U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Evanston is introducing legislation to raise income tax rates on people earning a million dollars or more a year.

Updated 11:50 a.m.: Schakowsky, at a Washington news conference this morning, joined several other Democrats in calling for the new tax brackets for high earners.

In a news release she quoted an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll earlier this month that reported the most popular way to reduce the deficit according to 81 percent of Americans is to put a surtax on federal income taxes for those who make more than $1 million per year.

The current tax code taxes someone who makes $373,000 a year at the same 35 percent rate as someone who makes over $1 billion, Schakowsky says.

The bill would create new brackets for high earners:

  • $1 million to $10 million: 45 percent.
  • $10 million to $20 million: 46 percent.
  • $20 million to $100 million: 47 percent.
  • $100 million to $1 billion: 48 percent.
  • $1 billion and over: 49 percent.

Schakowsky says income inequality in America is the worst we’ve seen it since 1928. Wages have stagnated for middle and lower income families despite enormous gains in productivity.

“In the United States today, the richest 1% owns 34 % of our nation’s wealth – that’s more than the entire bottom 90%, who own just 29% of the country’s wealth,” she added.

“And the top one-hundredth of 1 percent now makes an average of $27 million per household per year.”

Chart showing changes in household income distributed at the Washington news conference.

“It’s time for millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share, which is why I introduced the Fairness in Taxation Act. This isn’t about punishment or revenge. It’s about fairness. It’s about avoiding budget cuts that harm middle class families and those who aspire to it. We can choose to cut education, job creation and health care, or we can choose to ask those who can contribute more to do so,” Schakowsky said.

The bill would also tax capital gains and dividend income as ordinary income for those taxpayers with income over $1 million.  If enacted in 2011, the Fairness in Taxation Act would raise more than $78 billion.

Several other Democrats in Congress joined Schakowsky at the news conference announcing the bill, along with one millionaire.

“I think very wealthy people like me should pay substantially higher taxes, since we have done exceedingly well in the last few decades,” said Katharine Myers, a millionaire from Pennsylvania whose income comes from royalties from the Myers-Briggs personality test, created by her mother-in-law, which she has managed with Peter Myers since the 1980s.

“Our taxpayer-funded government contributed to my success,” Myers said.

Myers has been a supporter of United for a Fair Economy and its Responsible Wealth project for many years.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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16 Comments

  1. More class warfare

    Jan Schakowsky is once again trying to stoke the fires of class warfare. Doesn't she have anything else in her playbook? Apparently not. She's devoid of useful ideas. You have to love the complete lunacy that resides on the far left.

    The best thing about this bill? It doesn't stand a chance in hell of passing. Thank God for the Republican majority in the house. Let's keep it that way.

    1. Who decries Class Warfare?

      Funny how the higher the tax bracket a person is in, the more likely one deplores any mention of class warfare. How unequal does wealth and income have to be in this country before the "little people", as Leona Helmsley put it, revolt?

      Perhaps, Madison, WI is just the start…

      1. The little guy has already revolted

        The little guy (aka the middle and working class taxpayers who don't belong to public sector unions yet pay more and more taxes to support them) has already revolted…against the public sector unions. We are grateful to Gov. Walker for standing up for us. Like it or not, public sector unions do not represent the majority of working class and middle class taxpayers. Madison is just the beginning of the end for public sector unions running roughshod over taxpayers rights.

  2. Not class warfare – simply the truth

    Why is it considered class warfare to tell people the truth – that the people who make A LOT of money make far more than anyone realize.  That the rich really have been getting richer over the last three decades.  That average wages have been stagnant in that time period.  None of that is up for debate.  So why is it so terrible to ask the wealthy to chip in more – particularly when they get all kinds of tax breaks that the rest don't get.  Capital gains, for example (if you don't have money to invest, you aren't benefiting).  Higher interest rates on savings vehicles is another.  The purpose of a society is to take care of its members.  If I make a million a year, paying an extra 10,000 or even 50 thousand in taxes isn't going to affect me much.

