Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) railed against the growing economic inequality in the United States during a Senate speech in support of the Paying a Fair Share Act of 2012.
“It is absurd that at a time when our country has a $15 trillion national debt and enormous unmet needs, the wealthiest people in this country have an effective tax rate that is lower than many middle-class workers,” he said on Monday. “It makes no sense that the richest 400 people in our country, who earned an average of more than $270 million each in 2008 pay an effective tax rate of just 18 percent, which is less than many small businessmen, nurses, teachers, police officers, et cetera. That is wrong from a moral perspective, it is also very bad economic policy.”
The Paying a Fair Share Act would enact the so-called “Buffett Rule” and place a minimum tax rate on millionaires. The legislation would require those who earn more than $1 million a year to pay at least a 30 percent effective tax rate on their income.
Sanders said the United States was moving towards an “oligarchic form of government,” where the wealthy have a disproportionate amount of political power. He said a recent study found that in 2010, 93 percent of all new income went to the top 1 percent of income-earners.
“We have by far the most unequal distribution of income and wealth of any major country on Earth,” Sanders continued. “This is not what democracy looks like. This is what oligarchy and plutocracy look like.”