Tax reform is a very complicated, very difficult endeavor. True reform—even if it benefits our country and citizens broadly—creates short-term winners and losers. The House of Representatives recently had the opportunity to vote on the Senate-passed extension of tax cuts. Unlike the Republican plan that actually raises taxes on 25 million families by $1,000 on average by cutting the Child Tax Credit and the Earned income Tax Credit, and by reducing tax credits for education, the Senate-passed bill offered by House Democrats would give tax cuts to 100% of Americans on their first $250,000 of income.
Instead of passing this sensible bill, Republicans want to extend tax cuts for the richest 2% of Americans, giving an annual cut of $160,000 to the average millionaire and driving the country even further into unnecessary debt. It's not right.
Republicans also rejected my amendment that would have reinstated a sensible estate tax. My amendment would have protected family farms and small businesses without offering giveaways to super-wealthy estates. It would also have provided a measure of predictability to an area of tax law that has remained unsettled for 12 years.
Claims that letting the tax cuts expire for the richest 2% will hurt the economy are baseless. Under President Clinton, the richest 2% paid a higher rate than they do now and we saw 22 million jobs created during his presidency. Under President Bush, we saw only 5% of that job growth.
It's time to settle this issue, give all Americans a tax cut on the first $250,000 they make, and not waste nearly a trillion dollars over ten years giving more handouts to millionaires.