At the end of last year the National Archives released a Treasury report that had been kept secret for 67 years. The report focused on Americans making more than $67,000 ($1 million in today’s dollars) in the early 1940s and their federal income tax rate.
In 1941, Americans in the highest bracket paid 81% of their income in taxes. By 1944, the top bracket had moved to $200,000 and the rate to 94%.
Today, those in the highest bracket have a marginal rate of 35%: less than half of what it was 70 years ago.
What would have happened if Obama had let the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest expire? Their rate would have jumped to 39.6% - the horror! The argument is that these cuts are necessary to spur growth, but they’ve been in place for almost 10 years of stagnation and recession! It is highly doubtful that these tax breaks will create any jobs in the U.S. One thing is clear, though: The rich like them.
“If we’re going to strengthen our economy and grow jobs, this type of outreach - and cooperation between the administration, Congress, and the private sector - are critical,” says Jamie Dimon, chairman of JPMorgan Chase & Co.
It’s no surprise that chairman Dimon is happy about the tax deal: He’s rich. He’s averaged just under $22 million a year for the last three years. For him the deal means an extra $1,179,000 next year, according to Citizens for Tax Justice. It’s worth noting that JPMorgan Chase got a $25 billion tax payer bailout. It was leaked last year that they planned to spend $400 million to outsource thousands of jobs to India.
Contrary to the assertion that this bill will grow jobs, it may just be taking them away. A recent 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll showed that 61% of Americans see taxes on the rich as the best way to tackle budget gaps. The second most popular solution? Cutting military spending. Yet the corporate executives and their hired politicians have different, less popular, solutions.
The claim that the “cooperation” between the White House and big business will strengthen our economy is a bad joke. They are cooperating to make sure we pay for the crisis they caused, and the only thing growing is their bank accounts.
This cooperation bailed out the banks while many of us lost our jobs. This cooperation, in addition to the bailouts, gave $3.3 trillion in “no-strings attached” loans to the wealthiest financial institutions, while workers across the country were thrown out of their homes. This cooperation insures that the Employee Free Choice Act will never get passed.
And what about Obama? He campaigned for years against the Bush tax cuts, calling them “immoral” and saying they “offended his conscience.” Apparently his conscience doesn’t stack up against corporate campaign contributions. Why would a man who found these tax cuts so immoral pack his cabinet with Wall Street vultures anyway? Cooperation?