Iowa Senator Tom Harkin says his fellow Democrats will try to bring forward a plan soon to get through this year and hold off the automatic budget cuts that are set to take place. Harkin says it would be a 50-50 budget plan with 50 percent of the revenue coming from increased taxes, and 50 percent from budget cuts.
“Of which 25-percent would be cuts in defense and 25-percent non-defense. And then 50-percent of the amount needed would be raised in revenue from closing the ‘Buffett rule,’ that’s what we call it. Which says if you make over two million dollars a year, you have to pay a minimum of 30-percent in income taxes,” Harkin says.
The Democrat spoke today during an Appropriations Committee hearing on the impact of the proposed cuts that are known as sequestration. He was asked by reporters about his comments during that hearing that the deficit problem is not caused by too much government spending.
“We are the richest nation in the history of the world, we have the highest per capita GDP of any major country in the world. If you look at that you say ‘my gosh we’re rich.’ Well, if we are rich, why are we so broke?,” Harkin asked. “As I said this morning I think the reason we are is we have a misallocation of capital. All this wealth generated by the working people of America has accumulated in fewer and fewer hands.”
Harkin says the misallocation of wealth he sees can be corrected by closing tax loopholes for the rich and keeping them from hiding money out of the country, and forcing them to pay more. On another topic, Harkin expects the President Obama’s call to provide preschool for all kids to come to his Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee.
“That’s exactly what we’re gonna be working on and I am anxious to see the president’s budget because I was told that he is going to put that in his budget. That would be very helpful,” according to Harkin. “As we move ahead on reauthorizing the elementary and secondary education act, we are going to be very aggressive in rewarding early childhood education, rewarding states that implement such systems.”
He is not sure how the program would work. “Don’t have any details yet, I think probably more likely than not it will be in the form of carrots rather than sticks,” Harkin says, “So that if a state does implement early childhood education and meets certain standards of what that education is, then they would get a bump up let’s say in some of their education money.”
Harkin made his comments during his weekly conference call with reporters.