Dear Member of Congress:
As national organizations concerned with our economy, jobs, protecting critical services for the middle class and the most vulnerable, and meeting our fiscal challenges, we are writing to urge you to ensure that the tax cuts signed into law by President George W. Bush that benefit the richest two percent of Americans be allowed to expire on schedule at the end of this year. It is time to begin to restore some basic fairness to our tax system.
Ending the Bush-era tax cuts for the richest two percent of Americans, households with incomes over $250,000, is simply asking them to pay their fair share. Americans admire financial success, but over the last decade, wealthy Americans were enriched even further by substantial tax breaks while millions of other Americans saw their wages drop in real terms. The gap between the richest households and everyone else in the U.S has widened to historically high levels.
If we continue unaffordable tax breaks for the richest two percent, we won’t be able to address critical national priorities demanding attention – such as improving education, strengthening Medicare for the long term, creating jobs, improving our infrastructure, and helping the millions of families struggling to get by. We’ll have to borrow even more money to finance these tax cuts, adding to deficits, increasing the interest we must pay on our debt, and making it harder to effectively address our significant long-term fiscal challenges. And tax cuts heavily tilted towards the wealthy have proven to be a failed economic strategy because they create many fewer jobs compared with alternatives. Simply put, we cannot afford to continue to give large tax cuts to those who need them the least.
Congress may consider temporarily extending all of the Bush-era tax cuts later this month. We strongly oppose this, as well as proposals to extend the tax cuts up to the $1 million income level. With the threshold set at $250,000, 98 percent of Americans would receive their full tax cuts next year, and all Americans would receive a tax cut on their first $250,000 in income. Raising the threshold to $1 million would lose $366 billion in revenue over the coming decade compared to extending the tax cuts only up to the $250,000 income level, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. Almost half of the benefits of the higher threshold would go to millionaires. The middle class would be left to pick up the tab.
Polls show that about two out of three Americans agree that we should end the Bush-era tax cuts for the richest two percent of Americans. When the proposals come to a vote, we hope we can count on you to ensure the tax cuts for these wealthy Americans expire at the end of this year.
Thank you for considering our views on this most important matter.
American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees
Center for American Progress
National Education Association
National Women’s Law Center
Go here to sign onto this letter: bit.ly/PXrsLb