Republicans Reject Buffett Rule -- Hooray!

tax formLet’s talk about numbers. People love to make numbers say whatever they want. For example, number trickery has perpetuated the myth that the middle class pays the majority of the taxes in America. Famed fat cat billionaire Warren Buffett has made issue of the effective tax rate of his secretary, and how so totally unfair it is that she is taxed at a higher percentage rate than him.

It recently came to light that President Obama also paid ‘fewer’ taxes than his secretary. That must be what they’re calling new math.

Numbers, especially when using statistics, can be twisted to say many things that don’t fall into the category of Common Sense. For example, statistically speaking, if I have five children, one of them will be Chinese.

Here’s a pesky fact -- the 10% of households with the highest incomes pay more than half of all federal taxes. They pay over 70% of federal income taxes, according to the Congressional Budget Office. How is it possible that the middle class pays the most in taxes when as a group, they pay less than half?

Anyway, in order to save the secretaries (or something), President Obama has been touting the Buffett Rule, which would impose a minimum tax on the nation’s 400 highest earners. Apparently you can earn enough money.

As I pointed out last week:

Super rich people make money from capital gains and dividends, which they then turn around and reinvest into the economy. Raising taxes on capital gains means that rich people employers won’t be able to create jobs.

Sixty percent of the public supports a minimum tax on the uber wealthy, because hey, why not? They already have enough money; it’s time for them to spread it around to those of us struggling to make ends meet. Besides, President Obama said that this would go a long way toward eliminating the national deficit and reducing our debt.

Side note: Any billionaire that wants to voluntarily pay more taxes by donating to the government to reduce our debt (it’s patriotic!) can go here and do it right over the internet! 

Back to the magic Buffett rule that will solve our nations financial problems … Last September, President Obama said:

What I’ve said is this is a very simple principle that everybody should understand: Warren Buffett’s secretary shouldn’t pay a lower [sic] tax rate than Warren Buffett. A teacher making $50,000 a year, or a firefighter making $50,000 a year or $60,000, shouldn’t be paying a higher tax rate than somebody making $50 million a year. And that basic principle of fairness, if applied to our tax code, could raise enough money that not only do we pay for our jobs bill, but we also stabilize our debt and deficits for the next decade. And as I said when I made the announcement, this is not politics; this is math. (Laughter.)

Math? That’s some interesting math. As my friend Jimmie Bise points out: 

The American Jobs Act, the bill to which the President referred in his speech, clocked in at $447 billion dollars. The Buffett Rule was predicted to bring in, at best$114 billion, not in one year, but in ten. By my count, the President would need almost 4 Buffett Rules — or four times as many Evil Bazillionaires — to cover just his jobs bill if we assume that his plan stretched out over ten years, which it didn’t. We haven’t even gotten to the part where this miracle plan of his stabilizes the debt for ten years. How many more monocle-wearing, puppy-blending, orphan-kicking rich people would we need to get to that point? Hundreds? Thousands?

The Buffett Rule has nothing to do with cutting spending, reducing the deficit or debt, creating jobs, or anything else that the Obama administration claims it will do. This is a distraction, something to cover up the fact that Obama can’t even get Nancy Pelosi to vote for his budget, or that unemployment numbers are going down because people have simply given up looking for work.

Nope, the Buffett Rule is a distraction. It is smoke and mirrors, an attempt to blame the financially successful people for stealing the nation’s wealth and a way to reintroduce class warfare. Newsflash: Rich people get rich by creating a product or service that entices people to fork over their cash in exchange for it. If you don’t want the Steve Jobs of the world to be rich, I’d suggest not buying things like iPads.

This post is part of a weekly conversation with our 5 Moms Matter 2012 political bloggers. To see the original question and what the other writers have to say, read Do You Support the Buffett Rule?


