Mr. BLUMENAUER. Mr. Speaker, it's a sign of maturity to be able to retain two different but related concepts in your head at the same time. For instance, taxes should not be raised on the majority of working Americans while the economy is in this very difficult situation. But a little more can reasonably be paid by those who are extremely well off.
The simple fact is that our economy and our families cannot afford to take the economic hit that is poised to pull a hundred billion dollars out of the economy with the expiration of the 2 percent payroll tax holiday that's scheduled to expire this year.
There is currently a proposal that's being debated in the other body that I hope we'll have the opportunity to vote on here to be able to extend and expand the payroll tax cut and to pay for it.
Under this proposal, employees would receive a 50 percent additional cut in the payroll tax, cutting it essentially in half, and employers would have a reduction in the payroll tax that they pay on their employees up to the first $5 million of payroll. This would help 98 percent of businesses but not give unnecessary giveaways to large and profitable organizations, and, most importantly, it would prevent the typical family from suffering a significant increase in their taxes while the economy is still fragile. This proposal would give the average family $1,500 a year extra to spend. You would think that people ought to be able to corollate those two concepts.
The way that this would be financed is a small surtax on not just rich, but superrich people. These are folks who make over a million dollars a year, and they would just pay the surtax on that amount that they earn over the million dollar threshold. It's far less than the 1 percent that we are hearing argued about. They would still pay lower Bush-era tax rates on the first million, and those that have extensive investment income, which most of them do, would still benefit from those lower rates.
Unfortunately, we find people here who are caught up in an ideology that trumps concern for the economy and the typical American family. It was this refusal to consider a balanced approach that is supported by the vast majority of the public that led to the collapse of the so-called supercommittee. Americans were and are ready for action that is bold, big, balanced and fair.
Now, we actually can start on the road of recovery just by going on autopilot. The default that is set up that will let the Bush-era tax cuts expire unless Congress does something and moving towards automatic sequestration will actually solve most of the deficit problem that we face just by doing nothing.
But we can do better than nothing. We can adjust. We can craft. We can focus it to get the most benefit. And we can start with a modest adjustment.
I hope my colleagues will not let the worship of the top one-tenth of a percent of the economic pyramid trump concerns for the rest of working families and the American economy.