Saturday, November 20, 2010

From Yahoo.Com

Millionaires to Obama: Tax us

By Rachel Rose Hartman

Anti-tax activists everywhere have been loudly arguing for an extension of George W. Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans in the United States. Now a group of millionaires is arguing the opposite.

More than 40 of the nation's millionaires have joined Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength to ask President Obama to discontinue the tax breaks established for them during the Bush administration, as Salon reports.

"For the fiscal health of our nation and the well-being of our fellow citizens, we ask that you allow tax cuts on incomes over $1,000,000 to expire at the end of this year as scheduled," their website states. "We make this request as loyal citizens who now or in the past earned an income of $1,000,000 per year or more."

The group includes many big-time Democratic donors such as Gail Furman, trial lawyer Guy Saperstein and Ben Cohen of Ben & Jerry's ice cream (pictured). The list remains open to millionaires who want to sign on.

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Republicans in Congress argue that a failure to extend tax cuts for individuals making over $250,000 would be detrimental to the economy. "It's a massive tax increase," Minnesota GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann said this week on ABC's "Good Morning America." "And it's on the people who are the job creators."

Most Democrats in Congress are opposed to extending cuts for the wealthiest Americans--but they're treading carefully about how to proceed with the issue.

The president has repeatedly stated his support for extending Bush-era cuts for the middle class, but Democrats are divided over whether to vote only on middle-class cuts or to include a vote on cuts for those making $250,000. It doesn't appear that the Senate can muster the votes to pass a measure that would extend only middle-class cuts.

"I think there's a reality here, which is that while it might be best to continue the middle-class tax cuts and raise taxes on higher-income people, the votes are not there to do that," Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) told the Washington Post.

[Related: 40 billionaires pledge to donate half their wealth]

Democrats already chose to delay the tax cut issue until after the Nov. 2 election. And on Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and other leaders indicated the party will postpone action on tax-cut extensions until after the Thanksgiving break.

Republicans continue to call for immediate action, saying they fear business owners will be less likely to hire workers and spend money as they remain uncertain about future tax liabilities.

[Related: Warren Buffett praises bailout efforts]

(Photo of Ben Cohen: AP/Lefteris Pitarakis)

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