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Forum Post: An Offer to the President

Posted 10 years ago on Dec. 16, 2011, 1:59 p.m. EST by anonwolf (279) from West Peoria, IL
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

By Robert Reich, Robert Reich's Blog

15 December 11

Mr. President, we heard what you said last week in Kansas - about the dangers to our economy and democracy of the increasing concentration of income and wealth at the top.

We agree. And many of us are prepared to work our hearts to get you reelected - as long as you commit to doing what needs to be done in your second term:

  • Raise the tax rate on the rich to what it was before 1981. The top 1 percent has an almost unprecedented share of the nation's wealth and income yet the lowest tax rate in 30 years. Meanwhile, America faces colossal budget deficits that have already meant devastating cuts in education, infrastructure, and the safety nets we depend on. The rich must pay their fair share. Income in excess of $1 million should be taxed at 70 percent - the same rate as before 1981.

  • Raise capital gains taxes to the same level. It's absurd that the 400 richest Americans - whose wealth exceeds the wealth of the bottom 150 million Americans put together - should pay an average 17 percent tax on their incomes, the rate day laborers and child-care workers pay. That's because so much of the income of the super-rich is considered capital gains, now taxed at only 15 percent. Close this loophole.

  • Tax financial transactions. A tiny tax on every financial deal would yield billions of dollars more. It would also slow speculators and reduce the wild gyrations of financial markets.

  • Use the bulk of this money to create good schools, give our kids access to a college education, and build a world-class infrastructure, so all our children have a chance to get ahead.

  • Resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act, that used to separate commercial from investment banking. It was put in place after the Great Crash of 1929 to prevent financiers from gambling with peoples' bank deposits. But it was repealed in 1999 - and its repeal contributed to the Crash of 2008. Wall Street lobbyists have made sure the new Dodd-Frank law has enough loopholes to allow financiers to continue to gamble with other peoples' money. The only way to stop this is to bring Glass-Steagall back.

  • Cap the size of Wall Street's biggest banks and break up the biggest. They were too big to fail before the bailout. They're even bigger now. And because of their huge size they get preferential treatment from the Fed, giving them an even greater competitive advantage over smaller banks. Cap their size and break them up before we have to bail them out again.

  • Require the big banks that got bailed out to modify the mortgages of millions of Americans now under water, who owe more than their homes are worth. It's not their fault the banks created a housing bubble that burst, causing home values to plummet.

Mr. President, we know nothing good happens in Washington unless good people outside Washington are organized and mobilized to make it happen.

So here's the deal: We'll reelect you. We'll stand behind you. We'll give you a mandate to do all this - and more - in your second term.

As long as you stand behind us.




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[-] 3 points by MrMiller (128) from Sandy, UT 10 years ago

I don't think that Obama is as bad as he seems to a lot of people. Part of the reason that he's ineffective is that he has a crappy congress to work with. I would give him another chance, provided he makes MAJOR financial reforms and supports the 28th amendment.


[-] 1 points by fairforall (279) 10 years ago

You have no leverage - he can agree and then not do. He already promised to fix the mortgage issue, a non-discrimination act wrt sexual orientation, reducing earmarks, comprehensive immigration bill in his first year, FMLA changes, min wage increase, guantanmo bay closing, etc, etc, etc. Remember transparency in government? How about something very simple and basic like his commitment to a plug-in fleet for the WH instead we see fleets of black escalades.

Robert, what do you think will be different this time around?

[-] 0 points by hidden (430) from Los Angeles, CA 10 years ago

There is not point for him to promise us anything, he never does anything he promises. He is a papet for the corporations. Wake up!

[-] 0 points by DemandTheGoodLifeDotCom (3360) from New York, NY 10 years ago

Yes, increase taxes, but instead of using that money to fund an inefficient federal bureaucracy, use the extra money to just pay everyone a dividend.

For example, if we made the tax rate a flat 50%, we would have enough revenue to pay for our current level of government PLUS pay a $40,000 per year dividend to every adult enrolled in school and every adult employed and every adult unemployed but willing to volunteer while they look for a job.

That would end poverty, reduce inequality and increase education.

You can find a variant of that idea at DemandTheGoodLife.com

[-] 0 points by libertarianincle (312) from Cleveland, OH 10 years ago

So THIS is what your worried about? The president is about to sign himself the power to detain YOU indefinitely without trial, and you are worried about taxing the rich?