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wealthy. This single truth blows a gaping hole in “trickle-down economics,” the idea that the benefits of tax cuts for the wealthy would trickle down to the middle class. I’m not vilifying the wealthy—there are plenty like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates who are activists for income fairness and make generous donations to humanitarian causes. Nor do I mean to diminish the success of those in the 1 percent. In fact, I represent a congressional district with a fair amount of “1 percenters.” Rather, I’m asking the wealthy to consider the harm that will be done if the gap between the rich and the rest of us is allowed to widen.

One of the only good things to come out of the financial crisis is that we finally have the political momentum it takes to address the widening gap. The refrain of “We are the 99 percent” is really an outgrowth of frustrations by the middle class. To me that expression is symbolized by working families, and they’re right to complain about policies that appeal to that powerful, privileged 1 percent. During his reelection campaign, President Obama frequently said that America prospers when everyone does his or her fair share, plays by the same rules, and has the same shot at success. For this to be the case, the wealthiest Americans should not pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than middle-class families pay. Given the importance of the economy in the 2012 campaign, the voters’ decision to reelect Barack Obama gave the President a fresh mandate to put these principles of income fairness into effect. It should have come as no surprise, then, when he insisted that a balanced deficit reduction package include an increase in taxes on the wealthiest 1 percent of American taxpayers. Yet Republicans seemed indignant that the President was unwilling to yield to their demands of a cuts-only approach to deficit reduction. By refusing to compromise, they were holding the American economy hostage, preferring to go through with the massive, across-the-board cuts that came from sequestration rather than raise taxes on the wealthy. It took the assistance of Vice President Joe Biden before Republicans finally

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8/24/13 1:15 AM

For The Next Generation (Ch. 1)  

Congresswoman and Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz challenges the nation to resolve tough issues for future gene...

For The Next Generation (Ch. 1)  

Congresswoman and Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz challenges the nation to resolve tough issues for future gene...