According to the Citizens for Tax Justice, if the Bush tax breaks for the top 2 percent are extended, these are some of the people who will benefit and what kind of benefits they will receive: Rupert Murdoch, the CEO of News Corp, would receive a $1.3 million tax break next year. Mr. Murdoch is a billionaire. Do we really think he needs that? Jamie Dimon, the head of JPMorgan Chase, is doing just fine. Vikram Pandit, the CEO of Citigroup, the bank that got a $50 billion bailout, would receive $785,000 in tax breaks. Ken Lewis, the former CEO of Bank of America - a bank that got a $45 billion bailout - the guy is already fabulously wealthy - would receive a $713,000 tax break. The CEO of Wells Fargo; these are the largest banks in America, the CEO of these banks are already making huge compensation. John Stumpf, who is the CEO of Wells Fargo, would receive a $318,000 tax break every single year. The CEO of Morgan Stanley, John Mack, whose bank got a $10 billion bailout, would receive a $926,000 a year tax break. The CEO of Aetna, Ronald Williams, would receive a tax break worth $875,000.
I constrast that, as I did earlier, to the fact that two days ago, the Presiding Officer and I and a total of 53 members of the Senate said, you know, maybe we should provide a $250 check this year to seniors on Social Security and to disabled vets because they haven’t gotten a COLA for two years - a $250 check. People making $14,000, $15,000 a year desperately need a little bit of help. We couldn’t get one Republican vote. But when it comes to the CEO of a major bank who is already a multimillionaire - we are talking about $6 million, $7 million, $8 million a year in tax breaks… this is not what we should be doing as a nation.
Furthermore, I know President Obama and others have said, Well, let’s not worry, because these tax breaks are just temporary - just temporary. They are only going to be given for two years. I have been in Washington long enough to know that when you give a temporary tax break for two years, you are, in fact, given a long-term tax break or maybe even a permanent tax break. Because two years from now, the same arguments will be made: if you do away with those tax breaks for the rich, you are raising taxes. Do you want to raise taxes, a terrible thing to do? That same argument will be made.
But there is one difference. The difference is that when President Obama ran for President and since he has been President, he has time and time again come out against those tax breaks. He does not believe in them. I believe him, and I know that he doesn’t. But if he is the Democratic candidate for President and he says: Reelect me to be President because in the future I am going to really get rid of these tax breaks, I am afraid his credibility is not very high because that is what he said last time. I guess there is a limit as to how many times you can cry wolf.” —Senator Bernie Sanders. December 10, 2010. (via pantslessprogressive)