Saturday, December 08, 2012

Cleaver: We must extend the middle class tax cuts

In his latest EC from DC report, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver makes the case for extending the middle class tax cuts.

According to the new White House report, income taxes are scheduled to go up for 2.1 million middle class Missouri families on January 1, when tax cuts such as the expanded Child Tax Credit, the 10 percent tax bracket, marriage penalty relief, and the American Opportunity Tax Credit for college expire. If those in the House don't permit action on the President’s plan, already passed by the Senate, everyone’s income taxes will go up, by as much as $2,200 for the typical middle income Missourian family (earning $70,700) with two children.

Both Democrats and Republicans agree that we must extend the middle class tax cuts. My colleagues across the aisle may believe that we need extra tax breaks for the top 2 percent, but I am not so sure. If we come together to extend tax cuts for every family, on income under $250,000, everyone gets a tax cut—even those making more than that amount. 

You see, our tax brackets work like a staircase. Each step represents a higher level of income. Some people make enough money to make it up to the first step. Some people make enough money to get up a few steps. And some people make enough money to make it up to the very top of the stairs. The tax rates are different depending on what step you are standing on, but if we agree to extend the tax cuts for all incomes under $250,000, everyone who hit the first few steps will get a tax cut—even folks who made it to the top later on. 

This week, I joined 177 of my colleagues in signing a discharge petition, led by Rep. Tim Walz (D-MN), to ask the House Leadership to hold an up-or-down vote on the Middle Class Tax Cut Act (H.R. 15). This legislation to enact the President’s plan, which has already passed the Senate, would provide everyone with a tax cut on income up to $250,000, while asking the rich to pay their fair share by allowing taxes on income over $250,000 to return to Clinton-era rates. 

If we agree to extend all the tax cuts, even those for the very rich, the folks who made it to the top just get an extra helping, way more than the rest of us. Economists agree, extending the middle cuts are important to the economy. But if we decide to extend the cuts for those at the very top, too, we do damage to the deficit and do nothing to create jobs or get growth going. 

Instead of recklessly renewing all the tax cuts, we should provide certainty for the 114 million middle class families whose income taxes are scheduled to go up January 1st. There is simply no reason to wait, when more than 2.1 million middle-class Missourian families will be affected by this decision. 

No comments: