The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Toby Chaudhuri or Rachel Perrone at 202-955-5665

New Report: US Tax Code Widens Gap Between Wealthy and Middle-Class Americans

With Estate Tax Vote, All Republican and 10 Democratic Senators Chose To Make Things Worse


The federal tax code has become increasingly unfair over the past 30
years, giving wealthy individuals more breaks than middle- and
low-income Americans, according to a new report released today by the
Campaign for America's Future. The report shows that the tax rates on
the top 1 percent dropped significantly since 1980, while the relative
tax burden on the middle 60 percent has increased.

years ago, the tax code was broadly progressive, reflecting shared
contributions to public investments and our common good. Loopholes were
fewer and covered items like home mortgages that everyone could
understand and appreciate.

Campaign for America's Future co-director Robert Borosage
said this is no longer the case, because of policy decisions that
should've been made differently. Instead of making taxes more
progressive to counteract the increasingly regressive distribution of
income, policymakers chose the reverse, lavishing tax breaks on the
very wealthy.

size and number of loopholes and tax breaks available to the richest 10
percent of Americans is a scandal," said Borosage. "It's inconceivable
to most people that billionaire hedge fund managers pay taxes at a
lower rate than their receptionists. But this is increasingly where we
find ourselves."

To return America to a progressive and fair tax rate, the report recommends repealing President Bush's
tax cuts for the wealthiest individuals, instituting a "transaction
tax" on financial trades to discourage speculation, taxing all types of
income at the same rates and keeping the estate tax.

Republican senator this month pushed for another tax break for the
super-wealthy, voting to raise the full exemption on inheritances from
$7 million to $10 million for a couple, and to drop the top rate on
fortunes over $10 million from 45 percent to 35 percent.

President Obama
tried to keep the estate tax at the current rate in his budget
proposals and the House agreed, but 10 Democratic senators joined the
Republicans to pick a fight on the estate tax - Senators Max Baucus, D-Mont.; Evan Bayh, D-Ind.; Maria Cantwell D-Wash.; Mary Landrieu, D-La.; Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark.; Patty Murray, D-Wash.; Bill Nelson, D-Fla.; Ben Nelson, D-Neb.; Mark Pryor, D-Ark.; and Jon Tester, D-Mont.

The Campaign for America's Future is the strategy center for the progressive movement. Our goal is to forge the enduring progressive majority needed to realize the America of shared prosperity and equal opportunity that our country was meant to be.