We should not fall into the trap of thinking that there is only one way to get things done. Our economy can be stimulated through government spending or through tax incentives or through lowered interest rates. Obviously, at all times, all the levers are involved to some degree in changing the nominal growth rate of the economy. At this juncture interest rates are already quite low. Negative real interest rates can produce damaging sectorial differences.
The high income 1%, 5%, 10% and 20% tax bracket individuals as classes are paying income taxes. Let's not exaggerate. Many may not be paying a "fair" share. That should be addressed. I would not recommend a federal, personal income tax rate over 60% at any income level. People might actually move to the Crimea to avoid a 90% income tax rate. If one layers a state income tax rate of up to 12% on the federal rate One reaches a potential 72%. Some cities have local income taxes as well. A combined burden of 75%, or anything over 50% should motivate most tax filers to look for tax shelters.
The federal government should offer attractive tax shelters for the "victimized," who must pay a combined tax rate over 50%. These tax shelters should not be in the Bahamas or Guernsey Island, they should be in the United States and its territories.
The most effective, fiscally-responsible, manageable and job creating tax shelter has been the federal, investment tax credit. This was first introduced in the 1960s to spur business investment in the post Korean War era. An investment tax credit of 10% or 20% (at different times for different types of investment through the 1980s) would allow a business to reduce its tax bill by 10% or 20% of the amount it invested that year in new production assets. Such investments usually produce jobs, somewhere along the line, in the economy. In some cases there is a multiplier effect with new jobs drilling for oil producing new jobs building pipelines and refineries as in the 1980s. Also in the 1980s a 20% investment tax credit for energy investments was supplemented in Jerry Brown's California with a 30% investment tax credit for investments in clean electricity generating systems. At the time, that meant, primarily, wind power and geothermal power. With the additional fiscal stimulus of the Vietnam War there was also upward pressure on prices leading to high interest rates by the early 1990s.
In short, raising nominal tax rates on high income individuals and businesses, while providing a tax credit for job producing investments in targeted, critical sectors such as geothermal, solar and wind power, electric vehicles and even transit passes for employees using mass transit to get to work, could be a very good strategy for getting the underemployed and unemployed across the country back to work in ways less harmful to the planet. Eventually, Republicans and Democrats in Congress will remember how to get useful things done and maybe Big Oil will get on the bandwagon redirecting its cash toward windmills and away from oil and gas wells.