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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dreab... dreabug23

Dad, successful millionaires don't post comments on The Stir at 9:01 am.

You're defending people who couldn't give two craps about you.

nonmember avatar Dad

@dreabug - If they "couldn't give two craps" about me then what makes you think they would want to pay more taxes to fund collective stupidity? You have done nothing but prove my point.

nonmember avatar Dad

@KathyT - No, that is not what I suggested. What I am suggesting is this: jobs do not pay higher rates to people who "love what they do" or "because they care so much". Rate of pay is based on performance, ability, skill level, and the market for that position. Taking a job because "you love what you do" is honorable, and I have respect for those individuals who accept jobs for which they know they will receive a less than desirable rate of compensation. They are accepting this consequence as a result of their decision. What upsets me are the people who KNOWINGLY accept a job with a low rate of pay and then claim that they should get paid more simply on the grounds that "I took this job as a teacher because I love teaching, therefore you should pay me more money." This is WRONG, and this the mindset to which I was referring.

Desti... DestinyHLewis

agree with Dad. ;-) And bottom line if they truly LOVED the job they worked for and took, they would not be faulting others for the job they chose that happens to make more money. ;-)

nonmember avatar Guest

Over time as our government has varied tax rates, it has been shown that the Capitol Gains tax is an enormously destructive force in regards to economic growth. That is why it was set to a somewhat lower rate in the first place. It had nothing to do what what someone perceived someone else's "fair share" to be, but what was good for the national economy in general. It should also be noted that a lot of "capitol gains" are the result of inflation. In other words, you are being taxed on money you did not actually make. You are being taxed on the fact that some asset is costs more in inflation UN-adjusted dollars, even though there was no real world gain in value or wealth.

nonmember avatar Sunshine

I'm a teacher. I don't make anywhere near 100k. I knew that going into the profession. I work in an inner-city school. If you think that my pay is reflective of my skill, ability or performance, you are incorrect.
I don't have any problem with doctors and lawyers and engineers and whoever making more money than me. I do have a problem with those same people thinking the reason they make more money than me is because they work HARDER.

Jilli Brown

You're also guilty of making "numbers say whatever they want." It's deceptive to speak in terms of dollars & not tax rates. The wealthiest paid the most, they've also reaped the most & hold the most. Tax rates are actually a more honest & telling measure.

Romney paid 13.9% in taxes- keeping 86.1% of his income after taxes. Most working class Americans will pay 22-28% or more-keeping 72-78% of their incomes. I'm willing to bet that there's millions out here that would love to have that additional 8-14% if they were taxed at Romneys rate. It's been proven statistically that putting the extra money in their hands would do more to fuel our recovery than doling out bigger tax cuts to the wealthy.

If giving tax breaks to the wealthiest creates jobs, shouldn't we have seen larger job growth numbers? They're playing lower tax rates than they have in over 50 years. During the bush admin, we saw the lowest job creation rates since WWII-along with the largest increase in the deficit. Considering how much the tax cuts added to the deficit, it's a horrible ROI. We live in a consumer driven economy, when consumers have money they spend, demand is created and employers hire. The real job creators are consumers-the majority of whom are working class Americans.

No, the Buffett Rule isn't the total solution-it wasn't intended to be, nor was it claimed to be, but it's a reasonable effort to increase gov. revenue & every little bit helps

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