To Pay for Health Care, Obama Looks to Taxes on Affluent

President Obama’s budget will call for stricter limits on itemized deductions, introducing a politically volatile edge to the debate over his domestic priorities.

Comments: 125

  1. Excellent ideas. This is true democracy at work!

  2. Well, now we'll see the rubber meet the road - will people still love Obama when money is coming out of their own pockets? Or will the idealism and exuberance exuded during the campaign turn into a Not in My Tax Deductions backlash? We shall see, we shall see.

  3. If we want universal access to good health care, we need to be willing to pay for it. The current batch of Republican legislators who claim to be economic conservatives are a fraud. A legislator who is a genuine economic conservative, expects to pay for whatever amount of government he legislates.

    Republican legistraors for the most part are nothing more than paid lobbyists who represent the interests of the economic elite who want their taxes reduced. It's absurd that those who wring their hands and pretend to represent economic conservatism are the very individuals who have increased government spending and reduced revenue. Why does anyone continue to believe their propaganda?

  4. Finally something that makes sense out of Washington.

  5. Mr. Obama,

    I am a 'high income' person. I went to school for 19 years, I worked long hours work others. I started my company 7 years ago. I take a lot of risk. Yet, because I prepared, worked hard and now bear large risks. I am to be harvested to fund your programs. I am not rich, I simply earn a good living. Yet, because you use income to define citizens, I am rich and am to be sacrificed to your wishes, funding those who did not prepare and do not risk.

    If you want to stifle innovation, pursue your goals, saying you will tax the 'rich' to fund your wishes. We will disappear soon enough. Then what?

  6. Those people that ignore good health habits, should not get medical help free,or other. Instead, be required to study ways [public school] to teach themselves how to live a healthy life way. [style]

  7. Its taken a long time for someone to finally do whats right for most of the population and not just the richest people. The question is: will republicans let all of the legislation they made fall down so quick? I have no doubt that lobbyists and other groups will be putting lots of pressure on congress so these kind of laws dont pass.

    Congratulations Mr. Obama, in this short time you have done more for your country than in the 8 horrible previous years.

  8. Quick hide your money!

  9. At what point does it become taxation without representation, if only a minority are actually required to pay taxes? If the majority does not have to contribute anything to taxes, social programs will be designed purely to satisfy the ruling class that does have any fiscal responsibility. Why aren't any NY Times readers screaming?

  10. While I am hardly surprised that Mr. Obama would like to let the Bush tax cuts expire in 2010, I am surprised that a well-read and thoughtful man like him would raise taxes during a recession. The only people spending right now are those with the income to do so. Slap 'em with more taxes and they will stop too.
    And cutting funding to Medicare and Medicaid? Bad idea. It is already the lowest payor around and many physicians already limit the number of Medicare/Medicaid patients they see because of that. Good luck finding a good physician now.

  11. There three main sources of tax revenue - You can tax spending (sales taxes) - you can tax earnings (income tax, capital gains taxes) or you can tax assets ( real estate taxes, personal property taxes, inventory taxes, tariffs) . Why do we only tax personal assets at the local level. The owners of luxury mansions, art work, planes, boats, stock holdings etc all derive benefit from the national defense, the preservation of public order and the creation and preservation of public infrastructure. When it is desirable to encourage savings, tax spending the most. When we want to encourage spending then tax assets. It is time to tax assets at the national level

  12. Well, this all seems good on paper, tax the rich, so that the poor may enjoy more benefits.

    But, the real problem is that the government needs to collect more of the money that it is already owed.

    There is an incredible amount of wastage that goes on in people getting away with ridiculous tax schemes.

    For example, there is a guy in Buffalo New York who got over $500,000 from the government in fradulent refunds, simply by stating that he overpaid his estimated quarterly withholding tax.

    The government sent him back $500,000 no questions asked. The accountants scam only came to life when he tried to scam another company, a local car dealership.

    If the federal government would collect on the money it is already owed, then there would not be the need to raise the taxes as much as they say they have too.

    There is an incredible amount of waste that goes on in our Federal system.

    Buearocracy is not the answer to our health care or anything else. It only makes things worse, not better for the patient.

    For example, electronic records, which has been hightly touted, costs an average of $30,000 to implement for the local practitioners and $1200 a month maintenance fees there after.

    This is prohibitive for the local family doctors.

    Medical care is not going to get any better under this sweeping government plan, it's only going to get worse.

    More and more doctors today are going to private pay.

    They don't want the hassles of billing insurances and all the red tape associated with it.

    Sure, the tax laws need reforming as do a whole lot of other things, but the frist step would be to collect the monies that are already owed to the government,rather than just raising taxes.

  13. I strongly support what the President is doing, and I'm glad he understands the importance of getting carbon cap legislation as soon as possible. To borrow Gore's phrase, we really are facing a planetary emergency. That said, I am somewhat concerned to read that Obama plans to use revenues from proposed carbon permit auctions to pay for tax cuts. The devil is in the details -- all revenues, some revenues? I realize the public at large must see a clear benefit. But I hope enough revenues are left to pay for other things that need to be done to stop global warming.

  14. This is the unfortunate double-speak coming from this administration. If President Obama truely believes that it is "....unfair for high-income people to get a bigger tax break than middle-income people for claiming the same deductions or making the same charitable contributions" then, he out to come right out and support a flat tax (or some variation of the FairTax). That way, everyone is treated the same and no one is unfairly singled out due to their income level.

    But, Mr. Obama is not interested in being "fair" - even though he regularly throws that word around (a bit too much). "Fairness" to Mr. Obama is simply defined as shifting wealth from those who have earned it to those who have chosen not to.

  15. In western European countries taxes have supported national health systems for fifty years. That means the rich pay more (taxes) and the poor pay less (taxes) but all have access to free health care and medicines. You might say just as all have access to public schools. Doctors earn well, but are not over the top rich, and just about no one has health insurance. In Italy where I live and probably in some other countries there is a very small charge for tests such as CAT scans, but the charge is about$30 and only for those on a salary. This is called 'solidarity' - the rich of course pay more and others less, but all have a right to health care. I chose my family doctor who comes to the house to see when I am very ill or sees me in her office if I ask for a regular visit. It is very difficult for me to understand why Americans think it's fine to use taxes to pay for schools, police,public works, and not for ..... health. Here there is no deductable to pay and no one hesitates to use the system. In addition the European Union systems are integrated, so if I go to France or England I don't have to worry about health insurance either.

  16. "Roughly speaking" starting at $250,000 per married couple? Ha! How about $209,000 per married couple by 2009 filing. But why shouldn't the Times fudge the number by 20% if it covers over that this tax alone shows Obama to have lied not only in his campaign--but in his prime time speech earlier this week?

  17. Welcome to the new Socialist Republic of America.

  18. Those making over $250,000 should pay more. It's as simple as that. We're talking about the same tax rate as when Bill Clinton was president, and if I remember correctly, the rich did pretty well when he was in office. I already saw a Republican Congressman from Texas saying that now's not the time for higher taxes when so many people are "struggling" in this economy. I make less than $40,000 a year, and although my family is struggling, I'm getting by. Don't tell me that someone who makes $250,000 or more is struggling. Only 5% of all Americans make that much! So I would encourage the rest of us to support the President Obama's plan.

  19. ..."The White House says it is unfair for high-income people to get a bigger tax break than middle-income people for claiming the same deductions or making the same charitable contributions."

