President Barack Obama has nothing on former Labor Secretary Robert Reich when it comes to tax hikes. In Obama’s budget released this week, he proposed that the Bush-era tax cuts be allowed to expire after 2012 for those with annual income of more than $200,000
The top tax rate is now 35 percent. But Reich proposes to raise it to 70 percent on income of more than $15 million, to 60 percent on income between $5 million and $15 million, and to 50 percent on income between $500,000 and $5 million.
Not surprisingly, even some on the left have taken issue with the former Clinton administration official who is now a professor at the University of California, Berkeley.
For example, Andrew Leonard of Salon writes: “A 70 percent tax bracket for the richest Americans is pure fantasy – even suggesting it represents such a fundamental disconnect with the world as it exists today that it is hard to see why it should be taken seriously. I would be deeply worried about the sanity of a Democratic president who proposed such a thing.”
Reich’s response: “Fantasy? I don’t know Mr. Leonard’s age but perhaps he could be forgiven for not knowing that between the late 1940s and 1980 America’s highest marginal rate averaged above 70 percent,” he writes on Business Insider. “Under Republican President Dwight Eisenhower it was 91 percent. Not until the 1980s did Ronald Reagan slash it to 28 percent,” he said.
"It will soon become evident to most Americans that the only way to reduce the budget deficit, preserve programs deemed essential by the middle class, and not raise taxes on the middle, is to tax the top," he said.
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