Raise my taxes. And raise them now. I have been a vocal supporter of President-elect Obama, knowing full well that he intended to raise my taxes. I am disturbed by the possibility that instead of repealing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans at the start of his term, he will wait and let them expire in 2011.
For the past eight years, the wealthy have benefited from both the reduced taxes and failure to regulate that made so many fortunes balloon while bringing disaster to our economy. The poor and the middle class now are disproportionately suffering the effects. The rich now should pay disproportionately for the corrections that are needed.
The United States needs to get as much money flowing through the economic system as possible. This should supersede the fear that raising taxes in a recession will impede spending. The more money available to lower income groups through economic stimulus, hiring and infrastructure projects, the more quickly we can bottom this downturn. Leaving more money in the hands of the wealthy will not get cash flowing through the system. The wealthiest simply do not spend their excess gains at the same rate, and frequently spend them outside the United States.
The added tax revenue from the rich will help the economy more than it will hurt it. An analysis by the Tax Policy Center based on January 2008 income projects that repealing the Bush tax cuts on the rich would generate $43 billion in 2009 and $45 billion in 2010. These numbers will undoubtedly be lower than projected as a result of the economic crisis. But they will still be of sufficient magnitude to give Mr. Obama a greater shot at success in his plans to allay the economic crisis by creating "green jobs," rebuilding our infrastructure, and lowering taxes for lower and middle-income workers.
Let's face it: most of us among the rich can afford to pay more taxes than we do. There are many others who are struggling to make ends meet. The principle that the highest-level wealth will sufficiently trickle down to foster a healthy economy has long been proved wrong. President-elect Obama has impressed me with both his pragmatism and his promise of moral leadership. To cut the rich a break while so many others struggle to support and educate their families is neither moral nor pragmatic.
Barack Obama was elected in part because he renewed the vision of American opportunity after the cynical cronyism of the Bush administration. In the midst of an economic crisis, Americans are aware of who gets bailed out and who doesn't. The economy needs everyone's optimism, initiative, and resolve to get through bad times together. For the past eight years the wealthy have gotten wealthier. Now it's our turn to pay the piper and help build a more moral America.