  3. Welcome to….

    Jan Schakowsky's Communist agenda.   Apparently, this person does not know a thing about how much tax people at any level of income pay or don't pay.  

    The only thing worse than intentional ignorance is when the intentionally ignorant open their mouths.

    Every day I see more and more of the slipsliding of Evanston into the abyss of politically correct nonsense, and socialist rhetoric. 

    Some people, by the way, pay NO taxes because:

    — they are here illegally

    — they work for cash only

    — they don't want to work

    — they want someone else to "take care of them"

    If the rich ones pay as high as 49% (they already pay over 30%) then how would Jan suggest we "distribute" the wealth to the "poor?"

    This idiocy is almost more than one can bear.  She ought to move to Berkeley,CA.  They've always got room for one more.

    1. what vitriol

      What a vitriolic diatribe.  What is the socialist rhetoric? 

      Are you denying that the income distribution has changed?

      You don't need to read a leftist newspaper for that.  What you need is to look at the census data.

      It is unconscionable that people in the US can work full time and be living on the edge.  Have you any idea of what minimum wage is? 

      In Illinois, it is 8.25.  Someone who works 40 hours a week makes 330 a week BEFORE TAXES.  If s/he works 60 hours a week and gets time and a half, then the PRETAX income is 577. Could you live on that?  Could you feed your kids on it?  Send them to college?  Get health insurance?  Live somewhere safe where the schools are good?

      The rich used to pay 49% (before Reagan).  At that time, there were fewer people making over 25000.  A lower percentage of people were uninsured.  Lower percentage living in poverty.  And you know what, those wealthy people could still send their kids to college, live in nice homes, and go on vacation.

       

      Look at the places with the biggest income distributions – they are ALL developing countries.

  4. This bill doesn’t go far enough

    Only taxing incomes over a billion dollars does nothing, I want a wealth tax as well. The disastrous policies of Reaganomics and Bush Tax Cuts have destroyed our economy. Higher taxes on the wealthy are the key to prosperity and most billionaires don't become billionaires through income, they do it by stealing it from the middle class through their corporations, so they can go from $0 to billionaires while paying virtually no personal income taxes. No one needs more than $100k a year of income or $500k of savings that they are hoarding, so any income over $100k should be taxed at 90+% and any assets over $500k should be taxed at 50% a year until we can close these unconscionable wealth and income gaps.

  5. Reponse to “More Class Warfare” comment

    Congresswoman Schakowsky is not the first, or the only person to believe that the rich keep getting richer in this country.  Where have you been?  I guess I am not surprised you don't read – most Republicans don't.  You should read this and this for starters.

    It's about time we start taxing the top wage earners in this country. 

    1. Bernie Sanders and EJ Dionne?

      So, you post links to articles by E.J. Dionne and Bernie Sanders and that's the truth? For real? You don't see a problem with that? Bernie Sanders is an admitted socialist. That's common knowledge. He's really, really biased. He sees the world through his ideological blinders. E.J. Dionne is a liberal columnist. He's also biased just as Charles Krauthammer and George Will are biased.

      Do you read anything by anyone who is not a leftist? I would guess not. This is the problem I see with many liberals. They think they are so open minded and tolerant. They're not. They don't even bother to read opposing points of view. Well, unless you consider a liberal vs. a far left socialist opposing points of view.

      Go read and try to understand the conservative and libertarian points of view. Now, THAT will really open your mind. I suggest you spend some time with Reason magazine, the Weekly Standard,  and the Wall Street Journal. Put down the NY Times and the Washington Post for a while and open your mind.

  6. Why is it that Republicans

    Why is it that Republicans always argue against raising taxes on the upper 1% of income earners, but none of them are in that bracket? And, most likely, they will never be in that bracket?

