Obama pushes 'Buffett Rule' to tax the wealthy. GOP cries 'class warfare!'
To reduce the deficit and create jobs, President Obama wants a "Buffett Rule" to make the super wealthy pay taxes at a rate more like average Americans. Republicans call that "class warfare."
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"It adds further instability to our system, more uncertainty, and it punishes job creation and those people who create jobs," Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the Budget Committee, said on Fox News Sunday. "Class warfare may make for good politics but it makes for rotten economics."Skip to next paragraph
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"It's a bad thing to do in the middle of an economic downturn," Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said on NBC's Meet the Press. "There is bipartisan opposition to what the president is recommending already."
Over on CNN's State of the Union Sen. Dick Durbin (D) of Illinois said that the proposal to raise taxes would be a good idea as long as it targeted "the wealthy and comfortable and those who wouldn't even notice it."
Well, he may be wealthy and comfortable, but you can be sure that Warren Buffett and the rest of the super rich do notice their tax situation. They didn’t get rich without the help of tax lawyers.
That’s what prompted Buffett last month to write his now famous New York Times op-ed column headlined “Stop Coddling the Super-Rich.”
“While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks,” he wrote. “Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as ‘carried interest,’ thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they’d been long-term investors.”
(For the record, Buffett noted that he paid $6,938,744 in federal taxes last year. But that was just 17.4 percent of his taxable income – a lot lower than the 36 percent averaged by the 20 people who work in his office.)
“I know well many of the mega-rich and, by and large, they are very decent people,” Buffett wrote in his op-ed. “Most wouldn’t mind being told to pay more in taxes … particularly when so many of their fellow citizens are truly suffering.”
That may or may not be true. Perhaps Obama can get Bill Gates, whose net worth ($56 billion) tops Buffett’s, to weigh in as well.
Sen. McConnell’s answer to the “Buffet Rule” is simple: “With regard to his tax rate, if he’s feeling guilty about it, I think he should send in a check.”