"At a time when poverty is increasing, the middle class is shrinking and the distribution of wealth and income is more unequal than at any time since the 1920s, it is imperative that Congress initiate progressive tax reform which asks the rich and large corporations to start paying their fair share of taxes. This tax reform certainly should include raising the tax rate on private-equity firms and hedge funds from the current 15 percent," Senator Bernie Sanders said on Tuesday. The hedge fund tax break has allowed managers of private equity firms and hedge funds to cut their total income tax bills by billions of dollars compared to what they would owe if they were taxed at the same rate as regular wage earners.
"It should be unacceptable to every member of Congress," Sanders added, "that at the same time as we are seeing a huge increase in the number of billionaires and millionaires in this country, we continue to have the highest rate of childhood poverty in the industrialized world, college education is unaffordable to many, our infrastructure is collapsing and we have made no significant investments in sustainable energy in order to reverse global warming. The American people want us to move this country in a new direction, and progressive tax reform is central to that effort."
To help frame the debate, Sanders last March introduced legislation setting out national priorities. His plan would expand opportunities for the middle-class, lower the poverty rate and keep commitments to veterans, senior citizens, children's health care and other national priorities by repealing tax breaks for the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans while expanding tax relief for working families.
Sanders' legislation, The National Priorities Act of 2007, also would redirect $60 billion in the Pentagon budget by ending outdated Cold War-era weapons programs and eliminating waste, fraud and abuse. The Pentagon provision would prohibit achieving any of the savings by shortchanging basic needs of military personnel, including pay raises and health care.
To read more about Sanders' National Priorities Act, click here.