    I understand the argument that the upper 1% create jobs, but that's not really true. A great number of those people (think CEO's, hedge fund managers, actors, the wealthy from inheritance, athletes, etc., etc.) are salaried. While you can argue that some create jobs, a large number do not.

    I've never understood why people argue against their own self-interest. Taking a principled stand is one thing, but ignore reality is another.

    1. Depends on your definition

      I've never understood why people argue against their own self-interest.

       

      It depends on what you define as self-interest. To some (liberals, cough cough), getting handouts from the government is self-interest. To others it's less government intrusion in their lives. Judging by the last election the latter is what the majority believes to be in their own self-interest.

  7. Way to Go, Jan!

    We are so fortunate to have this smart, courageous woman representing our District.  I've followed her votes for years and admire her tremendously.  

    This proposed bill is a political win-win.  If it passes, we win.   If it fails, it will shine a spotlight on the fake populism of the Republican billionaires and help end our country's slide toward oligarchy.  

    "They only call it Class War when we fight back!"   

    Kathleen

  8. Let’s increase taxes and the problems will go away

    Schakowsky's proposal is the typical Democrat response to our soaring debt – enact another tax. Yeah, that's the ticket.

    Meanwhile, the Democrats are fighting tooth and nail against Republicans who want $68 billion in spending cuts. After all, spending in the past two years have soared to record level, more than 50 years of previous congressional spending!

    If your household spending is in a deficit do you demand a raise from the boss or increase your rates to your customers? Or do you cut back spending?

    Isn't it funny that Jan Schakowsky filed a property tax reduction with the Cook County Board for her North Shore home? Doesn't Schakowsky want to pay her fair share? Does she think property taxes are too high? What has she or any Democrat done about rising property taxes?  Has she or ANY Democrat ever LOWERED or ELIMINATED ANY tax?

    Schakowsky has:

    · Voted NO on tax cuts for small business.
    · Voted NO on eliminating the Death Tax.
    · Voted NO on making the 2001 tax cuts permanent.
    · Voted NO on making an increase in the child tax credit permanent.  
    · Voted NO on tax relief and simplification. 
    · Voted NO on eliminating the marriage penalty.
    · Voted NO on $99 billion economic stimulus in the form of capital gains & income tax cuts after the September 11 attacks.
    · Voted NO on maintaining lower taxes on capital gains & dividends

    Next year, I'm voting NO on Democrats.

  9. Congress – how about cutting the $3.5 billion to Israel?

    Jan Schakowsky is talking about taxing those Americans with a high income.

    Ok, but before we take more money from Americans of any income level, how about stopping the steady flow of billions to high income Israel? That tiny country of 8 million people gets well over $3.5 billion each year and this is not even considered for discussion by Congress. It works out to over $400 per Israeli per year from America. Can Americans arrange a deal for themselves like that? In fact, in 2007 a ten year "memorandum of understanding" was signed that increased the amount going to Israel. The amount never goes down.

    Sen. Rand Paul and Rep. Ron Paul have mentioned the strange policy of sending so much of our money to a country that is by no means poor, in fact Israel is a new member of the OECD and in the top 25 countries in the world by GNP. Even some Israelis are calling for a cutback of U.S. welfare as they find it embarrassing.

    Beyond the two Pauls, Congress is completely silent. It is the Israel lobby at work.

    Our Representative Schakowsky along with Senator Mark Kirk (the most heavily funded Congressman by the Israel lobby before he became a Senator) and Senator Dick Durbin will not even discuss the money going to Israel, by far the biggest recipient of U.S. aid.

    Unless we the people make a fuss about this, our pockets will continue to be picked by Israel even as our President is humiliated by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu who tells the United States to get lost when it objects to the ongoing settlement project. When it comes to Israel, the U.S. is not only a helpless giant, but one that is being fleeced.

    Some in Congress say everything in the budget is on the table. Many are howling at what they consider necessities being threatened, but nobody is talking about money to Israel – it is that automatic and unstoppable. Would you like your Congress back? I would. Write Schakowsky, Kirk and Durbin about it.

