A Balanced Approach to Deficit Reduction
The growing federal deficit is among the most difficult and important problems we face. But we have to face it in a balanced way. We must cut spending, and some of those cuts will be painful. But we also need to close tax loopholes and ask the wealthy, who have done very well while middle-income Americans have suffered, to share in the sacrifice. We must preserve the safety net that protects our must vulnerable citizens, including seniors and students. And we must avoid damaging the fragile economic recovery.
In September 2011, I laid out my seven-point proposal that would reduce the deficit by $1 trillion while protecting the middle class. That proposal, which I sent to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, is available here.
I have repeatedly made the case for a balanced approach to deficit reduction:
- November 9, 2012: Sen. Levin calls on the House to pass legislation to avoid a tax increase on middle-class families and urges passage of legislation to close corporate loopholes.
- October 17, 2012: Sen. Levin sent a letter to congressional and administration leaders on the need to address offshore tax abuses as part of a deficit-reduction package.
- September 28, 2012: In a column for Michigan newspapers, Sen. Levin insists that offshore tax avoidance gimmicks must end.
- July 24, 2012: Sen. Levin speaks out in favor of the Middle Class Tax Cut Act.
- June 15, 2012: In a column for Michigan newspapers, Sen. Levin outlines the requirements for balanced deficit reduction: prudent spending cuts; entitlement reforms; and additional revenue.
- May 24, 2012: Sen. Levin chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee through markup of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2012. The legislation includes several cost-saving and efficiency measures, and includes a requirement that the Department of Defense outline plans for looming automatic cuts that would take place through sequestration.
- May 17, 2012: Sen. Levin points to the example of Facebook's enormous tax break as evidence for the need to close a tax loophole that forces taxpayers to subsidize lucrative stock options for corporate executives.
- May 16, 2012: Sen. Levin speaks out against extreme budget proposals that would slash important programs while cutting taxes for the wealthy.
- April 27, 2012: Sen. Levin urges the IRS to resist efforts to weaken regulations that would prohibit taxpayers from using complex financial mechanisms to dodge taxes.
- April 26, 2012: Sens. Levin, McCain and Webb write to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta expressing concern over plans to relocate U.S. forces in Asia; the letter is part of their ongoing efforts to ensure that Asia basing plans are affordable.
- April 16, 2012: Sen. Levin speaks out in favor of legislation that would ensure those with income about $1 million a year pay at least a 30 percent federal tax rate.
- April 14, 2012: Speaking to science, math, technology and engineering educators in Saginaw, Sen. Levin says support for STEM education will require balanced deficit reduction.
- March 28, 2012: Sen. Levin speaks out in favor of eliminating deficit-increasing subsidies for highly profitable oil and gas companies.
- March 8, 2012: The Senate passes an amendment sponsored by Sens. Levin, Conrad and Whitehouse that provides important new tools to fight offshore tax havens that add to the deficit.
- Feb. 15, 2012: In remarks to the Center for the National Interest, Sen. Levin says bipartisan national security policy will require compromise to achieve balanced deficit reduction that protects important American interests.
- Feb. 7, 2012: Sen. Levin and Sen. Kent Conrad introduce the CUT Loopholes Act to end tax loopholes and offshore tax abuses that add billions of dollars to the deficit.
- Jan. 23, 2012: Sen. Levin introduces legislation to close a tax loophole that encourages speculation in financial derivatives.
- Sept. 26, 2011: Sen. Levin offers his fourth Senate floor statement outlining his seven-part plan to reduce the deficit including reducing tax breaks for the wealthy. He proposes three changes to the tax system to make it more efficient and more equitable: ending the unsustainable Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans; restoring capital gains rates to similar levels in place under President Reagan; and replacing the IRS's antiquated tax lien system.
- Sept. 19, 2011: Sen. Levin delivers the third in a series of floor speeches outlining his seven-part plan to reduce the deficit including the elimination of two Wall Street loopholes: the "carried interest" and "blended rate" loopholes.
