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Super committee: Let Bush tax cuts expire and your work will be done

Another decade of these lower tax rates for the wealthiest 5 percent of Americans would cost the US Treasury around $2 trillion – more than the amount of deficit reduction (at least $1.2 trillion) the debt super committee must find.

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$11.6 million every hour of every day. That’s how much money would be flowing into the US Treasury, but isn’t, as a result of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 5 percent of Americans.

Though they were originally set to expire in December 2010, President Obama extended the Bush tax cuts through 2012, and some members of Congress propose making them permanent. Another decade of these lower tax rates for the wealthiest 5 percent – taxpayers who make at least $176,000 and on average $477,453 – would cost the Treasury around $2 trillion, according to analysis by Citizens for Tax Justice, and corroborating analysis by other tax organizations.

Incidentally, $2 trillion is more than the amount of deficit reduction mandated (at least $1.2 trillion) in the Budget Control Act. That’s the August deal that prevented a government shutdown and possible US debt default after the congressional standoff on whether to raise the US debt ceiling. The law formed a Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, known as the “super committee,” now tasked with finding a trillions plus in savings – an amount that wouldn’t even fully offset another decade of Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest.

On the other hand, letting the tax cuts expire for the top five percent would accomplish more than the Budget Control Act’s required deficit reduction without slashing government programs, at a time when many economists warn that reduced public spending would exacerbate the weak economy. While the September jobs report found that the private sector added jobs, the public sector had shed 34,000 of them – and further cuts in spending would force more public workers into the ranks of the unemployed.


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