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Friday, April 15, 2005

 
Edwards on Tax Fairness

From John Edwards' mass email:

Yesterday, at the New School in New York, I am joining a group of leaders from around the country to discuss the issues of fairness in America. To me, there is no place where fairness is more at risk today than in America's tax code. The reason I started talking about two Americas is that this administration wants our great country to run off two sets of books: one for those at the top who get all the breaks, and one for the rest of you who do all the work. That's wrong. If we're going to be one America, not two, we must have one tax code, not two. Not only is the current system already stacked against working Americans, but our opponents want to make it even worse. Our opponents want to shift the tax burden from unearned income straight on to the backs of working people. They want to give the wealthy more favors and call it reform, and they want working people to foot the bill. This radical notion turns on its head the very values that built America - rewarding hard work. This is the time to stand up for the great American value: work. This is the time to say that a stockbroker should never pay a lower tax rate on wealth than a secretary pays on work. This is the time to say that the wealthy and powerful shouldn't have access to special shelters and loopholes that regular people can't use. And this is the time to say that we want a tax code that rewards everyone's work to build everyone's wealth. We must take away the biggest shelter in the current tax code: the fact that the very wealthiest are able to shelter capital gains and dividends from the Alternative Minimum Tax. The very purpose of the AMT is to make sure the very wealthy pay their fair share and leave the middle class alone. But thanks to this administration, the AMT is doing exactly the opposite. It is increasingly hitting middle class families all over the country. President Bush likes to talk about himself as a tax-cutter, but the truth is that the AMT is a big tax-raiser on many middle-class families. At the same time, the AMT is not taxing many of the multimillionaires it was meant to tax. Why? Because the wealthy have the sweetest shelter in the business: their capital gains and dividends get special breaks from the regular rate in the AMT. Doing away with tax shelters for multimillionaires is just the beginning. We have to also make it easier for working middle class families to pay their taxes, and I present some ideas for making filing your taxes and saving for the future easier to do in the full the text of my speech, which you can read here. I hope you will read it, and let me know what you think by visiting my blog to continue the conversation. Your friend, John



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