- Sept. 16 2011: Sen. Levin delivers the second in a series of floor speeches outlining his seven-part plan to reduce the deficit including the elimination of loopholes for offshore tax havens and stock options.
- Sept. 15, 2011: Sen. Levin delivers the first in a series of floor speeches outlining his seven-part plan to reduce the deficit. His plan identifies seven possible steps to eliminate wasteful tax expenditures and loopholes so as to share the burden of deficit reduction more broadly.
- Sept. 15, 2011: Sen. Levin sends the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction a seven-part plan to reduce the deficit while protecting the middle class.
- Aug. 2, 2011: Sen. Levin supports a debt ceiling compromise that, though it is flawed, finally puts balanced deficit reduction, including revenues, on the table.
- July 30, 2011: Sen. Levin calls on Senate Republicans to allow a clean vote on Reid proposal to raise the debt ceiling and cut the deficit.
- July 22, 2011: Sen. Levin opposes a House "cut, cap and balance" plan that would lead the nation “straight off a cliff.”
- July 14, 2011: Sen. Levin introduces the Ending Excessive Corporate Deductions for Stock Options Act, which would close a major corporate tax loophole and reduce the deficit by $25 billion over 10 years.
- July 13, 2011: Sen. Levin votes in support of a Senate resolution calling for shared sacrifice in resolving the budget deficit.
- July 12, 2011: Sen. Levin introduces the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, which would end the abuse of offshore tax havens that adds as much as $100 billion a year to the deficit.
- June 30, 2011: Sen. Levin calls for ending a tax break for hedge fund managers that could reduce the deficit by $21 billion over 10 years.
- May 16, 2011: Sen. Levin supports efforts to end tax subsidies for highly profitable oil and gas companies that add $4 billion a year to the deficit.
- April 14, 2011: Sen. Levin says a fiscal year 2011 spending bill should take a more balanced approach to deficit reduction.
- April 13, 2011: Sen. Levin commends President Obama’s deficit reduction proposal as a balanced approach to the problem.
- March 17, 2011: Sen. Levin opposes legislation that makes unjustified cuts in important programs and fails to close tax loopholes or address unfair tax cuts.
- March 10, 2011: Sen. Levin opposes spending proposals that would damage important programs for students, seniors and families.
- March 9, 2011: Sen. Levin opposes a spending proposal passed by the House of Representatives as “drastic, unbalanced and extreme.”
- Feb. 2, 2011: Sen. Levin opposes a repeal of health care reform that would increase the deficit.
Senator Levin’s Record on A Balanced Approach to Deficit Reduction
- Feb. 7, 2012 – Sens. Levin, Conrad introduce CUT Loopholes Act
Sen. Levin and Sen. Kent Conrad introduce the Cut Unjustified Tax Loopholes Act, which would close a number of tax loopholes that increase the deficit and the tax burden carried by middle-class Americans by allowing individuals and corporations to dodge the taxes they owe.
- March 8, 2012 – Levin-Conrad amendment cracks down on offshore tax loopholes
The Senate adopts an amendment offered by Sen. Levin, Sen. Kent Conrad and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse that adds important new tools to the fight against offshore tax abuses that increase the budget deficit and disadvantage middle-class taxpayers.
- Feb. 29, 2012 – Levin speaks out against ‘Facebook loophole’
In a speech on the Senate floor, Sen. Levin outlines how Facebook will avoid billions of dollars in corporate taxes using a loophole related to the granting of stock options to employees. Levin has long sought the closing of this stock-option loophole to reduce the budget deficit.
- Feb. 17, 2012 – Sen. Levin supports extension of middle-class tax relief
The Senate passes legislation supported by Sen. Levin to extend for a full year a cut in federal payroll taxes and extending emergency unemployment benefits. Sen. Levin calls the extension "important tax relief that is focused on middle-class families who have suffered greatly during the Great Recession."
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