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Pay a Fair Share

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. DeFAZIO. Well, I was initially very supportive of the President's proposed Buffett tax based on the premise that no millionaire or billionaire should pay a lower tax rate than a checkout clerk at the Albertsons supermarket or a small business owner who only earns $40,000 a year. It seemed fair to me. But, you know, then I started listening to the Republican response, and it's pretty heavy and it really gives you pause to think about whether or not this is a good idea for our country. It's class warfare. It will hurt job creation. You know, these are arguments. It won't raise money. These are arguments that certainly are very, very telling.

In fact, I have some direct quotes from one Representative: ``This is really the Dr. Kevorkian plan for our economy. It will kill jobs, kill businesses, and yes, kill even the higher tax revenues that these suicidal tax increasers hope to gain.''

Another Representative: ``Class warfare may win political campaigns, but it doesn't spur economic growth. Raising the capital gains tax may garner political capital, but it will not create any jobs.''

And then, finally, of course: ``When are we going to get it? We do not have a revenue problem in this Congress; we have a spending problem.''

Those are heavy criticisms. And just think if they proved true what a disaster it would be for America. Now, of course, these criticisms were all leveled in 1993, the last time we had a Democratic President propose that millionaires and billionaires should pay a fair rate of taxes in this country.

The first one was from Representative Christopher Cox, a total idiot who ran the Securities and Exchange Commission while Wall Street gambled our economy into the tank. He said the part about killing jobs, and we wouldn't get jobs and we wouldn't get higher revenues.

Well, actually, with the Clinton tax increases, we did get higher revenues, we did balance the budget, we did pay off debt, and we had 3.8 percent unemployment. And we were asking the job creators, the millionaires and billionaires, to pay a fair share. I guess Chris was wrong.

Well, let's see, the second one was from former Representative Pryce of Ohio about political capital not creating any jobs. Well, we already addressed that. We had 3.8 percent unemployment.

What have they done to create a single job so far this year? Nothing. In fact, they eliminated jobs. But, you know, that's because we want to give the job creators a break. We don't want to tax them, all to protect tax cuts.

And then, finally, the final quote about we don't have a revenue problem; we have a spending problem is from then Representative Boehner, now Speaker Boehner.

Now, of course, our taxes are at 15 percent of our gross domestic product, considerably lower than the percent of taxes that were levied in the Reagan era. And, you know, we do have a revenue problem, $5 trillion of tax cuts over the last decade, $5 trillion, 5 thousand billion dollars of tax cuts, heavily oriented toward the job creators--the millionaires and the billionaires.

Where are the jobs? Where are the jobs?

It doesn't work. First it was 8 years of Bush tax cuts, then 2 years of Bush-Obama tax cuts, and now we have President Obama's further proposed tax cuts.

Tax cuts don't create jobs.

Now, I think, actually, now I have considered their arguments, the President's right. Billionaire hedge fund speculators on Wall Street, let's think about it. Their rate of taxation is 15 percent on billions of dollars of income. A small business owner, $50,000 a year, whoa, more than twice that. Army captain, just back from defending America in Afghanistan, whoa, more than twice that.

Who gives more value to this society, the parasite on Wall Street who is speculating and driving up the price of our fuel and making billions of dollars doing it or the Army captain or the small business owner, the real job creators?

We can, by levying a fair rate of taxes on the millionaires and billionaires under the Buffett tax--the best investor in this country, who thinks this is the direction we should go--we can both create jobs, stabilize the economy, get down the deficit, and continue to fund critical programs. Ironically, in the grand deal that was adopted back here a month ago that I voted against, there was only one specified cut, one cut specified in that bill--graduate student financial aid. That's because at the country club they don't meet anybody who can't put their kids through medical school.

We need doctors. We need other professionals. We need to help the next generation succeed, education and infrastructure investment, and we need money to help pay for it.

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