And since we’re talking about health care…
This isn’t really part of the conversation anymore, especially now that Congress and the president have taken it off the table, but it’s worth reminding folks that we could cover a good chunk of the cost of health care reform by simply raising taxes on the highest earners.
The House proposal for an income surtax – targeted at households with incomes in excess of $350,000 – would have raised $544 billion over ten years, or almost two-thirds the cost of President Obama’s plan for health care reform. What’s more, it’s not as if this would have be particularly unfair. As the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities recently noted, the top one percent of income earners captured more than 60 percent of the nation’s income gains between 2002 and 2007.
Seeing as how it’s very unlikely that the top 1 percent were the sole drivers of national income gains from 2002 to 2007, raising taxes on those earners to pay for expanded public services seems like a perfectly reasonable idea, as far as public policy goes.