Support Mounts for Sanders Plan

23,000 Sign Letter to Treasury Secretary, House Banking Chair Endorses Tax Proposal

WASHINGTON, September 24 - Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has been joined by more than 23,000 citizens in a letter to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson calling for a surtax on the very wealthy to bankroll any bailout of Wall Street.

"Any plan to clean up the mess on Wall Street must ensure that middle income and working families are not the ones who are paying for this bailout," the letter says.

The phenomenal outpouring of support came in the two days since the letter was posted on Sanders' Senate Web page.

Meanwhile, House Banking Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) reiterated his support for Sanders' proposal for a five-year, 10 percent surtax on income over $1 million a year for couples and over $500,000 for single taxpayers.

Frank and Sanders were interviewed today on the National Public Radio program "On Point." The banking committee chairman said he first voiced support for Sanders on Sunday on the CBS News program "Face the Nation."

"I think this strengthens the argument for a surtax on the wealthiest people in this country who are among those who made these mistakes. We are unfortunately in a situation -- it's almost as if we let them take the economy hostage but not having appropriate financial regulation," Frank said. "I do think at this point the people who make over $1 million a year, a surtax on their incomes, that's one way to get the people who made these mistakes to contribute to the cost of undoing it."

Sanders proposal is for a five-year, 10 percent surtax on income over $1 million a year for couples and over $500,000 for single taxpayers. That would yield more than $300 billion in revenue to cover losses the government will incur when it resells troubled mortgages it acquires from banks.

He also called for a major economic recovery package to put Americans to work at decent wages, a return to stronger regulation of businesses, and the breakup of giant corporations like those that got the country and Wall Street into the crisis. "If a company is too big to fail, it is too big to exist," Sanders said.