Congress must raise taxes on the wealthy "because there just isn't enough to go around," Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan told the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute today.
"Latino growth has meant that often they're at the back of the line for housing assistance or other things," Donovan said during CHCI's annual Public Policy Conference this morning at the Ronald Reagan Building in D.C. "And the fundamental problem here (in part) is, are we going to continue to invest in those things? And if we continue to cut the budget for Section 8 housing and public housing and a whole range of other things -- if we don't fix this fiscal cliff in a fair way that actually asks higher-income Americans to pay their fair share -- Latinos are going to have to continue to wait in the back of the line, because there just isn't enough to go around. And that's a fundamental problem in our housing system, but it's a much bigger problem that is a huge issue when we make a decision about what our investments are going to be in Congress."
Donovan's remarks should play well among the Latino community if the polling data provided before he spoke holds true about how Latinos believe the deficit and economic crises should be addressed.
"We see an overwhelming percentage of Latinos want to see some amount of tax increases along with cuts," Dr. Matt Barreto of Latino Decisions told CHCI. "The most popular answer [46 percent] was just saying increasing taxes on the wealthy, that they need to pay a little bit more, rejecting the idea that we should only focus on cuts. And another large percentage -- 37 percent -- saying 'yes, tax increases should be part of the solution with cuts.'"
Barreto added that 56 percent of Latinos surveyed said "that government should invest in projects -- that's the way you stimulate the economy." He noted that only about 29 or 30 percent of Latinos believe that tax cuts can fix the economy.
Donovan emphasized his call for tax increases. "This is a fundamental choice," he said. "Is everyone going to pay their fair share? Or are we going to balance the budget on the backs of the most vulnerable and our most recent Americans? And, it's simply unfair."