The Buffett Rule: What Could We Do With $32 Million Per Millionaire

buffett obamaThe Buffett Rule isn’t just about fairness. This is not an issue of she who works hard gets to keep her cash. Plenty of people who work hard do not earn much money, and plenty of people with a lot of money did not necessarily earn it. No, this is not what the Buffett Rule is about at all. It’s about what fundamental philosophy we want to adopt as a nation. Will we continue down a destructive path of greed with an inward focus on ourselves or will we open our arms, eyes, and hearts to fellow citizens to lift America up as a people? The question of a “me” versus “we” mentality begs to be answered, and every policy, law, and ruling our lawmakers vote on will be driven by this very question. It is simply a matter of values.

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Sixty percent of Americans agree with the Buffett Rule. It’s no surprise that the pivotal point of support is marked by partisan lines. Interestingly enough, even Ronald Reagan, Republican demigod, saint, and revered politician, happened to agree with what today is known as the Buffett Rule. See for yourself. Sadly, I’m pretty certain most people don’t even have a clear understanding of what it is.

The taxes that the Buffett Rule would generate from just one millionaire could translate to over 5000 students going to college with the help of Pell Grants. It could mean over 3300 veterans would get medical care. More than 300 teachers would not be laid off. The Buffett Rule, coupled with a multi-pronged approach to budgeting, would maintain current programs to serve veterans, students, the elderly, and the poor, while chipping away at our deficit. Passing the Buffett Rule is a matter of paying our share in order to lift our communities, not just ourselves. To continue to let millionaires pay a pittance of income tax would be a buffet to our system that helps support millions of middle class Americans.

The rich griping about taxes is not newsworthy. Sorry, but I have a hard time rallying around that woe-is-me battlecry when I volunteer with homeless, hungry, and abused children. When I worked in the financial services industry for American Express, I remember many conversations around eliminating alternative minimum tax. There have been several attempts to fairly tax the rich with an equal number of rebuttals and attempts to thwart paying their fair share.

I ask you this, how would you feel if you were the secretary getting the tax shaft while your wealthy boss easily galloped through loopholes? Laboring through the hardships of middle class struggles is taxing enough.

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 Pete Souza

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