On Monday, April 16th, Senate Republicans voted against the wishes of the American people when they blocked legislation to make millionaires pay at least the same tax rate as middle-class families. According to the most recent survey taken just prior to the vote by CNN/ORC International, 72% of all Americans supported the Buffett Rule -- including 9 out of 10 Democrats, 7 out of 10 Independents and 53% of Republicans.

Commented Senator Bernie Sanders (Independent, Vermont) after the vote,"It is absurd that at a time when our country has a $15.6 trillion national debt and enormous unmet needs, the wealthiest people in this country have an effective tax rate that is lower than many middle-class people. It makes no sense that the richest people in America pay an effective tax rate lower than small businessmen, nurses, teachers, police officers and others.". Senator Sander had cosponsored the measure named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who says it is unfair that he pays a lower effective tax rate than his secretary.

In addition, the proposed GOP Ryan Budget, which Mitt Romney whole-heartedly supports, would cut the tax rate for millionaires by an additional 12%, while simultaneously raising taxes on lower income families (most of which are households headed by single mothers) and slashing programs supported by the vast majority of Americans.

Senator Sanders, "Nobody should be talking about cutting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and education, as many of my Republicans colleagues would like to do, while maintaining huge tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires. In terms of the distribution of wealth, as hard as it may be to believe, the richest 400 Americans own more wealth than the bottom 150 million Americans. The richest people and largest corporations are doing phenomenal well, while the middle class is collapsing and poverty increases.  This is not what democracy looks like.  This is what oligarchy and plutocracy look like."

Are you outraged yet?

Every dollar devoted to the middle class causes the economy to grow three times faster than a dollar for the rich, according to statistics kept at the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. Millionaires save most of the income gained from tax cuts. On the other hand, middle class families spend more when they receive tax breaks which creates demand and stimulates the economy.

Until 1964, the top tax rate in the U.S. was 91 percent, yet somehow, both this country, and the very rich, managed to survive, indeed prosper, regardless! That year, Kennedy cut the top tax rate from an exorbitant 91 percent to 70 percent. (In contrast, Bush and a Republican-controlled Congress cut the top tax rate from a historically low 39.6 percent to 35 percent.) However, by increasing enforcement and cracking down on loopholes, including the use of foreign subsidiaries for tax evasion, Kennedy actually increased government revenue. On the other hand,  the Bush tax cuts for the rich cost the nation $700 billion dollars in government revenue, and today Republicans are fighting against putting limits on outsourcing and foreign loopholes.

The Republican candidates keep telling us to wait...that something will eventually "trickle down" to the middle class. I'm not sure if they're talking about the weather, a fetish, or just asking us to bend over.