Tax hikes are needed for the country's wealthy in order to plug budget shortfalls and maintain government services such as Social Security and Medicare, says economist and former Labor Secretary Robert Reich.
"The only way America can reduce the long-term budget deficit, maintain vital services, protect Social Security and Medicare, invest more in education and infrastructure, and not raise taxes on the working middle class is by raising taxes on the super rich," Reich writes in his blog.
Most Americans cannot handle new tax increases, as incomes for the bulk of the population haven not kept pace with tax increases.
It's a different story with the rich.
|Robert Reich (AP Photo)
"From the 1940s until 1980, the top tax income tax rate on the highest earners in America was at least 70 percent. In the 1950s, it was 91 percent. Now it's 35 percent," says Reich, now a professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley.
"If the rich were taxed at the same rates they were half a century ago, they'd be paying in over $350 billion more this year alone, which translates into trillions over the next decade," wrote Reich, who served in three national administrations and was a secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. "That's enough to accomplish everything the nation needs while also reducing future deficits."
This year, the wealthy might want to double check their tax forms, as audits on America's richest could increase.
The IRS's Individual audits rose during year 2010 by about 10 percent — or 1.11 percent of the total number of returns, according to FoxNews, with the bulk of the inquiries targeting the wealthy.
For people making $10 million and up, the swath of those audited rose to 18.4 percent from 10.6 percent, FoxNews reports.
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