Candidates' positions are categorized as Pro (Yes), Con (No), Not Clearly Pro or Con, or None Found. Candidates who have changed their positions are listed as Now their most recent position. Candidates are listed by party and in alphabetical order by last name. Black & white photos indicate candidates who have withdrawn or who no longer meet our criteria for inclusion.
Should the wealthiest 1% of Americans be taxed more heavily?
Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico, stated the following during an Oct. 18, 2011 interview, "Full Transcript of Q&A with Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson," available at www.patheos.com:
"Govt. should be a level playing field where all of us have the same advantages and the same threats if you will. Implementing the Fair Tax for example throws out the entire Federal tax system. No income tax, no IRS, no business tax, no corporate tax and isn’t the fact that some people pay tax and others don’t isn’t it the fact that some corporations pay tax and others don’t that has us outraged. It’s just not fair. Let’s implement something that is totally fair and in fact is a system where the more you make, the more you consume, the more Fair Tax you’ll pay. In a Fair Tax environment you’ll be incentivised to save money. So back to US treasuries. It’s okay to borrow money it’s just not okay to print money. We need to stop printing money." Oct. 18, 2011 Gary Johnson
Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, stated the following during a Dec. 6, 2011 speech, "Remarks by the President on the Economy in Oswatomie, Kansas," available at www.whitehouse.gov:
"In the last few decades, the average income of the top 1% has gone up by more than 25% to $1.2m per year. I'm not talking about millionaires, people who have a million dollars. I'm saying people who make a million dollars every single year. For the top one hundredth of 1%, the average income is now $27m per year. The typical CEO who used to earn about 30 times more than his or her worker now earns 110 times more. And yet, over the last decade the incomes of most Americans have actually fallen by about 6%...
If we want a strong middle class, then our tax code must reflect our values. We have to make choices...
Today, the wealthiest Americans are paying the lowest taxes in over half a century. This isn't like in the early 50s, when the top tax rate was over 90%. This isn't even like the early 80s, when the top tax rate was about 70%. Under President Clinton, the top rate was only about 39%. Today, thanks to loopholes and shelters, a quarter of all millionaires now pay lower tax rates than millions of you, millions of middle-class families. Some billionaires have a tax rate as low as 1%. One percent...
That is the height of unfairness. It is wrong. It's wrong that in the United States of America, a teacher or a nurse or a construction worker, maybe earns $50,000 a year, should pay a higher tax rate than somebody raking in $50m. It's wrong for Warren Buffett's secretary to pay a higher tax rate than Warren Buffett...
This isn't about class warfare. This is about the nation's welfare. It's about making choices that benefit not just the people who've done fantastically well over the last few decades, but that benefits the middle class, and those fighting to get into the middle class, and the economy as a whole." Dec. 6, 2011 Barack Obama
Mitt Romney, former Governor of Massachusetts, stated the following on his campaign website page "Tax: Fairer, Flatter, and Simpler," available at www.mittromney.com (accessed Jan. 20, 2012):
"Mitt Romney believes in the conservative principle that Americans, to the maximum extent possible, should be able to keep the money they earn...
- Maintain current tax rates on personal income
- Maintain current tax rates on interest, dividends, and capital gains
- Eliminate taxes for taxpayers with AGI below $200,000 on interest, dividends, and capital gains
- Eliminate the death tax." Jan. 20, 2012 Mitt Romney
[Editor's Note: Mitt Romney also made a remark at the Jan. 7, 2012 Republican presidential debate at Saint Anselm College, Manchester, NH, directly criticizing President Obama's plan to tax the richest Americans more heavily: "We have a nation which is based upon opportunity and merit... We have a president who has an entirely different view. He wants us to turn into a European-style welfare state and have government take from some to give to others. That will kill the ability of America to provide for a prosperous future."]
Jill Stein, MD, former Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, stated the following in her Jan. 2012 speech "A People's State of the Union: A Green New Deal for America," available at www.jillstein.org:
"The gap between the very rich and the many poor has never been so great. The wealthiest 1% in America now own as much wealth as 90% of all Americans...
Though the corporate elite are richer than ever, they are contributing less than ever to the tax base that keeps the infrastructure going that their profits rely on – schools, transportation, clean air and water, safe food, the legal system, the police, and the military...
When they say there’s not enough money, they mean there’s not enough money for YOU. Instead of austerity, we can end the Wall Street bailouts, cut the bloated military and tax the bloated rich." Jan. 2012 Jill Stein
Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives (R-GA), stated the following at the Palmetto Freedom Forum in Columbia, SC, on Sep. 5, 2011:
“It's tragic that President Obama cannot learn that class warfare and bureaucratic socialism kill jobs… On tax policy, you ought to say no tax increase in 2013, period. Go to zero capitals gains so hundreds of billions of dollars pour into the country to be invested. Go to a 12.5 percent with corporate tax rate… you ought to abolish the death tax permanently, because it is an immoral tax which says, if you work, save and do the right thing your entire lifetime, politicians have the right to take your money.
