Tax dollars and common sense

Under both Democratic and Republican administrations, our current tax code has been bought and sold by powerful special interests. Millionaires and billionaires hired armies of lobbyists to write tax laws that benefit only themselves. They pushed for loopholes and special provisions that allow approximately a quarter of all millionaires in this country to pay lower effective tax rates than millions of middle class families.

President Ronald Reagan recognized the inequities in our tax system and sought to change them. Three decades ago, he said it was “crazy” that a bus driver could pay more in taxes than a millionaire. President Reagan spoke of closing “the unproductive tax loopholes that have allowed some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share.”

ADVERTISEMENT
On this issue, I agree with President Reagan and President Obama that hardworking, middle class Americans deserve a fair shake. That is why I have introduced in the House legislation that would put into law what we’ve come to call “the Buffett Rule.” The Paying a Fair Share Act is a companion to the bill introduced in the Senate by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)

The Paying a Fair Share Act would ensure that middle class workers do not pay a higher tax rate than those earning more than $1 million a year. This common sense solution would address the disparity that Warren Buffett decried and it will reduce the deficit by billions of dollars over the next decade.

It’s high time we leveled the playing field between middle class taxpayers and millionaires and billionaires. The Paying a Fair Share Act will help restore people's faith that if you work hard and play by the rules, you'll have a chance to get ahead. It's up to Congress to fix this obvious injustice. The American people deserve to know where their Representatives stand on this critical opportunity to restore fairness in our tax system. 

I ask my colleagues in the House to join me in taking this first step to strengthen our middle class and rebuild our economy with a commitment to shared responsibility and shared sacrifice. 

Representative Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) serves on the Committee on Energy and Commerce, as well as the Subcommittee on Environment and the Economy.