Santorum opposes Obama plan for new minimum tax for millionaires

HOPKINTON, N.H. — Illustrating the difficulty that President Obama will have getting any tax increase past Republicans in the current environment, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum on Sunday became one of the first presidential candidates to oppose Obama’s plan to seek a new minimum tax rate for millionaires.

Obama on Monday plans to call for a rewrite of the U.S. tax code, which would add the new minimum tax rate for millionaires, replacing the alternative minimum tax.

In an interview, Santorum called Obama’s proposal “more of the same’’ and said the higher tax rate would hurt businesses. “The president thinks people are going to grow their businesses, when a little over a year from now he’s going to dramatically increase their taxes,’’ Santorum said. “What business is going to create jobs or expand in order for them to be able to be hit with higher taxes?’’

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Santorum said the president’s economic advisers, who he described as “smart people in their ivory towers and academic institutions,’’ do not understand how the private sector works. “They’re just locked into this idea that government should control more things, take more money, decide more regulations about how businesses should run,’’ Santorum said.

Regarding Obama’s $447 billion second stimulus proposal, which includes short-term spending and tax cuts, and which Obama is pressuring Congress to pass, Santorum said a short-term stimulus package will not transform the economy. He referred to the $787 billion stimulus package Obama signed in February 2009.

“The definition of a mental illness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result,’’ Santorum said. “It didn’t work the first time. It won’t work this time because it fundamentally doesn’t jibe with what gets the private sector economy going.’’

Shira Schoenberg can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @shiraschoenberg.

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