    It's long, long overdue. I hope it becomes a reality.

  20. Dear Congressional Republicans:

    Get this health care plan done, NOW. Lives are ruined both physically and economically every day for lack of affordable health insurance and it's your fault.

    P.S. Your obstructionism and excuses for not doing the right thing make you look like a bunch of selfish children. It's disgusting.

  21. Now watch and observe the howls of protest as the affluent are asked to bear a slightly fairer share of the burden ...

  22. O.K. affluent...yeah, if you're on food stamps and welfare and public housing $250,000.00 is big bucks. Let's call it as it is, $250k is chump change, but how bouts we jack up some tax brackets to 50%/60%. Maybe the Kobes, A Rods, Nardellis, Eisners, Madofs, Clooneys,Pitts,Spears all the Million buck bonus boys could start coughing up some bucks.
    Only guy to call it right so far was Santelli at CNBC.

  23. About time. The working poor and middle classes have been paying for the medical care of the poor for a long time. Re-redistributing the value of ill-gained surplus labor is fair, democratic, moral and just.

    Redistribution of the wealth of the nation into the ownership and control of 5% of the population is unfair, undemocratic, immoral and unjust.

    America is not here to serve the psychopathic needs of the few that have driven out culture, ethics, social economic and political values and actions. America is here to provide for the welfare of a free people.

    The people have used terms like entrepreneur, competition, capitalism, free trade to win tax breaks and deregulation of efforts to control their greed and unpatriotic efforts to collect pictures of dead presidents beyond any reasonable level of need in this or a 100 lifetimes.

    Expect them to raise all the old red herrings and new ones to subvert democracy, fairness, equality, morality, proper and human ethics and democracry.

    Here are the first lines of defense:

    1) it is communisitic

    2) it is socialistic

    3) it is big government

    4) it is a plot to undermine the hard working Americans

    5) it encourages irresponsible Americans to continue to be irresponsible

    6) it is social engineered redistribution of wealth

    7) it will undermine America's strength and world wide power

    8) it is Democratic tax and spend

    9) it is meant to help undeserving immigrants

    10) it is against the world order created by G-D

    11) it is a plot to push the agenda of gay, lesbians, Arabs, terrorists, Islamics, abortionists, environmentalists,

    12) it will force people to pay taxes to support underserving Americans.

  24. "Mr. Boehner likewise criticized Mr. Obama’s cap-and-trade emissions permits proposal."

    How does Mr. Boehner respond to the National Academy of Science's urgent call for action to limit greenhouse gas emissions?

  25. This makes sense to me. Those that can pay more should. Sign me up. -Jim Boehm

  26. The top 10% of wage earners pay 65.84% of all income taxes. The bottom 50% pay 3.46%. Here's a thought CUT spending and LOWER tax rates, you commie wackos!

  27. Obama needs to stop playing politics and take care of real issues in the US. There will be no reason to raise taxes to continue with Medicare, or any other national health care program, once the for-profit intermediary, non-professional layer of costs is totally removed, and the "Medicare Advantage Plans" the Bushes farmed out to insurance companies, approved by congress, is also stopped.

    The continuing outpouring of funds from our tax dollars back to for-profits that have no medical licenses overseeing direct care, much less home-health care for our disable and elders must cease now. None of the nations providing excellent health care permit a market economy to drive their service of health to it's citizens. The USA is not such a nation, and never has been one.

    BETTER OPTION: CMS must immediately began purchasing all DME (durable medical equipment) directly from manufacturers, and drop-shipped same to regional medical centers (Level I), and/or homes of those on home health approximately 31%, minimally, would be saved according the OIG's 2008 reports. Furthermore, if Level I medical centers (non-profits only in compliance with the IRC) were contracted by CMS, to oversee all care of in-home patients (they area not clients / consumers - such have a choice!) direct professional over-sight would be managed by same, which dispatched the needed professionals (RNs, RRTs, RPTs, OTs, CNAs, Speech Therapists, et al) to patients at home to set up, train, and oversee care, a replicate savings would accomplished overnight, instead of sub-contracting all of this out to Cigna, Apria, Lincare, Blue Cross, etc.

    Obama and Conrad are obviously terrified of corporate America, and based on congressional behavior the past decade, the reasons are obvious; however, that does not excuse the raping of Americans for decades without our government protecting it's taxpayers, or any humans on earth for that matter. Corporate tremors may be quieted by assuring those in the insurance industry that savings would result in more purchasing of life policies, as well as "frosting on the cake" health insurance for those who want to pay for luxuries accompanying their health care, however not provided by CMS.

    It's time things started to level out, with actual steps taken to stop fraud in DC affecting every American. Thus far, it's not being done. No more WH parties, please - have picnics, eh, without the wind and rock.

  28. Why aren't there more tax brackets? Why shouldn't the percentage of income paid as taxes continue to rise with the income. I am a pretty conservative Republican kind of guy but fair is fair. Tax incomes over 1 million at 50% and over 5 million at 70% and keep going.

  29. This is very encouraging news. Health care simply must be addressed. So must the excesses of compensation and tax policy favoring the super rich that have developed over time.

    The idea of making tax deductions apply more fairly between middle income people and the very wealthy is new to me, but sounds incredibly promising.

    I guess this is the type of Change we voted for. I guess this was worth waiting for. I don't see how anyone can in good conscience oppose the goals laid out in this article.

  30. Isn't it interesting that the same Democrats who portray those who produce value and are compensated for it as greedy and evil, then run right to these same productive people to fix their tax revenue problems?

    They claim that it is 'unfair' that those in a higher tax bracket get more benefit from the same deductions but if 'fairness' is the goal how can they justify taking a higher percentage from those who actually produce something of value.

    Wouldn't 'fair' mean taking the same percentage from everybody?

  31. It is a shame that people that have worked and paid taxes consistantly for 20 or 30 years lose their health care when unimployed. We should take better care of each other. It is wonderful that those high wage earners are caring enough to to vote for extra taxes to provide health care to those in need.

    According to the New York times election analysis, the majority of those earning over 250,000 voted for Obama. President Obama's campain promise was to increas taxes to those earning over 250,000, and reduce taxes to those earning less than 250,000.

    I believe that most people earning over 250,000 understand that everyone needs access to health care.

    I just hope the new legislation prevents the insurance companies from touching the money on the way to the doctor. I am guesing this would could decrease the costs by 25%.

  32. So the Obama administration proposes to tax (penalize)me on my employer provided health care benefits to raise revenues to provide (free, most likely) universal health care to those who can't, or won't, pay for it today? This is change I CAN'T believe in. Watch the fine print to see if illegal aliens get universal health care coverage; bet they do. If he is going to tax the "affluent" to provide health care for illegals then traffic crossing the border will increase: the illegals pouring in while the affluent leave this sinking financial ship.

  33. Higher taxes could have kept the greed, excesses and corruption on the check. It would have served as a disincentive for the outrage bonuses. If someone has to pay 90% if 100 million dollar bonus as tax, he would be lot less inclined to go down the path of fraud and bubbles.

    Looking back, reducing the tax rates by Regan may be the first step of shooting the guard dog before robbing the bank.

  34. Your calculations are incorrect. There are exclusions on most deductions based on percentage of income, so that even now there is some reduction in benefits from deductions for higher income taxpayers.

