Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., proposed a double whammy in tax increases: both a 39 percent tax rate on the wealthy and the elimination of all deductions and loopholes that lower the effective tax rate.
"Not only should we restore that upper bracket tax rate at about 39 percent to what it was before President Bush's tax cuts -- which will go more than halfway int he deficit reduction that we need -- but we also should close these loopholes," Levin said at the National Press Club today. He described that as "the only choice that is really the acceptable one" to avoid the defense spending cuts in sequestration.
Levin pointed to Facebook as a particularly lucrative source of revenue in the event of such increases. "One example is Facebook -- very familiar to most of us -- they get an estimated $16 billion tax deduction following the sale of that stock," he said. "It's a loophole; we can close it. A huge amount of money in just one loophole."
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., like many of his colleagues, supports lowering tax rates while eliminating the deductions and loopholes Levin described as part of a comprehensive tax reform modeled on the 1986 reforms undertaken by President Reagan.