US: Tax the wealthy, says top Democrat
22 November 2012
Posted by: SAIT Technical
By William Selway (Business Day/Bloomberg)
Executive summary (SAIT Technical)
US House of Representatives minority leader Nancy Pelosi said that taxes on the wealthy must rise, a call also recently made by the recently re-elected President Barack Obama. Pelosi said that hust eliminating tax loopholes will not raise enough revenue.
US House of Representatives minority leader Nancy Pelosi said at the weekend any budget agreement to avert the so-called fiscal cliff must raise tax rates on the highest earners, a step backed by President Barack Obama.
Ms Pelosi, a California Democrat, could not accept any budget deal that does not raise tax rates on the wealthy, she said in an interview broadcast on ABC's This Week.
She said she was optimistic over an agreement, possibly by the middle of next month, and that eliminating tax loopholes will not raise enough revenue on their own.
"Just to close loopholes is far too little money,” Ms Pelosi said in the interview. "If it's going to bring in revenue, the president has been very clear that the higher income people have to pay their fair share.”
Mr Obama and Congress are negotiating now to prevent more than $600bn of automatic spending cuts and tax increases scheduled to start taking effect in January, which would deal a fresh blow to the still-struggling US economy.
Negotiators are urgently working to keep that from happening, Ms Pelosi said. "The spirit at the table was one of ‘everybody wants to make the best effort to get this done'.
"Hopefully that is possible; hopefully it is possible by the middle of December so the confidence of the markets, and most importantly the confidence of the consumers, returns to infuse our — our economy with — with demand, which creates jobs,” she said.
Mr Obama earlier on Sunday expressed confidence that he and the US Congress would reach an agreement. "I am confident we can get our fiscal situation dealt with,” he said during a news conference in Bangkok, where he began a three-nation trip.
Mr Obama also spoke at the weekend about the issue with business leaders including Berkshire Hathaway chairman and CEO Warren Buffett, Apple CEO Tim Cook, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, Boeing CEO Jim McNerney and Costco Wholesale Corporation CEO Craig Jelinek, according to a White House official.
House speaker John Boehner has indicated that his fellow Republicans, who hold a majority in the lower chamber, would accept some revenue increases so long as they are coupled with "significant” spending cuts. Mr Boehner sits atop a restive coalition of ultraconservative Republican lawmakers and faces a tough sell in any deal that eventually includes any kind of tax hike — or "increased revenues” in government parlance.
Ms Pelosi said negotiators in Congress were hard at work to avert the looming fiscal disaster.
Georgia Representative Tom Price, a Republican on the tax-writing house ways and means committee, stopped short of ruling out a tax increase, although he rejected Mr Obama's proposal to let tax cuts on the wealthy lapse, saying that it would not raise enough revenue.
"We'd be happy to look at that if it solved the problem,” Mr Price said on Sunday on CNN's State of the Union programme. "The problem is it doesn't solve the problem.”
Senator Richard Durbin, an Illinois Democrat who is assistant majority leader, said on the CNN programme that he senses a greater willingness by Republicans to work out a deal.