Let me be clear. I am for more revenue through economic growth. I'm for more revenue through the development of federal lands. I'm for more revenue through an American energy policy, but I'm against raising taxes.” Sep. 5, 2011 Newt Gingrich
[Editor's Note: According to the Tax Policy Center, the top 1% would receive an average tax cut of $343, 993 in 2015 under Newt Gingrich's tax plan. Citizens for Tax Justice estimates that Gingrich's tax plan would produce an average tax cut of $391,330 for the top 1% of Americans. Bloomberg News reports that Americans earning more than $1 million a year would receive an average tax cut of $613,689 in 2015 compared to what they paid in 2011. Think Progress estimates that the richest 0.1% of Americans would receive a tax cut worth $2 million each year under Gingrich's tax plan.]
Jon Huntsman, former Governor of Utah, stated the following in an article titled "Time to Compete, An American Jobs Plan: Tax Reform," posted on his official campaign website, www.jon2012.com (accessed Jan. 17, 2012):
"Gov. Huntsman supports a version of the plan crafted by the Fiscal Commission, headed by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, commonly known as the 'zero plan'. Rather than nibble around the edges of the existing tax code, he will introduce a revenue-neutral plan that eliminates all deductions and credits in favor of three drastically lower rates of 8%, 14% and 23%. Eliminating deductions and credits in favor of lower marginal rates will yield a simpler and more efficient tax code, decreasing the burden on taxpayers...
[In addition, Jon Huntsman wants to eliminate] taxes on capital gains and dividends." Jan. 17, 2012 Jon Huntsman
[Editor's Note: As of 2011, the current top federal income tax bracket for American income earners is 35%. Jon Huntsman wants to reduce the top income tax bracket from 35% to 23% according to his campaign website page "Time to Compete, An American Jobs Plan: Tax Reform" referenced above. The campaign website page, www.jon2012, also states that he wants to eliminate taxes on capital gains and dividend income which are typically forms of income for the wealthiest Americans. Because of these considerations, we have labeled him CON to our question.]
Ron Paul, US Representative (R-TX), stated the following during an Oct. 6, 2011 interview on The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, available at YouTube.com:
"Wolf Blitzer: What do you think about the Presidents support today for a proposal in the Senate for a 5.6% millionaires surcharge on income over a million dollars, paying an additional 5.6% [in taxes]... Good idea?
Ron Paul: No it's not going to do any good at all, its not a lack of taxation that's going on, there is just too much spending...
I don't mind criticizing, you know, the wealthy at times, and I criticized the bankers, and the bailouts, and the corporate people who got all the benifits, both when the financial bubble was being built, but then when it burst they got bailed out and then the people suffered.
But this does not mean that we should attack wealth for the sake of wealth. We should stop all the subsidies to the wealth, anybody who is getting wealthy because they get contracts from the government or because they are on the inside of the program where they get the bail outs, that's quite a bit different, we should stop that, but not blanketly penalize people who make wealth and who have created wealth...
The system has been biased against the middle class and the poor, when you destroy a currency you transfer wealth from the middle class to the wealthy." Oct. 6, 2011 Ron Paul
Rick Perry, Governor of Texas, stated the following in a speech delivered on Oct. 25, 2011 to ISO Poly Films in Greenville, SC:
"Central to my plan is giving every American the option of throwing out the three million words of the current tax code, and the costs of complying with that code, in order to pay a 20 percent flat tax on their income... Taxes will be cut across all income groups in America." Oct. 25, 2011 Rick Perry
Buddy Roemer, former Governor of Louisiana, stated the following in a Dec. 23, 2011 article by Washington Times editorial page editor Brett M. Decker titled "Free Trade Only Means That America Is Giving Jobs Away for Free," available on buddyroemer.com:
"My plan would be a progressive flat tax of 17 percent with an individual exemption of $50,000 and the elimination of most deductions. Under this plan, individuals making $50,000 or less would pay no federal taxes, those making $100,000 would have an effective tax rate of 8.5 percent, and someone making $500,000 would have an effective tax rate of 15.3 percent." Dec. 23, 2011 Buddy Roemer
[Editor's Note: As of 2011, the current top federal income tax bracket for American income earners is 35%. Buddy Roemer wants to reduce the top income tax bracket from 35% to 15.3% according to his campaign website page "Free Trade Only Means That America Is Giving Jobs Away for Free," referenced above, therefore, we have labeled him con to our question.]
Rick Santorum, former US Senator (R-PA), stated the following on his campaign website page, "Defender of the Tax Payer," available at www.ricksantorum.com (accessed Jan. 20, 2012):
"Rick Santorum is committed to reviving our economy, restoring economic growth, and creating jobs in America again by unleashing innovation and entrepreneurship through lower and simpler taxes for American businesses, workers, and families...
The Santorum Solution...
Cut and simplify personal income taxes by cutting the number of tax rates to just two - 10% and 28% and return to Reagan era pro-growth tax rate...
Simplify the tax code and reduce middle income taxes by eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT)...
Lower the Capital Gains and Dividend tax rates to 12% to spur economic growth and investment..." Rick Santorum
[Editor's Note: According to a Jan. 6, 2012 analysis by Citizens for Tax Justice (CTJ): "Former Senator Rick Santorum’s $9.4 trillion tax plan would give the richest one percent of Americans an average tax cut of $217,500." Rick Santorum's tax plan would lower the top tax bracket, currently at 35%, down to 28%. In addition he wants lower taxes on capital gains and dividend income which are significant forms of income for the wealthiest Americans. For these resons we have labeled him Con to our question.]