  35. It's about time those who've benefited from the GOP's "government by tax cut" paid their fair share.

    And I do mean "fair." It's not just natural genius, some inborn Master of the Universe superiority -- or even just their hard work -- that brought them wealth.

    It's the way this country's set up -- its laws and infrastructure that, at least when we're not ruled by con men, seek to spread opportunity and some measure of fairness -- that made it possible.

    But it's pointless to argue with people convinced of their superiority, so I'll just say: If you don't like it here, there's a world full of other countries that would love to have you.

    Just don't come crying when you find out your local warlord is a jerk.

  36. It is truly gratifying to read about President Obama's health care plans and tax plans. Gradually his heart is emerging--and it's in the right place--on the side of compassion and common good. He's on the right track and it's up to us to let him know it.

  37. It concerns me that the President only sees one side of the fairness issue. It is somehow "unfair" for the wealthy to get to take their full itemized deductions. However, it is perfectly fair for that same group to pay a higher per centage of their income in taxes. I think the word "fair" needs to be examined.

  38. "Pharmaceutical companies have strenuously resisted such proposals in recent years."

    Ha! That there is a strenuous understatement.

  39. sacrificing principles of capitalism and free market,the obama administration thinks redistributing wealth will help spur the contracting economy and relieve the burden on low and middle income households. at the end of the day this'll all be proven naive.he excluded the real driving force behind economic activities.

  40. "It is time to tax assets at the national level"

    The income that allowed me to acquire my assets was already taxed when I earned it, and I likely paid a sales tax at the time of acquisition. If you start taxing people's "things," you just encourage a spending shift from "things" to experiences (travel, dining, concerts, etc.)

    I don't like the 28% cap on deductions. Suppose that $50K of my income falls into the 33% tax bracket and I have $50K of deductions. Then I would pay more in taxes than someone who earned $50K less than I did but had no deductions. How is that far? Just raise my marginal tax rate and leave the treatment of deductions alone. It's simpler and "more transparent," and yes, more fair.

  41. If 250K is "chump change," what's 50K? By that reasoning, people like me making only 1/5 as much as those making 250K shouldn't pay any taxes at all.

  42. Is the $$$ cutoff that was chosen for taxing the "rich" based upon the income of the Treasury Secretary?

  43. The Democrats are going to get their heads handed to them in the 2010 elections. The pendulum will swing back to the middle, as it always does.

  44. Mr. Obama--

    I am one of those "rich" people you talk about taxing. I worked hard at Harvard to secure my degree and then worked in the finance sector, spending long hours working and getting additional certification. I opened my own business and worked even longer hours.

    Now I have two large homes, large TVs, a boat, and spend 2 weeks in Europe every year. All my friends are rich too. Life is good, but busy. I spend a lot of time trying to hold onto my stuff and get more.

    But why, Mr. Obama, do you want to tax me and my people--you know--the successful, real people? Raising my tax rate 3 or 4% will seriously cut into my golf trips and wine budget. Did you ever think of that?

    This is America! People should pull themselves up by their bootstraps. That's what my daddy taught me, and he should know, he was a regent at Harvard when I went there!

    So, before you start punishing the people who count, you should ask yourself, do you want this country to be like Russia--with masses of people out of work, low standards of living, disappearing pensions, and housing problems...?

    O.k., bad example. But you get the point. Government should be responsible and leave things alone, which is the definintion of responsibility. If you need an example, just look at your predecessor's TWO terms in office. Rich people dig that.

    We all enjoyed the show prior to the election--making history and all that--and the talk at the spa just made me giddy with all that highmindedness and such. But its time to get real.

    When you said "cut backs" I thought you were talking about that wasteful expense of government cheese! Boy did you pull a fast one, Mr.! Remember, America is great because of people like me--greedy, vapid, narcissistic, and vain. These are the "four legs", and if you you were to loose just one, then you'd just have a stool, and that wouldn't do at all.

    Let's get back on track and keep my neck of America great!

  45. Joe Williams of NY (#31) refers to "those who actually produce something of value." Hey, Joe, do you mean that the auto mechanic, the medical clerk, the cook at McDonald's, the bus driver, the teacher, the policeman and fireman, don't "produce something of value"?

    Robert of NJ (#9), complains "because I prepared, worked hard and now bear large risks" he is being asked, maybe, to pay a bit more in taxes. He went to school for 19 years - who paid for those schools? Even in private schools and colleges, tuition doesn't pay the full costs. He runs a business - who pays for the roads he and his suppliers use, supports tax subsidies for his phone and internet service, and provides the entire physical and social infrastructure that made it possible for him to start and run a business? Really, Robert, you didn't do it all by yourself.

    Some of the wealthy seem to think that they became wealthy entirely through their own efforts, with no help from any taxpayer supported infrastructure or programs, without the system that allows and even encourages them to become wealthy. They fail to recognize that they really didn't get there by themselves, that they are at or near the top of a pyramid that is held up by all of the building blocks below. If they don't help support those building blocks (their workers, other workers, schools, and yes, health care for those in the lower building blocks) they may find those building blocks crumbling - and then what will provide their foundational base?

    One of the crushing costs for most families and for most small businesses is health care and health care insurance. Most industrialized European countries have a form of universal health care, as does Canada. Ever wonder why U.S. auto manufacturers moved manufacturing to Canada - where they don't have crushing health insurance costs? It's really time for the U.S. to join the rest of the civilized world and treat health care as a necessity for everyone, just like food and housing and education, and make good, thorough health care available to all regardless of "ability to pay".

  46. well there are plenty of wealthy people out there moon-lighting. I believe zip codes should be checked and see what incomes are at those locations. These families shouls not be able to receive benefits if they live off

    mega dividends. Their children should not receive any school breaks, tax breaks etc., if they can afford to live in wealthy protected areas.

  47. Compared to the lower half of US workers, the wealthiest people's incomes rise exponentially, yet their taxes rise only linearly.

    Taxing the wealthiest people is only fair, but to be even more fair, we should add a "health care tax" to every single item of soda and junk food, a kind of pay-as-you go system for the single biggest cause of America's chronic health care problems: food abuse.

    Such a tax would assuage the wealthy's sense of injustice because it is not lost on them that there is a direct relationship between higher incomes and better physical fitness in the USA.

  48. I reside in Monmouth County NJ, and my husband and I earn about $250K a year. The statement that those earning $250K are wealthy is wrong. The proposed tax increase is a double jeopardy for those who have worked hard to earn a living, and live in high cost-of-living areas. We cannot afford to live on one salary in New Jersey. This income does not make us affluent. The planned tax increase for "the wealthy earning more than $250K" does not make sense, especially during a recession - we should not be put into the same category as those earning many millions such as bankers, baseball players, and Hollywood stars. We live in a modest home and have responsibly paid off our mortgage. We have never taken any government handouts. Our property taxes - the highest in the nation- are $12,000 a year. Maybe $250K is a lot of money in some parts of the country - it is not a lot of money in New Jersey.

    Two incomes has given us the insurance we need in this job market - one spouse will likely stay employed. We will not need to be bailed out, and we should not be asked to pay higher taxes to bailout the irresponsible.

  49. What irks me about raising taxes at the high end is that there is no adjustment for regional costs of living. In New York City, the cost of living is more than double that of Houston TX, and NYC residents pay a lot to the state and city. Yet Obama will maintain the AMT which reduces or eliminates deductions for state and local taxes, depending on income. This lack of balance and an acknowledgment that wealth at the 200K is very relative is neither fair nor logical.

