In early February, Sheldon Whitehouse introduced the "Pay a Fair Share Act"--legislation embodying the so-called "Buffett Rule" to ensure that the highest income Americans who make more than a million a year would pay at least a 30% rate on all of their income (including capital gains), rather than being able to pay less than 15% as in the case of Mitt Romney. The bill is estimated to bring in about $50 billion a year. (If the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire, the additional amount would of course be less, around $25 billion a year.)
Whitehouse appeared on the Keith Olbermann show (Feb. 3, 2012) to help spread the word about the bill. You can watch the episode/read the transcript here. The Congressional Research Service has estimated that a quarter of all millionaires--more than 94,000 people--pay tax at a "rate lower than most middle class taxpayers." Whitehouse explains that "[w]ith all the advantages that do come with enormous income, paying a lower tax rate than regular, working families should not be one of those advantages."
You can voice your support--and help give Congress the courage it needs to buck the Big Money that wants to rape the government by forcing the little people to pay taxes while the wealthy get off scott free--by going to www.Buffettrulebill.com. Tax policy shouldn't be set as a quid pro quo to suit the reigning plutocracy.
As usual, the anti-tax argument from the right is that if you raise taxes on the extraordinarily wealthy, you will drag down the economy and hurt small businesses. That's bunk, of course, and the right knows it. Whitehouse points out that studies have shown little relevance between rates for the wealthy and any negative impact on small business. Fact is, if someone makes more than a million a year out of their business, they can afford to pay 30% in taxes and still will be doing quite well, thank you. The taxes aren't coming out of their businesses--they're coming out of their profits.
(There's a snippet of discussion about Romney's tax plan, which would save the average Middle Class American a whopping total of $167 a year in taxes, while cutting the bills of millionaires and billionaires by tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars. Romney's response to a question about the fact that a typical middle class American would get only $167? "It's not nothing.")