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Increasing Taxes on America’s Rich and Corporations Would End Our Debt and Deficit Problems, says IPS Analyst

Expert available: Sam Pizzigati, an authority on efforts to levy significant taxes on America’s most wealthy and powerful

WASHINGTON - A tired-but-firm President Obama spoke Sunday of the need for the U.S. government to increase revenue from “the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations.” Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi last night stated that the current debt plan raises “not one red cent from the wealthiest people in our country.” The need to raise revenue from the nation’s richest, says Institute for Policy Studies analyst Sam Pizzigati, has seldom ever been more plain.

“By reversing years of tax giveaways to the richest Americans and largest corporations, Congress could raise trillions in revenue and fund the programs that safeguard our families and our future,” stated Unnecessary Austerity, Unnecessary Shutdown, an Institute for Policy Studies report co-authored by Pizzigati, released April 2011. The report projects that, if measures were enacted, government revenues could increase by well over $0.5 trillion per year.

In “Doing Debt Ceiling Battle the FDR Way,” an article published yesterday on, Pizzigati writes: 

“Advocacy for equality has to take a backseat, Obama administration insiders insist, once fanatical friends of the fortunate in Congress recklessly put at risk our nation’s full faith and credit.

But history offers another alternative. Back in 1943, halfway through World War II, a President of the United States faced a debt ceiling crisis eerily similar to our own. That President, Franklin Roosevelt, faced a congressional opposition to inconveniencing the rich — with higher taxes — every bit as rabid as ours.

FDR's choice, in the face of this opposition? He doubled down on equality.

IPS associate fellow Pizzigati edits Too Much, the IPS weekly on excess and inequality. He has written widely on issues around income and wealth concentration, with op-eds and articles appearing in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and a host of other publications. His latest book, Greed and Good : Understanding and Overcoming the Inequality that Limits Our Lives, won an "outstanding title" of the year rating from the American Library Association (Choice, January 2006).


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