  50. Let's watch as we kill the goose that lays the golden egg.

  51. Quote "The working poor and middle classes have been paying for the medical care of the poor for a long time." - - ed g, Warwick, NY

    FACT: The "working poor" and middle class pay nothing in federal income taxes. The bottom 45% of "taxpayers" pay ZERO percent of the federal income taxes collected. The top 50% pay 97% of the tax burden. I think we should just change that to 100% and get it over with.

    Question, should those who pay NO income taxes still be called "taxpayers"??

  52. Why does anyone believe a word this man says? Why does not the media do a little fact checking?

    You could confiscate all the income, houses, portfolios.. everything from the top 2% of Americans and it still won't come close to paying for all of Obama's promises.

  53. There will be a slew of protests from those who make $250 and those who think they could make, like Joe the plumber. Even though rest of us know for a fact plumbers making $250k and more is never going to happen in this life time. They are gonna claim we worked hard so many years and so much now you are going to tax our innovation our ability to work hard blah blah

    I have a question here...how many of us think the CEOs and movie stars and all those who draw large salary realy deserve what they make?

    For example some of these guys make like $100 million plus a year i.e. almost 400,000 a day....is it real? The time these guys go to bathroom or lunch during the year at work they would make 10 times more than an average american....is that really hard work? How much is fair??

    Is the system fair that there prices are determined by market or you scratch my back and I yours? Let us not say it is market when it is not open to all....

    So I say more power to Obama ....it is time these guys stop cribbing and pay for our existense at least....

  54. At long last we may see the day,
    When Fairness will come into play,
    The happy climax is
    The Rich pay fair taxes,
    No longer would they underpay!

  55. What is really needed is a complete revamping of our tax code. The government should seriously consider elimination of all deductions and implementation of a flat taxation system with lower rates for all taxpayers.

  56. Welcome to the new Socialist Republic of America.

    — Chris, NOVA

    -----------

    Not to be confused with the republic that simply borrowed $6 trillion since 2000 alone, even as it launched a war, created the largest entitlement program since 1964, and slashed taxes on the rich.

    Oh those reckless Democrats.

  57. Power bills are going to go through the roof. This is a middle class stealth tax. When it becomes clear that the tax credit can't be paid for anymore, it will be dropped, and we'll all be sending more money to Washington to waste.

  58. Heck ... I'm not even rich and I am willing to pay more in taxes for single-payer, universal health care. The lack of decent, regulated, health care is the single greatest challenge we have to overcome. Let's get past the simplistic Rush Limbaugh epithets and, to steal a marketing phrase, just do it. Let's back HR-676 as a place to start.

  59. If they were so keen on raising taxes, why wouldn't John Kerry (richest member of congress, D-Mass.) and Jane Harman (second richest, D-Calif.) lead by giving up half of their assets? Right, they only want to take other people's money. When it comes to their own, not only do they not volunteer anything, you would have to nominate them to some cabinet position to get them to pay. And even then, they coughed up only a portion of their fair share. Charity starts at home? Not!

  60. Our current system is too complex, costly and inefficient! The cost of health insurance is strangling American business because our reliance on the ‘market’ keeps everyone in relatively small purchasing pools. Medicaid in its various forms requires people to remain destitute or limit their family income for ‘assistance’. President Obama said a publicly funded, single payer health insurance program is the most comprehensive and cost effective program.

    Health insurance is one area where conservatives cannot claim economic pragmatism because public insurance has been proven to be more comprehensive and less expensive than our private market. Even Canada's conservative prime minister said in a news conference with Obama that Canada faces many of the same economic troubles as the U.S. but not in health care. They finance health insurance through their provinces.

    It's like to old Geiko commercial where the lizard tells someone, "Why, if you're so rich, just keep sitting in your chair and do nothing!" Building on the “current” system only assures more of the same. A publicly funded insurance pool like an expansion of Medicare will create a system that protects everyone without the requirement people stay poor for benefits or fork out huge sums of cash in deductibles. We’ll get there someday, and I wish President Obama would follow his own advice.

  61. The last 20-30 years have been one big "tax break party" for the upper middle class and wealthiest Americans. With this in mind, I say it's about time they start paying their fair share of the bills in this country... ...the same country that enables them to earn the money that they make.

  62. Obama's gear box is jammed on full-speed ahead towards socialism. Bush let us drift to within yelping distance of the rocks. Obama, it seems, is determined to complete the job. Reckless.

    By the time the 2010 elections come around we will not be able to recognize this country.

  63. Well, my wife and i make $180K, give or take. And we have two kids in college. We stand ready, willing and able to pay higher taxes for a better and more decent society. As a former president once say, "Bring it on!" :)

  64. Back when Eisenhower was president, and Republicans controlled both houses of Congress, the top federal tax bracket was set to 91%. All told, the wealthiest Americans paid about 50% in federal taxes back then, while the Middle Class paid well under 20%. And the Middle Class prospered and our country fared well under what would now be called a fringe-left socialistic tax system.

    Today, the tax burden has flipped. The wealthiest Americans pay less than 18% in federal taxes, while the Middle Class pays 30%+. No wonder most families now need two wage earners to lead a middle class existence, vs. one wage earner in the 1970s.

    For the last 28 years, our tax laws have been rewritten to help the wealthy at the expense of everyone else. It's time to reverse this. The Rich should pay at least the same percentage of their income to the federal government as do the Middle Class.

    If realized, Obama's plan would be a baby step in the right direction.

  65. I own my home, my car and have zero debt and for years operated a small business that was lucrative enough to support me. I set aside a proper nest egg. Then I had phenomena and had to be hospitalized 6 days--70,000 later I am without clients, my savings busted because I paid my bills--I see a future without any retirement savings--I do not qualify for any health insurance except escalated scale ($1000+/mo). When does someone give ME a tax break?

  66. The 500 wealthest people in the country are worth over one trillion dollars. That's an average of two billion dollars each. That does not consider the asset value of the top 400 corporations. It seems like an awful lot of money has been redistributed to a very few people at the top.

  67. The health care system in this country is backwards in that the buk=lk of the spending goes to treating people after they get sick. The priority should be on keeping people healthy. For example why not require that people get annual checkups that include complete blood work, etc. Then problems can be caught early and costs will be reduced in the long run. Just a thought.

  68. Just remember one fact before everyone piles on the "tax the rich" bandwagon: people making over $200,000 a year already pay 45% of all income taxes collected in America. And the highest 10% of all earners pay 70% of all income tax revenues. Meanwhile, those earing less than $50,000 a year account for only 9% of all income taxes. But that's still "unfair" according to President Obama. So, let's tax the rich some more. Before you know it, we will have fully reversed the Reagan tax cuts and returned to the Carter years. The economy was really humming along then.

  69. Pretty soon- America is going to run out of it's rich and affluent citizenry.. and having destroyed the incentive to pursue one's personal profit motive- there won't be any replacements! (Didn't the Russians try this one as in: 'to each according to his needs- from each according to his ability' ?! -And that didn't work at all; Their society just went into a stupor!!)

    The most politically destructive force in America is the Democrat Party.

