Budget must be built on foundation of fair, progressive taxation

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  • Dale Eisman

The federal government’s next budget, and those that will follow, ought to be built on a foundation of fair, progressive taxation and a social safety net that protects those Americans who can’t protect themselves, Common Cause said today in responding to President Obama’s budget speech.

“We agree with President Obama that with our economy still fragile, now is not the time to be talking about cutting government spending programs geared to helping the recovery, or those that support the elderly and unemployed,” Common Cause President Bob Edgar said. “Instead, the budget debate should begin with a commitment to overhaul our tax structure and close loopholes so that corporations and everyone else are paying their fair share.

“It’s a scandal that 83 of the 100 largest publicly traded U.S. corporations utilize tax havens to reduce their U.S. tax liability,” Edgar said, citing a recent said General Accounting Office report. “It’s a scandal that – through our flawed campaign finance system — we’ve allowed our tax structure to become so skewed in favor of the wealthy that the gap between the richest Americans and the rest of us is larger than at any time in our history. And it’s a scandal that for the past decade we’ve tried to pay for two wars — and now perhaps a third — on borrowed money, going from a budget surplus to today’s staggering deficit.”

Edgar credited the president for putting the deficit in context as a long-term national challenge and for calling on all Americans to share in the sacrifices required to bring federal spending under control.

He said the president should have been more specific today about plans to overhaul the tax code, and in particular about making sure that corporations that now shelter their profits overseas pay their fair share. “We also look forward to the development of a detailed plan to cut defense spending while maintaining our national security,” he said.