Dear Congressman Schiff
December 30, 2012
The last time I wrote to you we were involved in a tax merry go round that is strikingly similar to where we are now. It seems astonishing that after four years of dickering, a second Presidential referendum, and the continued intransigence of House and Senate Republicans that we are no closer to dealing with debt and tax issues in 2012 than we were in 2009.
I very much appreciated your lengthy response to that letter which convincingly laid out your compromise position. That was a position which seemed to me to give away much, even though the Democratic position in the House was far stronger then than it is today. The GOP has only used those gains on holding the line on tax issues to harden their position. I am hoping that this time around, both you and President Obama not yield to further compromise. That practice, as a long term strategy, has run its course and is obviously not working. While the economy continues to repair itself, thanks in part to the government’s assistance, the hole dug by the Bush Tax Cuts will dog us until we rescind them and establish real tax reform. An important first step in that process is letting the tax rates on incomes over $250,000 expire.
If tax increases for the over $250,000 earners are not going to help with deficit reduction (as the Tea Party economists and House Republicans suggest) then tax increases solely for those earning even more (the over a million dollar earners) are going to fail by an even wider margin. The logic is inescapable. Why bother moving the argument even further away from parameters that actually begin to solve the problem? We fretted over the 2009 stimulus but in the end, most agree that much more support would have been more effective. Ironically, while we continue to have our philosophical dustups over the size and effectiveness of government we become ever more contentious about solutions that, in the end, have increasingly marginal effects.
It is probably axiomatic that taxes should rise on all of us but at rates that are supportable for the lowest earners and much larger for those at the top income ranges. We continue to allow huge tax dodges for corporations to the extent that some of the largest and most profitable pay nothing at all. These are the entities that use the most of what our national infrastructure has to offer: financial stability through banking and financial platforms, physical infrastructure, tax incentives, and generous (often unneeded) subsidies. It is time for all that to change. Advantage and profit needs to be paid for in actual taxes, just as you and I do.
We continue to make false bogeymen out of the Fiscal Cliff, Social Security and Healthcare rather than reestablishing revenue streams that at one time produced surpluses and provided funding for programs which are well within the normal limits of Federal Government. Not doing so will render us unable to move toward real solutions and threatens social programs that people have paid into. They have a right to expect them to be there and to function as planned, without debilitating mitigations and new indexes for determining benefits. I am hoping that President Obama does not retreat from these issues and that you, too, will support those original positions as the negotiations move ahead.
I expect a changed landscape after the elections in 2014. Hopefully the House can be returned to being an institution that actually accomplishes something. I look forward to seeing the current hostage situation in the House resolved with strong push back on your part.