Americans for Tax Fairness is ensuring corporations and the rich pay their fair share

Note from the CREDO team: This October, Americans for Tax Fairness is among three amazing groups that will receive a share of our monthly grant. Funding from the CREDO community will help Americans for Tax Fairness continue its work fighting for a fairer tax code, from lobbying Congress and holding billionaires accountable, to reaching millions on social media to engaging with activists like you!

Read this important blog post about the organization’s work to fight for tax fairness, then click here to visit to cast your vote to help determine how we distribute our monthly grant to ATF and our other amazing grantees this October.

Hopefully and not without struggle, America has entered a new Progressive Era. But none of the things progressives want to do to make society better—improve access to healthcare, lower housing costs, strengthen our schools, narrow economic inequality, protect our democracy, and much more—are possible without first confronting a central problem: rich people and corporations don’t pay enough taxes. 

Until very recently, conservative trickle-down economics dominated the vital question of how we raise and spend public money. Beginning with the Reagan tax and budget cuts of the early 1980s and with only a few exceptions over the next four decades, the debate in Washington and in state capitals around the country has centered on how much to cut taxes on the wealthy and corporations, on the long-disproven theory that the economic benefits would eventually filter down to everyone else. 

Americans for Tax Fairness was founded in 2012, in part, to change that false narrative. To do that we have undertaken an aggressive effort to focus attention on the need for the wealthy (and the corporations they largely own) to pay their fair share of taxes so we can narrow the nation’s destabilizing income and wage gaps, invest in people and their communities, and create an economy that works for everyone. We have done extensive polling and message testing to show that the public strands with us, not the richest one percent and biggest corporations.  Though polls prove it is widely popular across the political spectrum, real tax reform that ensures the wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share can be a challenging issue to organize around and to make central to the political debate. Few people enjoy paying taxes, the IRS can seem scary, the subject involves complicated math. 

Even among Democratic politicians there is an erroneous but long-standing fear of being punished for raising taxes. That’s why for the past 10 years, Americans for Tax Fairness—a coalition of hundreds of endorsing national and state organizations—has been leading a successful effort to make progressive tax reform comprehensible, meaningful, central to movement activism and politically attractive

ATF is the strategic hub between all the forces needed to win this debate: think tanks and academics; unions and national advocacy groups; grassroots groups and digital organizers. 

ATF’s small but effective staff executes a broad range of activities in pursuit of the organization’s tax-fairness goals. It digests and simplifies tax research to make the sometimes technical issues relevant and even inspiring to the public. ATF produces original policy research, such as its regular reports on the extraordinary wealth growth of billionaires during the pandemic. ATF also engages and coordinates the activities of the coalition’s member organizations; spearheads the lobbying of Congress and the executive branch; mobilizes activists through state partners, email and social media; and promotes tax-fairness issues in the news media.

In 2021 alone, ATF appeared 4,500 times in the media, garnering an audience of over 5.3 billion views. ATF research was cited or representatives of the group were quoted in the Washington Post, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, CBS News, CNN, Politico, and many other prominent  national news sources. Our social media team produces a steady stream of content used by online organizers, organizations and elected officials alike.  

The 2020 presidential primary was proof that the debate had been transformed within the Democratic Party, in part through ATF’s efforts. Every candidate—even moderate ones like the eventual winner, Joe Biden—offered tax plans that raised at least $4 trillion in fairer taxes on the rich and corporations to invest in health care, child care, education, housing, infrastructure, clean energy and more. Biden ran and won the general election on that platform. Yet the subsequent resistance to Biden’s bold vision by members of his own party that shrunk his program to the still significant but much diminished Inflation Reduction Act shows how much work remains to be done.  

As it enters its second decade, Americans for Tax Fairness stands ready to leverage its experience, reputation and the hard work of its dedicated staff and many coalition partners to continue the journey towards true tax fairness.