  70. Correction: The the wealthest 400 people in the country are worth over one trillion dollars.

  71. It amazes me how a lot of comments want to jump on the wealthy in the country. Did it ever occur to you that if they didn't spend money and invest we would be in a lot worse shape. To many of you just want to sit back and let the government or someone else take care of you. Voters talk about money that Bush spent well the dems are putting that to shame. There excuse to say that Bush spent so it's ok for them is a little childish. Does anyone think about what is going to happen when the bill comes due and we have to start paying for all this spending? It's like so many people out there that ran up huge credit card bills and now they can't pay them so they want a bailout.

  72. Just wonder about someone making a little more than 300K in NYC with a huge mortgage. Does this mean that their mortgage interest deduction would would decreased? Doesn't make sense to increase the strains on the "marginally rich" during a recession, particularly if it hits housing.

    These people will already be impacted by the expiration of the Bush tax cuts and are already hit hard by the AMT.

  73. We are headed for a society where the majority of the population will pay no taxes or actually receive 'free money' from the state. How is it fair that people who pay no taxes are allowed (through the vote) to determine how much those of us who actually pay taxes have to pay? This is a slippery slope if I have ever seen one.

    Why not cut pork and entitlements first, and then go from there?

  74. I'm quite surprised to at some of the comments by those who claim to be making over 250K a year. My husband and I make around 70K a year combined and we're not struggling. We have more then enough money for food, housing, car payments, bills, fun, travel, etc. If we can make it on that then how can those who are making 250K say that the taxes going back up to where they were for them during the Clinton administration are going to break their banks?

    If a tax increase is going to cause that much grief then maybe those people in question are not spending wisely? Those of us who make much less then 250K a year have been frugal all along. We didn't buy big cars that we couldn't afford or big homes. We bought what we could afford to pay off quickly. And amazingly we're not lacking in anything.

    This healthcare reform is going to happen because it needs to happen. We have a large generation that is rapidly aging and who don't yet seem to realize that without health insurance old age is going to be very expensive. If you have anything wrong with you ..health care is expensive.

  75. It's only fair to increase tax on those that make more. I am disabled and because my disability income combined with my husband's income is greater than appx. $40k annually, they tax my SS disability income 85%! How fair is that? If someone is on disability, that generally means they are ill people, which also means they have many medical expenses!! Our $50k combined income does not make a person rich! Being a childhood cancer survivor with an annual household income of appx. $50k a year and getting taxed 85% on $10-$12k of that income stinks (which means no tax refund for us. We are lucky to break even)! Health care costs us out of pocket about $8,000-$10,000 a year for our co-pays and meds (that does not count our insurance premiums either). Things need to change. We're going to the poor house real fast with too much tax and health costs. Keep applauding yourselves, Congress, while we continue sitting in our homes with disgust watching you on tv. Wake up, politicians!

  76. Helping the UNINSURED will not be sufficient. In fact it will be disastrous to those responsible folks struggling to keep up with insanely high insurance premiums. So many of these health care initiatives force people to be without insurance for six months or a year before they can be helped. So those insured at unsustainable cost must either risk catastrophe by giving up their insurance or remain trapped in an insurance plan that's draining them dry. Many of this group have an income lower than those who have chosen not to spend their money on health insurance. Because though it is certainly true that millions simply can't afford health insurance, there is a goodly crowd out there who go without insurance by choice. They'd just prefer to spend their bucks on fun things. So once again, the feckless are rewarded, the responsible damned to blazes.

    The self-employed are in a terrible bind, not just stuck in a runaway insurance plan, but stuck in a really bad plan. Impossibly huge costs, high premiums and killer out-of-pockets. Worthless prescription plans. Zero preventive. And though employer-paid insurance premiums are not taxed, your privaitely p urchased insurance premiums are subject to federal income tax.

    Someone explain the tax logic of that one.

    I'm tired of the patchwork nonsense of every health care proposal. If we're going to break one person's back with health care costs, he or she should not be forced to subsidize his neighbor's premiums, so that the latter gets the same coverage for a fraction of the cost. At the very least, dole out help according to income and make it a sliding scale.

    Please, Mr Obama, do not let any new program exclude t he millions who are barely hanging on as their premiums skyrocket out of sight.

  77. A fair society is based on a fair tax system. A fair tax system is based on a progression that levels the extremes. The American system was always considered one of the best since the reductions started with Kennedy and then with the tragic/Bonzo.

  78. Those that point to the European system of universal healthcare omit two important points:

    1. For the upper income Americans that currently have (and pay handily for) ample care for themselves, the established level of quality of care in Europe would represent a big step down. Now they gain the privledge of paying for their neighbor's care to boot.

    2. The spending on care in the average European country wouldn't be remotely possible if they were required to pay on their own what it what costs to adequately defend their borders. I propose we cut our NATO budget by half and hope that Europeans enjoy speaking Russian in the very near future.

  79. Raise the tax rates higher for the truly affluent: successful musicians, professional athletes, etc. If an athlete signs a five year 50 milion dollar contract, he can certainly afford to pay a few extra dollars in taxes. People earning 250K are comfortable but certainly not rich. Go after the people who really have serious amounts of money. Sorry Shaq. Sorry Tiger. Sorry Madonna. You can afford it. The rest of us cannot.

  80. does not make sense for few reasons
    1. increased tax burden on high income people reduces incentive to earn more
    2. universal free healthcare is a utopia; this will lead to a bribery of doctors; since doctors get the same payment from everyone; a customer who wants to be served better will try to make an additional payment, most likely under a table. This in turn will lead to decline of healthcare services.

  81. It doesn't matter to wealthy Democrats if taxes on the rich are raised. The rich Democrats simply choose not pay them, i.e.- Timothy Geithner, Tom Daschle, Charlie Rangle and Nancy Killefer.

    I wonder how enthusiastic the Obama supporters in Hollywood will be this coming April 15th. There may be more Wesley Snipes in the coming year.

  82. After reading some of these comments I have come to a few conclusions: The wealthiest 5% making more than 250,000 a year really and truly believe that they are more important than 95% of America, and that they are absolutely entitled to lower taxes, great healthcare, private jets, etc. They believe they EARNED their money and lifestyle fair and square without help from anyone, believe their businesses would be just as successful without a healthy and strong middle class with money to spend to buy their products and services or a strong economy and government tax policy that maintains a solvent middle class. And look where we are now. The middle class is disappearing, unemployment is rising, and incomes for 95% of us have remained flat or even declined. Can't any of you top 5%'ers understand? Don't you get it? Don't you believe those with more should contribute more than those with much much less? Do you think we're just lazy and stupid and don't pay taxes and don't work and are just asking for a handout? Don't you understand that it is possible to WORK VERY HARD, as hard as you think you work, maybe even harder, work fulltime and overtime and 2 or 3 jobs in this country and still be poor? If you don't, then you just don't get it. You live in a different America than most of us.

  83. I'm sure the "noble" wealthy class won't mind paying a little more to help those of us "have nots".

  84. While I really like the idea of tax reform I'm becoming increasingly afraid that Obama is going in a direction I don't really like. My main gripe with the tax code is that it is way too complex and Obama's plans seem to be just making it worse. If we need more revenue how about simply eliminating some deductions rather than making arcane tax rules about the maximum amount of deductions? This just seems like it will make the relative tax burden that much harder to compare between incomes. Furthermore, I hate cap and trade. Taxing carbon would be much simpler. Just tie it to lowering the base corporate tax rate at the same time and business will probably be willing to work with you.

