Progressive Taxation: Not on Hillary’s Agenda

Hillary Clinton’s economic policy speech this past Monday at the New School of New York was a laundry list of progressive proposals– like raising the minimum wage, strengthening worker protections, social security and health care and investing more in infrastructure and early childhood education. See a video of her speech c-span.org.

HillaryClintonEconomicSpeech

Photo credit: http://blogs.newschool.edu/news/2015/07/hillary-clinton-economic-vision/

It was a speech, however, that was long on great ideas but short on specifics –for example how will she raise the revenue needed to implement all the initiatives she’s outlined.

It is one thing to talk about “tax reform” and another to detail specific revenue raising proposals.

Mrs. Clinton did talk about closing corporate loopholes and eliminating the special treatment of “carried interest” on profits paid out to executives and fund managers.

But these might best be described as nibbling at the edges of tax reform. When it came to broad-based reforms of the kind needed to pay for her many initiatives, Mrs. Clinton came up woefully short:

“… those at the top have to pay their fair share. That’s why I support the Buffett Rule, which makes sure that millionaires don’t pay lower rates than their secretaries. “

It’s a sad commentary that the best the Democratic front runner can muster is to say that millionaires should not pay lower rates than their secretaries.

Whatever happened to the concept of progressive taxation?

Have we forgotten a core Democratic principle – that people who earn more and benefit more from our economy should pay a higher effective tax rate?

Apparently we have, since virtually no one took Mrs. Clinton to task for effectively saying it is OK to tax millionaires and secretaries at the same rate.