    You will undoubtedly get a form letter about "the only democracy in the Middle East", "the right to defend itself", "our closest ally", "shared values" and other such tired phrases we've heard ad-nauseum, but at least your objection will be noted. What other "ally" do we have that only takes, and takes, and takes?

  10. Subject: Pending

    Subject: Pending Legislation

    This is a parody Obviously but apt for Jan's attitudes.

    Pending Legislation – Americans With No Abilities Act

    Washington, DC – Congress is considering sweeping legislation that will provide new benefits for many Americans: The Americans With No Abilities Act.

    (AWNAA) is being hailed as a major legislative goal by advocates of the millions of Americans who lack any real skills or ambition.

    'Roughly 50 percent of Americans do not possess the competence and drive necessary to carve out a meaningful role for themselves in society,' said California Senator Barbara Boxer. 'We can no longer stand by and allow People of Inability to be ridiculed and passed over. With this legislation, employers will no longer be able to grant special favors to a small group of workers, simply because they have some idea of what they are doing.'

    In a Capitol Hill press conference, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) pointed to the success of the U.S. Postal Service, which has a long-standing policy of providing opportunity without regard to performance. Approximately 74 percent of postal employees
    lack any job skills, making this agency the single largest U.S. employer of Persons of Inability.

    Private-sector industries with good records of non-discrimination against the Inept include retail sales (72%), the airline industry (68%), and home improvement 'warehouse' stores (65%).. At the state government level, the Department of Motor Vehicles also has an excellent record of hiring Persons of Inability (a whopping 83%).

    Under The Americans With No Abilities Act, more than 25 million 'middle man' positions will be created, with important-sounding titles but little real responsibility, thus providing an illusory sense of purpose and performance.

    Mandatory non-performance-based raises and promotions will be given so as to guarantee upward mobility for even the most inept employees. The legislation provides substantial tax breaks to corporations that promote a significant number of Persons of Inability into middle-management positions,
    and gives a tax credit to small and medium-sized businesses that agree to hire one clueless worker for every two talented hires.

    Finally, the AWNAA contains tough new measures to make it more difficult to discriminate against the Non-abled, banning, for example, discriminatory interview questions such as, 'Do you have any skills or experience that relate to this job?'

    'As a Non-abled person, I can't be expected to keep up with people who have something going for them,' said Ken Miller, who lost his position as a lug-nut twister at the GM plant in Flint, Michigan, due to his inability to remember 'rightey tightey, lefty loosey.' 'This new law should be real good for people like me,' Miller added. With the passage of this bill, Miller and millions of other untalented citizens will finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.

    Said Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL): 'As a Senator with no abilities, I believe the same privileges that elected officials enjoy ought to be extended to every American with no abilities. It is our duty as lawmakers to provide each and every American citizen, regardless of his or her inadequacy, with some sort of space to take up in this great nation and a good salary for doing so.'

    1. Americans with No Abilities Act

      Fortunately, support for the non-abled community is bipartisan.  Under the Bush administration, cabinet members (Alberto Gonzalez), potential Supreme Court Justices (Harriet Miers), FEMA Directors (Brownie), and numerous others who previously faced discrimination due to their lack of any skills were rewarded based on their loyalty to George W. Bush – who of course set a great example of how even the most non-abled person can succeed if his father is a former President with lots of wealthy oil executive friends.  
       

      The 2008 Republican presidential candidate, Senator McCain (who also  overcame his own lack of ability by getting into Annapolis based on his father and grandfather's service)  also demonstrated his concern for the non-abled by choosing Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate.  She was an inspiration to all  non-abled Americans.

      More importantly, the Republican commitment to the non-abled goes beyond token appointments.  By eliminating inheritance taxes, the Republicans have ensured that non-abled people like Paris Hilton will not suffer from the indignity of working for a living.

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