    What I'd like to see is for government to stop treating the tax code as a form of welfare. I have no problem with income redistribution but I want to see it in direct payments rather than masking it as tax cuts, you're really not fooling many people by this sham (Republicans do the same things, I don't mean to single out Obama here). Call it what it is, income subsidies, and stop making our tax code probably the most complex in the world.

    Though I do hope he doesn't listen to the people claiming that higher taxes will stifle innovation. Sure we don't want them where they were in the 70s but we still had an awful lot of rich people in our country when taxes were 90% on the highest bracket so I don't think all our rich will flee to Mexico over a few percent increase.

  85. I am surprised by the sentiment of many here that those who make >$250k are somehow stealing money from those who make less. Until you hit the truly stratospheric salaries, relative value is generally reflected by one’s paycheck. Maybe it's a little thing called talent; maybe these folks invested a lot of time working hard, going to school, or planning their future; and maybe, if you're not making a lot of money, you're fairly replaceable in the job you're doing.

    Those with bigger salaries generally carry more responsibility for making sure that jobs exist, managing workers to ensure the optimal deployment of resources, and taking decisions that have a larger footprint in the economy. That may be a bit of an abstract notion for some, but I am sure most of us here have experienced the value a good manager can bring to the table over a bad manager.

    Sorry if that hurts, but that's reality. I see no reason why those making more money should be paying obscene taxes (the top 25% already fund 68% of the government) to fund an asinine sense of entitlement in the name of “solidarity”.

  86. Isn't it interesting that the tax credit for low income couples ends at 150K and the tax on the affluent begins at 250K. Kind of a narrow range between needing a handout and needing to pay more I would say?

  87. lyrazel, ME

    You should have been receiving low cost medical care, not wiping out you savings to address what must have been hard enough to confront. No one goes out of business in other industrialized nations for that reason, because they have universal healthcare. You bet you deserved a break. Obama's gonna try to see that stops happening to valuable Americans like you.

    Steven Riechard,

    Bravo! I, too, am willing to pay more taxes to help our president achive affordable health care for all of us. I don't understand the hostility, unless it is a historical value system. I liken the few angry folks strongly opposed to welfare (1% of federal costs) with the poor whites who were taught to fear a free slave movement because it would rob them of jobs. Or maybe the old farmer/union thing when Bryant and industry pitted farmers against union workers to acheive a violent Status Quo.

    I've never heard of anyone in Sweden, Denmark, Japan, Taiwan, England, Holland, France or Germany dissing folks for getting medical attention, even if it was subsidized. Sick people pull down the economy. Making them well without bankrupting them only makes fiscal sense.

  88. It won't be too long those in the higher income bracket start following the Gaithener's and Dashle's and under report their income so they don't have to pay Obama tax increases. There is no incentive to make more money if government wants to take most of them away. It's better to stay home and receive Governmant hand outs so we can become a nation of bums and underacheivers! What a shame!

  89. I retired a year ago, receive magnitudes less than $250k annually and rely partly on stocks and dividends for retirement income. Mr Obama proposes to raise the taxes on capital gains and dividends that many baby-boomers rely on in retirement. In addition, though his stimulus bill gives me $400, his congress did not protect me from the AMT tax this year. Net effect is a significant tax increase for a year I had greatly reduced income. At this rate what am I going to keep to live on in a couple of more years?

  90. Rich persons; worry not your well coifed heads. President Obama only makes the political mouth noises to sooth the petty concerns of people of no account.

    Soon all the silly talk of removing a single farthing from your persons will be forgotten. The rabble must be placated so that their ill gotten gains can be returned to their rightful owners post haste.

    Has the daunting burden of your 19 years of education and daring risk taking not taught you of these matters? Your servants have failed you sir; have them flogged.

  91. Let's do the math. 1/3 of the needed tax revenue is the maximum that can be collected from those "rich" people earning more than $250,000. Who gets to pay the other 2/3?? That's right - you and me the middle class working people!! Socilaistic redistribution of $'s is bad economics and even worse policy in a recession!! Don't be fooled by this shell game from a slick operator who got himself elected president by saying what you wanted to hear while all the time thinking "now I got them suckered into electing me I can turn our country into a socialist state with me as their Emperor"

  92. "I do not qualify for any health insurance except escalated scale ($1000+/mo). When does someone give ME a tax break?"

    THAT'S WHAT I'M SAYIN'...Why aren't YOU screaming for reform?

    I'm retired and Blue Cross for me and my wife is almost $1100 per month...that's 31% of my pension. That's on less than $50K per year. Now I consider THAT a hardship. Of course, if I was bringin' in $250,000 per year it wouldn't be. As far as I'm concerned, asking couples making over $250K to pay an extra 3% in taxes ($7500) isn't out of line. STOP pretending that's going to change your lifestyle. Eat at home a few more times a week and vacation in the U.S.

    If anything, maybe it's time to get back to the Eisenhower levels of taxation...I don't remember people screamin' "SOCIALISM" back then. But I was only 14 and living comfortably with my parents at probably around $5K a year...

    I'm not even asking for the 91% bracket...just convince me that if you're making $1,000,000 a year you really can't live on $500K when the vast majority of Americans live on 1/10th of that...

    Here piggy, piggy, piggy...

  93. Can't say it enough: "Only guy to call it right so far was Santelli at CNBC."

  94. Why should itemized deductions for the wealthiest taxpayers have a greater value than those who earn less? The proposal to equalize the value of deductions across tax brackets is a matter of fairness. To those who scream: answer the fairness question first!

  95. Dear “Robert, NJ” (No. 5) and all those readers who have made him the TOP recommendation:

    Congratulations on living in a country that can provide you with:

    . 19 years of education;
    . inspiration to work hard knowing there are rewards;
    . stability to bear large risks knowing if you fail you can start again and achieve even greater;
    . the ability to earn a "good" living.

    Any country that provides such deserves your thanks, dedication and good percentage of your financial rewards so others with fewer or different opportunities than you can benefit also.

    Then perhaps you’ll get to live in a country that aims to raise standards for its citizens regardless of wealth - universal health care is the perfect start.

    I look forward to the time when all citizens of the U.S.A. start to ask, “What can I give back to my country?” in addition to, “What can I get out of it?”.

    Step number 1: RECOGNISE THE PRIVILEGE YOU HAVE IN PAYING HIGH TAXES and be thankful you have the PRIVILEGE to do so. Then watch that privilege spread across your country.

    I wish you all good health and opportunities for your future.

  96. When FDR introduced Social Security he listened to some wise heads who said if you keep the affluent out of the system it will become just another welfare program; a step child of the political system because the poor are incapable, disinterested, and generally ineffectual political actors. Mr. O should read up on this. There have to be politically potent interests vested in a medicare system otherewise it will not work under the unreliable tutorship of the but theoretically concerned and involved bureaucrats.

  97. As far as I can tell, it's a good plan. The tax rate on the rich will still be less than it was when Reagan came into office. The only difference is that now the leaders of the press, with their endless proliferation of TV punditry jobs and book sales, are now amongst the rich, so I think we can expect to see them going after Obama in a painfully "objective" way.

  98. We are hoping to bring home over $200K this year and hope to one day hit the $250K mark. We work hard -- long hours, lots of stress and risk. But we are thankful for the opportunity and the blessings we have. Part of it was hard work, but part of it was luck -- and some people never really have that chance.