Image via John-Morgan/Flickr

barack obama, charity, corporations, discrimination, economy, in the news, media, politics, taxes


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bills... billsfan1104

Jair, I aplogize, because I worded it wrong.  I just read my post again.  What I meant is that I shouldnt have to pay more taxes, just because I make more.  I personally think that there should be a flat rate.  Say 10%.  so that people who make 20k will pay their "fair share", instead of nothing(because after your figure in earned income credit, they pay nothing). 


Suzy I'm not talking about investment income I'm talking strictly paycheck income.

Jessy Roos

Regardless of how people feel about the buffet rule or exactly how much people should be taxed, can we all stop throwing around the line "Why should I pay more because I work harder?" I think that any reasonable persona can agree that a nurse works very hard, a police officer, fire fighter, teacher and countless other professions work hard. Because you happen to work hard in a job that pays more because society has decided so, does not mean you work harder. I am not saying that people like billsfan don't work hard - I am sure she does! But a talented and passionate teacher or nurse works hard too. They just happen to be in a profession that doesn't reward them as well. To state that your salary is proof of you working harder is disrespectful to those other people and patently false.


Billsfan I think someone who gets 20,000 a year should still pay taxes. Gettin earned income tax money at the beginning of the year is nice but I would rather be making enough that I don't have to use that as catch up money.

Daniel Baneni

The issue here is not who pays the greatest bulk of taxes, but who, given the hard times that have befallen our country, can contribute more. If a choice is to be made between putting the social safety net of the middle class and the poor American in jeopardy, choice that we are to make because the fat cat bankers could not keep their moral fiber, asking the rich to pay their fare share is just a natural thing to do. I do not see why they should have a problem with that, and neither should you! ( I presume you are not a billionaire or are you?)

Dan B

PonyC... PonyChaser

Daniel, they ALREADY paid their "fair share", and they continue to do so. They already paid taxes on all of the money they earned as "fat cat bankers". They paid their income tax. And now they've retired and are living off of the money that they put away - invested in other people's businesses to help THEM make money - and that money is now taking care of them. And they are STILL paying taxes on it.

That is not fair.

The only "fair" solution is for EVERYONE to pay, whether he makes minimum wage or millions every year. A flat tax of 10-15% on EVERYBODY. No loopholes, no deductions, no credits, no "earned income" or "alternative minimuim" anything. FLAT tax.

And no politician gets a cent in take-home or any other kind of pay until there is a balanced budget that includes MASSIVE cuts in spending, and eradicates this ridiculous deficit that has us sending our grandchildren's money to China.

SuzyB... SuzyBarno

But the majority of money that the uber rich make is off of capital gains right?? That's why the bill wasnt passed. I do think there should be a flat tax on all earned income.

texas... texasmamma777

Stop calling it the "Buffet Rule". It's clearly the "Obama Rule", and yet another, ill-thought out, losing proposition from him & his inept team.

nonmember avatar Dad

@Jessy Roos - no one forces you to take a certain job, learn and perfect your talents at a certain trade, or whatever. If you decided to be a teacher, police officer, fireman, nurse, etc and find yourself upset at how much/little you earn, then it is **YOUR FAULT**, not MINE - by that I mean, you should have done investigative research PRIOR to taking a job or accepting a career path. If you just go around in life simply choosing to do the first thing that comes along without taking into account all of the consequences, then you are definitely NOT someone I want charged with the task of rescuing my family and I from a fire, or performing medical treatments on myself or others, or someone I want teaching my children in school. YOU AND YOU ALONE are responsible for the decisions you make and the consequences of those decisions are YOURS AND YOURS ALONE to accept and live with. If I am a successful millionaire who has made responsible and informed decisions, I should NOT be made to pay more in taxes because you don't think you make enough money.

nonmember avatar KathyT.

Whoa, hold on there for a minute, Dad. Are you suggesting that everyone should pick their profession based on how much money they make? What about the teacher who is passionate about their job, or something similar? By your logic, there would be no teachers, nurses, plumbers, etc. I don't want to live in a world where everyone picks their profession based on how much money they can make.

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