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Press Release - Edwards Unveils Bold Economic Plan to Restore Fairness, Reform America's Tax Code, & Reward Hard Work

July 26, 2007

Des Moines, Iowa Today in Iowa, Senator John Edwards unveiled his bold plan to reform our tax code to reward work, not the privileges of the insiders, and help regular families get ahead. Our country is divided into Two Americas – one for those at the top and one for everyone else. In the Two Americas, there is no end to the special tax breaks for multinational corporations and wealthy individuals. These taxpayers can afford lawyers to help them exploit weaknesses in the tax code and lobbyists to help them get still more tax breaks. Edwards believes this is an issue of fairness – those at the top should pay their fair share, instead of making hard-working families bear most of the burden. Edwards today laid out his plan to build One America and put our tax code back in line with our values.

His plan will: (1) create three new tax breaks to honor and strengthen three pillars of America's middle class: savings, work, and families, (2) require a fair contribution from the wealth of high-income Americans, reversing the shift of the tax code onto middle class wages, and (3) end special tax breaks for insiders.

"It's time for us to put our economy back in line with our values," said Edwards. "It's time to end the president's war on work. And it's time to restore fairness to a tax code that has been driven badly out of whack by the wrongheaded rules of the Washington establishment – more wealth for the wealthy and more power for the powerful. In America, when the middle-class makes money from hard work they shouldn't pay higher taxes than when the rich make money from money."

Edwards will overhaul the tax code with three new tax breaks to strengthen the middle-class pillars of savings, work, and family. He will also reverse the war on work by requiring the most fortunate Americans to pay a fairer rate of tax on their investments and take on special tax breaks for the insiders.

"I still believe passionately in the American Dream because I've lived it myself," said Edwards. "I came from a family with very little - my father had to borrow $50 to bring me home from the hospital. Now I want for no material thing. I know that we can fix the mess we are in. I know that we can replace Two Americas with One America. But let me tell you one thing – it's not going to be easy and it's going to take all of us together. Because the people with power aren't going to give it up without a fight. And we can't sit down with them and make a deal. We can't triangulate our way to big change; we can't compromise our way to big change – we need to lead the way to big change. And that starts with me being specific, clear and honest about what I'm going to do."

Edwards will help regular families save and get ahead by:

  • Creating a Get Ahead Credit, which will expand the Savers Credit to match savings up to $500 a year, providing as much as an additional dollar for every dollar of savings.
  • Boosting low-income families' savings with work bonds, which will supplement the Earned Income Tax Credit to match the savings of low-income workers up to $500 per year.
  • Exempting from taxes each family's first $250 in interest, capital gains, and dividends.
  • Allowing families to deposit part or all of their child tax credit into a tax-free savings account.
  • Expanding the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit to pay up to 50 percent of child care expenses up to $5,000 and make it partially refundable to benefit low-income working families.
  • Tripling the EITC for 4 million adults without children and cutting the marriage penalty for 3 million families.

In the past six years, President Bush has cut taxes on capital gains and dividends and started to eliminate taxes on inheritances completely. As a result of his regressive tax policies, the federal tax burden has been pushed onto the backs of working Americans. As president, Edwards will reverse President Bush's "War on Work" by:

  • Raising the top tax rate on long-term capital gains to 28 percent, the same rate signed into law by President Reagan. The 28 percent rate will ensure that high-income investors will pay taxes on their investment income at a similar rate to what regular families pay on their earned income.
  • Repealing the Bush tax cuts for the most fortunate families, who make more than $200,000 a year.
  • Ending the abuse of foreign tax havens.
  • Closing the hedge fund and private equity loopholes.
  • Capping executive pensions.

For more information on Edwards' plan to reform our tax code to reward work, not just wealth, click here to read more [PDF].

John Edwards, Press Release - Edwards Unveils Bold Economic Plan to Restore Fairness, Reform America's Tax Code, & Reward Hard Work Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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