    A couple of my siblings are doctors. They work really hard -- 7 days, 24 hrs on call. But they can afford to pay a little more so that fellow Americans can have food and heat and healthcare.

    We all grew up really poor. We work hard and have little kids to support - but we don't begrudge paying our taxes so that those less fortunate, especially children and the elderly, can have food to eat or heat in the winter or medical care when they need it.

    But what does bother me is the trillions our government funnels to the military industrial complex to sow violence death destruction and hate around the world. It is horrifing to think how my tax dollars have brought murder and terror to so many children. My government uses my SS# (the number always in my head or in my hand) to take 33% of my earnings and send half of that to fund their immoral wars. Of course, their war mongering M-In-Complex friends benefit, but America really doesn't. Therein lies the crime to which I object.

  99. Democracy at work! The bush tax cuts resulted in the middle class shouldering most of the burden for the past 8 years while the poor got poorer and the wealthy got richer and even more corrupt. It's about time they were made to pay more.

    Bravo Obama!

  100. lol, was this article written based on republican talking points? I'm not sure about you, but no one i know thinks that evening out the tax code so that the ultra rich are paying their fair share is potentially volitile, and i certainly don't know anyone who is not a member of the repulican caucus who thinks that doing so is redistribution the wealth. actually most rational people see this as correcting the unequitable redistribution of wealth towards the top that supply side economics produces.

  101. Helping the UNINSURED will not be sufficient. In fact it will be disastrous to those responsible folks struggling to keep up with insanely high insurance premiums. So many of these health care initiatives force people to be without insurance for six months or a year before they can be helped. So those insured at unsustainable cost must either risk catastrophe by giving up their insurance or remain trapped in an insurance plan that's draining them dry. Many of this group have an income lower than those who have chosen not to spend their money on health insurance. Because though it is certainly true that millions simply can't afford health insurance, there is a goodly crowd out there who go without insurance by choice. They'd just prefer to spend their bucks on fun things. So once again, the feckless are rewarded, the responsible damned to blazes.

    The self-employed are in a terrible bind, not just stuck in a runaway insurance plan, but stuck in a really bad plan. Impossibly huge costs, high premiums and killer out-of-pockets. Worthless prescription plans. Zero preventive. And though employer-paid insurance premiums are not taxed, your privaitely p urchased insurance premiums are subject to federal income tax.

    Someone explain the tax logic of that one.

    I'm tired of the patchwork nonsense of every health care proposal. If we're going to break one person's back with health care costs, he or she should not be forced to subsidize his neighbor's premiums, so that the latter gets the same coverage for a fraction of the cost. At the very least, dole out help according to income and make it a sliding scale.

    Please, Mr Obama, do not let any new program exclude t he millions who are barely hanging on as their premiums skyrocket out of sight.

  102. A fair society is based on a fair tax system. A fair tax system is based on a progression that levels the extremes. The American system was always considered one of the best since the reductions started with Kennedy and then with the tragic/Bonzo.

  103. Those that point to the European system of universal healthcare omit two important points:

    1. For the upper income Americans that currently have (and pay handily for) ample care for themselves, the established level of quality of care in Europe would represent a big step down. Now they gain the privledge of paying for their neighbor's care to boot.

    2. The spending on care in the average European country wouldn't be remotely possible if they were required to pay on their own what it what costs to adequately defend their borders. I propose we cut our NATO budget by half and hope that Europeans enjoy speaking Russian in the very near future.

  104. Raise the tax rates higher for the truly affluent: successful musicians, professional athletes, etc. If an athlete signs a five year 50 milion dollar contract, he can certainly afford to pay a few extra dollars in taxes. People earning 250K are comfortable but certainly not rich. Go after the people who really have serious amounts of money. Sorry Shaq. Sorry Tiger. Sorry Madonna. You can afford it. The rest of us cannot.

  105. does not make sense for few reasons
    1. increased tax burden on high income people reduces incentive to earn more
    2. universal free healthcare is a utopia; this will lead to a bribery of doctors; since doctors get the same payment from everyone; a customer who wants to be served better will try to make an additional payment, most likely under a table. This in turn will lead to decline of healthcare services.

  106. It doesn't matter to wealthy Democrats if taxes on the rich are raised. The rich Democrats simply choose not pay them, i.e.- Timothy Geithner, Tom Daschle, Charlie Rangle and Nancy Killefer.

    I wonder how enthusiastic the Obama supporters in Hollywood will be this coming April 15th. There may be more Wesley Snipes in the coming year.

  107. After reading some of these comments I have come to a few conclusions: The wealthiest 5% making more than 250,000 a year really and truly believe that they are more important than 95% of America, and that they are absolutely entitled to lower taxes, great healthcare, private jets, etc. They believe they EARNED their money and lifestyle fair and square without help from anyone, believe their businesses would be just as successful without a healthy and strong middle class with money to spend to buy their products and services or a strong economy and government tax policy that maintains a solvent middle class. And look where we are now. The middle class is disappearing, unemployment is rising, and incomes for 95% of us have remained flat or even declined. Can't any of you top 5%'ers understand? Don't you get it? Don't you believe those with more should contribute more than those with much much less? Do you think we're just lazy and stupid and don't pay taxes and don't work and are just asking for a handout? Don't you understand that it is possible to WORK VERY HARD, as hard as you think you work, maybe even harder, work fulltime and overtime and 2 or 3 jobs in this country and still be poor? If you don't, then you just don't get it. You live in a different America than most of us.

  108. I'm sure the "noble" wealthy class won't mind paying a little more to help those of us "have nots".

  109. While I really like the idea of tax reform I'm becoming increasingly afraid that Obama is going in a direction I don't really like. My main gripe with the tax code is that it is way too complex and Obama's plans seem to be just making it worse. If we need more revenue how about simply eliminating some deductions rather than making arcane tax rules about the maximum amount of deductions? This just seems like it will make the relative tax burden that much harder to compare between incomes. Furthermore, I hate cap and trade. Taxing carbon would be much simpler. Just tie it to lowering the base corporate tax rate at the same time and business will probably be willing to work with you.

    What I'd like to see is for government to stop treating the tax code as a form of welfare. I have no problem with income redistribution but I want to see it in direct payments rather than masking it as tax cuts, you're really not fooling many people by this sham (Republicans do the same things, I don't mean to single out Obama here). Call it what it is, income subsidies, and stop making our tax code probably the most complex in the world.

    Though I do hope he doesn't listen to the people claiming that higher taxes will stifle innovation. Sure we don't want them where they were in the 70s but we still had an awful lot of rich people in our country when taxes were 90% on the highest bracket so I don't think all our rich will flee to Mexico over a few percent increase.

  110. I am surprised by the sentiment of many here that those who make >$250k are somehow stealing money from those who make less. Until you hit the truly stratospheric salaries, relative value is generally reflected by one’s paycheck. Maybe it's a little thing called talent; maybe these folks invested a lot of time working hard, going to school, or planning their future; and maybe, if you're not making a lot of money, you're fairly replaceable in the job you're doing.

    Those with bigger salaries generally carry more responsibility for making sure that jobs exist, managing workers to ensure the optimal deployment of resources, and taking decisions that have a larger footprint in the economy. That may be a bit of an abstract notion for some, but I am sure most of us here have experienced the value a good manager can bring to the table over a bad manager.

