This piece is the fourth in a six-part series on taxation, and a joint project by The American Prospect and its publishing partner, Demos.
The “Buffett Rule” proposed by President Obama and now being considered by the Senate would be an important symbolic step toward a fairer tax system. By instituting a minimum tax on very high earners, it would advance the principle of progressive taxation and reform the tax code in an overdue way.
The other day, on a Manhattan sidewalk, I ran into a former colleague and asked her what she was doing these days. She shrugged: “I’m in limbo.”
When I looked her up later to connect online, her LinkedIn profile listed her as CEO of her own consulting firm. That didn’t sound like limbo to me, until I saw the fine print: “self-employed, myself only.” Scrolling through the rest of my contacts, I noticed that quite a few people in my professional orbit had titles like “president” or “founder” or “principal.” Some of these people, I know, are doing quite well; others are barely making it.
For more than a century, big business has counted on the Republican Party to do its bidding in Washington. Given recent debates over taxes and regulation -- in which GOP lawmakers have catered to corporate interests -- it might seem that not much has changed.
The past few weeks, though, show that everything has changed. Today's Republican Party is turning out to be the worst friend business could imagine, led by politicians who don't understand the modern economy, and, worse, are ready to blow it up on principle.
(AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Oil-company executives testify before the Senate Finance Committee in May.
Lobbyists, don your loafers: The biggest tax-reform debate in decades is about to begin.
While the debt-ceiling deal didn't include any tax increases, the next phase of negotiations is sure to explore raising new revenues through tax reform. That's because, by law, the Bush tax cuts are set to expire at the end of 2012, putting the issue of revenues squarely on the table -- but with the White House holding more cards this time around.