Obama urges 30 percent tax rate for million-dollar earners

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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President Barack Obama used his Tuesday State of the Union speech to call for a 30 percent tax on people who earn more than million dollars in one year.

“If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes,” he announced, in a policy that helps him characterize former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as inordinately wealthy. (RELATED: Full State of the Union coverage)

“Washington should stop subsidizing millionaires … [and] if you’re earning a million dollars a year, you shouldn’t get special tax subsidies or deductions,” Obama said.

“Now, you can call this class warfare all you want. But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes?  Most Americans would call that common sense,” he told the Congress.

However, his tax-boosting plan would shield people earning $250,000 or below. “If you make under $250,000 a year, like 98 percent of American families, your taxes shouldn’t go up. You’re the ones struggling with rising costs and stagnant wages. You’re the ones who need relief,” he said.

That $250,000 threshold protects many of the high income professionals who are aligned with the Democratic Party, while also targeting many executives and company-owners who align themselves with the GOP.

Still, many wealthy people support Obama, and he won a majority of the wealthiest voter group in 2008. Any effort to raise taxes and cut tax-break will generate strong opposition from wealthy people and affiliated institutions.

On two previous occasions, Obama has called for increased taxes on charitable donations by the wealthy, and on both occasions, his proposals have gone nowhere.