    Sorry if that hurts, but that's reality. I see no reason why those making more money should be paying obscene taxes (the top 25% already fund 68% of the government) to fund an asinine sense of entitlement in the name of “solidarity”.

  111. Isn't it interesting that the tax credit for low income couples ends at 150K and the tax on the affluent begins at 250K. Kind of a narrow range between needing a handout and needing to pay more I would say?

  112. lyrazel, ME

    You should have been receiving low cost medical care, not wiping out you savings to address what must have been hard enough to confront. No one goes out of business in other industrialized nations for that reason, because they have universal healthcare. You bet you deserved a break. Obama's gonna try to see that stops happening to valuable Americans like you.

    Steven Riechard,

    Bravo! I, too, am willing to pay more taxes to help our president achive affordable health care for all of us. I don't understand the hostility, unless it is a historical value system. I liken the few angry folks strongly opposed to welfare (1% of federal costs) with the poor whites who were taught to fear a free slave movement because it would rob them of jobs. Or maybe the old farmer/union thing when Bryant and industry pitted farmers against union workers to acheive a violent Status Quo.

    I've never heard of anyone in Sweden, Denmark, Japan, Taiwan, England, Holland, France or Germany dissing folks for getting medical attention, even if it was subsidized. Sick people pull down the economy. Making them well without bankrupting them only makes fiscal sense.

  113. It won't be too long those in the higher income bracket start following the Gaithener's and Dashle's and under report their income so they don't have to pay Obama tax increases. There is no incentive to make more money if government wants to take most of them away. It's better to stay home and receive Governmant hand outs so we can become a nation of bums and underacheivers! What a shame!

  114. I retired a year ago, receive magnitudes less than $250k annually and rely partly on stocks and dividends for retirement income. Mr Obama proposes to raise the taxes on capital gains and dividends that many baby-boomers rely on in retirement. In addition, though his stimulus bill gives me $400, his congress did not protect me from the AMT tax this year. Net effect is a significant tax increase for a year I had greatly reduced income. At this rate what am I going to keep to live on in a couple of more years?

  115. Rich persons; worry not your well coifed heads. President Obama only makes the political mouth noises to sooth the petty concerns of people of no account.

    Soon all the silly talk of removing a single farthing from your persons will be forgotten. The rabble must be placated so that their ill gotten gains can be returned to their rightful owners post haste.

    Has the daunting burden of your 19 years of education and daring risk taking not taught you of these matters? Your servants have failed you sir; have them flogged.

  116. Let's do the math. 1/3 of the needed tax revenue is the maximum that can be collected from those "rich" people earning more than $250,000. Who gets to pay the other 2/3?? That's right - you and me the middle class working people!! Socilaistic redistribution of $'s is bad economics and even worse policy in a recession!! Don't be fooled by this shell game from a slick operator who got himself elected president by saying what you wanted to hear while all the time thinking "now I got them suckered into electing me I can turn our country into a socialist state with me as their Emperor"

  117. "I do not qualify for any health insurance except escalated scale ($1000+/mo). When does someone give ME a tax break?"

    THAT'S WHAT I'M SAYIN'...Why aren't YOU screaming for reform?

    I'm retired and Blue Cross for me and my wife is almost $1100 per month...that's 31% of my pension. That's on less than $50K per year. Now I consider THAT a hardship. Of course, if I was bringin' in $250,000 per year it wouldn't be. As far as I'm concerned, asking couples making over $250K to pay an extra 3% in taxes ($7500) isn't out of line. STOP pretending that's going to change your lifestyle. Eat at home a few more times a week and vacation in the U.S.

    If anything, maybe it's time to get back to the Eisenhower levels of taxation...I don't remember people screamin' "SOCIALISM" back then. But I was only 14 and living comfortably with my parents at probably around $5K a year...

    I'm not even asking for the 91% bracket...just convince me that if you're making $1,000,000 a year you really can't live on $500K when the vast majority of Americans live on 1/10th of that...

    Here piggy, piggy, piggy...

  118. Can't say it enough: "Only guy to call it right so far was Santelli at CNBC."

  119. Why should itemized deductions for the wealthiest taxpayers have a greater value than those who earn less? The proposal to equalize the value of deductions across tax brackets is a matter of fairness. To those who scream: answer the fairness question first!

  120. Dear “Robert, NJ” (No. 5) and all those readers who have made him the TOP recommendation:

    Congratulations on living in a country that can provide you with:

    . 19 years of education;
    . inspiration to work hard knowing there are rewards;
    . stability to bear large risks knowing if you fail you can start again and achieve even greater;
    . the ability to earn a "good" living.

    Any country that provides such deserves your thanks, dedication and good percentage of your financial rewards so others with fewer or different opportunities than you can benefit also.

    Then perhaps you’ll get to live in a country that aims to raise standards for its citizens regardless of wealth - universal health care is the perfect start.

    I look forward to the time when all citizens of the U.S.A. start to ask, “What can I give back to my country?” in addition to, “What can I get out of it?”.

    Step number 1: RECOGNISE THE PRIVILEGE YOU HAVE IN PAYING HIGH TAXES and be thankful you have the PRIVILEGE to do so. Then watch that privilege spread across your country.

    I wish you all good health and opportunities for your future.

  121. When FDR introduced Social Security he listened to some wise heads who said if you keep the affluent out of the system it will become just another welfare program; a step child of the political system because the poor are incapable, disinterested, and generally ineffectual political actors. Mr. O should read up on this. There have to be politically potent interests vested in a medicare system otherewise it will not work under the unreliable tutorship of the but theoretically concerned and involved bureaucrats.

  122. As far as I can tell, it's a good plan. The tax rate on the rich will still be less than it was when Reagan came into office. The only difference is that now the leaders of the press, with their endless proliferation of TV punditry jobs and book sales, are now amongst the rich, so I think we can expect to see them going after Obama in a painfully "objective" way.

  123. We are hoping to bring home over $200K this year and hope to one day hit the $250K mark. We work hard -- long hours, lots of stress and risk. But we are thankful for the opportunity and the blessings we have. Part of it was hard work, but part of it was luck -- and some people never really have that chance.

    A couple of my siblings are doctors. They work really hard -- 7 days, 24 hrs on call. But they can afford to pay a little more so that fellow Americans can have food and heat and healthcare.

    We all grew up really poor. We work hard and have little kids to support - but we don't begrudge paying our taxes so that those less fortunate, especially children and the elderly, can have food to eat or heat in the winter or medical care when they need it.

    But what does bother me is the trillions our government funnels to the military industrial complex to sow violence death destruction and hate around the world. It is horrifing to think how my tax dollars have brought murder and terror to so many children. My government uses my SS# (the number always in my head or in my hand) to take 33% of my earnings and send half of that to fund their immoral wars. Of course, their war mongering M-In-Complex friends benefit, but America really doesn't. Therein lies the crime to which I object.

  124. Democracy at work! The bush tax cuts resulted in the middle class shouldering most of the burden for the past 8 years while the poor got poorer and the wealthy got richer and even more corrupt. It's about time they were made to pay more.

    Bravo Obama!

  125. lol, was this article written based on republican talking points? I'm not sure about you, but no one i know thinks that evening out the tax code so that the ultra rich are paying their fair share is potentially volitile, and i certainly don't know anyone who is not a member of the repulican caucus who thinks that doing so is redistribution the wealth. actually most rational people see this as correcting the unequitable redistribution of wealth towards the top that supply side economics produces.