%3Cp%3EBoth+the+rich+and+the+middle+class+eventually+will+have+to+contribute+to+efforts+to+spur+the+economy+and+stabilize+the+federal+budget.%3C%2Fp%3E%3Cp%3E%26quot%3BDemocrats+today+can%27t+solve+our+nation%27s+many+budgetary+woes+primarily+by+taxing+the+rich%2C+and+Republicans+risk+alienating+the+middle+class+when+they+try+to+spare+the+rich+from+sharing+the+additional+burdens+most+Americans+soon+must+bear%2C%26quot%3B+former+Treasury+official+Eugene+Steuerle+wrote+in+his+public+policy+column+%26quot%3BThe+Government+We+Deserve.%26quot%3B%3C%2Fp%3E%3Cp%3EThe+rich+will+have+to+pay+more+in+taxes%2C+he+notes%2C+because+even+if+spending+is+cut+across+the+board%2C+they+won%27t+feel+the+pinch+since+they+don%27t+rely+on+government+spending+to+get+by.%3C%2Fp%3E%3Cp%3EAnd+the+middle+class+will+eventually+need+to+accept+some+spending+cuts+and+tax+increases%2C+Steuerle+said%2C+%26quot%3Bnot+because+the+rich+can%27t+pay+more%2C+but+because+most+income+in+the+economy+resides+with+that+80+percent+of+the+population+that+is+neither+poor+nor+rich.%26quot%3B%26nbsp%3B+%3C%2Fp%3E++%3Cp%3E%3Ca+href%3D%27http%3A%2F%2Fmoney.cnn.com%2F2011%2F12%2F14%2Fnews%2Feconomy%2Fmillionaire_surtax%2Findex.htm%27+rel%3D%27nofollow%27%3ESource%3C%2Fa%3E%3C%2Fp%3E+

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