We hear a lot about "shared sacrifice" and belt-tightening out of Washington, but as billionaire investor Warren Buffett noted on Sunday:
"Our leaders have asked for 'shared sacrifice.' But when they did the asking, they spared me...and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks."1
As complicated as some want to make it, this issue is very simple. In a time of economic crisis, it's both healthy for our democracy and fundamentally fair to ask the super rich to pay more.
Senator Bernie Sanders has a bill to do this and make millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has yet to call a vote on it.
Sign the petition and tell Harry Reid: Warren Buffett wants you to raise his taxes.
One of the main drivers of our federal deficit are the Bush tax cuts, which have driven down tax rates for the wealthiest Americans to the lowest levels we've seen since the 1950s.
Tax rates for the richest Americans have fallen sharply despite the fact that taxing millionaires and billionaires is wildly popular, and the cost of not taxing them extremely high. The Sanders bill alone would bring in an additional $50 billion a year in revenue.
When someone like billionaire investor Warren Buffett says that he and his friends "have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress,"2 people pay close attention. And with Washington focused on what to cut and by how much, Mr. Buffett asking for Congress to raise his taxes represents an important opportunity.
This is a rare moment to inject common sense into the debate over budgets and get senators on the record about being for or against record low tax rates enjoyed by billionaires like Buffett.
Tell Harry Reid: Warren Buffett wants you to raise his taxes.
With the creation of a new twelve member Super Committee empowered to fast-track through Congress budget-slashing legislation that cannot be amended, it's more important than ever that we pressure our representatives to deal with the crisis caused by their inability to end the Bush tax cuts and bring back rational taxation rates for the richest Americans.
And before the congressional Super Committee issues a draft of its budget plan, we need all senators to go on the record about whether they support or oppose the simple notion that the super rich need to pay their fair share. This will create much needed momentum to help Democrats on the Super Committee hold the line on our demands for revenue increases.
Sign the petition asking Harry Reid to call a Senate vote on Sen. Sanders' bill to tax millionaires and billionaires.
Republican hostage-taking and other deeply undemocratic tactics by members of both parties have left us with a budget process that is broken, and as a result most senators avoid taking a stand on important issues like whether we should raise taxes on the very richest among us.
But in the face of massive budget shortfalls, and with a billionaire like Warren Buffett literally asking for it, there's no excuse for Congress not to vote on taxing millionaires and billionaires.
1 "Stop Coddling the Super-Rich," Warren Buffett, New York Times, Aug. 14,2011.