President Obama to Make Buffett Rule Central Focus of Campaign

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The pressure is on. The Senate isn’t set to vote on the so-called “Buffett Rule” until next week. But the White House is already setting the stage to make the rule, which would require those making more than a million dollars a year to pay at least 30 percent in federal income tax, a central plank of President Obama’s re-election campaign. 

The White House is releasing a report today making the economic case for the Buffett Rule. Later today, the President will speak to a crowd at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, where the Buffett Rule will be the central focus of his remarks.

Takeaway Washington Correspondent Todd Zwillich joins us.

Guests:

Todd Zwillich

Produced by:

Joseph Capriglione

Comments [6]

T. Michael

Taxing the Intelligence of Politicians

Why is it that I don’t have high expectations for the “Romney Rule”, the “Buffett Rule” or any “Rule” that politicians are capable of formulating? Oh yes! It’s because politicians are only capable of thinking in a one track/rut of either cut taxes or raise taxes. If you think I meant that Republicans only think of one option and Democrats only the other then you are stuck in a rut. The answer to taxes and fair tax treatment is not to be found in minds or plans that our members of Congress, our President or President-in-hoping, the political parties, or well pretty much any group who harp about one point or another.

The tax issue is a challenging test for our politicians; they have an opportunity to make a difference, to create an approach and policy for taxation. Developing a solution to the tax issue would allow an intelligent politician to demonstrate his/her competence and appreciation of a crucial element of our governmental and democratic system. They could show the public how to make a far more sensible tax system than the one that has evolved, been distorted and corrupted by politicians and special-interests to the disadvantage of the general public, and that has not kept current with either the financial realities of our economic environment or with the changing impacts that the current policies have created to the detriment of the nation’s fiscal viability.

The “Romney Rule”, the “Buffett Rule”, and the plethora of quaint platitudes employed to support any given politician’s position do not demonstrate an understanding of the problem or the complexity of taxes and tax policies’ consequences within our economy and society. These catch-phrases and sound-bites demonstrate rather the true problem, burden and obstacle to Americans and their taxes. Politicians and their ilk continue to show that they do not understand, have a clue or even know enough to know they are the most significant factor that constitutes the tax problem. They may be the worst obstacle to addressing our tax problem, but they are only marginally running ahead of numerous groups who have their own ‘simple’ solutions. I will admit that their proposals are simple, but not that they are solutions.

Even though politicians can’t think of a rational tax system, they could present an alternate version of their own plan that keeps everything that they see as the solution but which adds a ‘consequences’ plan. If the results that they ‘promise’ will result from their plan don’t materialize then the ‘consequence’ portion of the plan kicks in. It’s sort of a “I didn’t know that was going to happen” safety valve.

I don’t expect politicians to do this of course. It has three problems: They would have to think of a ‘consequence policy’, They would have to adhere to the consequence and not ‘stand up’ and deliver, and They would have to

The finish is at now4yourconsideration's blog

Apr. 12 2012 08:51 PM
listener

"Here's a little quiz," when was the last time the US Senate passed a budget while they play political games with a "frustrated billionaire" who can give away half his fortune to the US Treasury if he wanted to so expensive party games at the General Services Administration could be funded indefinitely?
If the GSA scandal runs in direct contradiction to the President's mendacious demagoguery last week against the Ryan budget, does that explain why some are ignoring it?

Is $47 billion over ten years to answer a debt well over 16 trillion in the name of "fairness" an example of serious leadership and can the nation afford this foolishness?

Apr. 10 2012 09:55 AM
D.L.Mc

Zwillich follows the Obama talking points to the tee. Even he sounded embarrassed aping that line about changing the name to the Romney Rule.Seems more opinion than reporting. Time to change his title from "correspondent" to "news analyst", or is that only necessary when you disagree with the "correspondent's" opinion.

Apr. 10 2012 09:21 AM
listener

Since admittedly there is a blurring between the Obama Campaign and The White House than when does the
tax money end and the campaign money begin while we worry about the wealthy private sector?

While journalists credulously chase the debunked political gimmick of the Buffett Rule and Romney' tax returns regarding private funds how about attention to the abuse of pubic funds and the trappings of the Presidency to advance a political campaign?
Considering the President's embarrassing words regarding the role and history of the Supreme Court, when will the media demand to see the college transcripts of “the smartest president ever” which are kept under seal while Romney's business dealings are an open book.

Apr. 10 2012 09:10 AM
Aaron from Massachusetts

I support the notion that the very well-to-do should be paying more to help support the system, but this Buffet rule, if I understand it correctly, makes me uncomfortable. Let's look at a slightly simplified scenario, which assumes a long-term capital gains rate of 15%, a cut-off/kick-in point of $1M for the 30% rate, and no earned income. If someone makes $999,999 in long-term capital gains, they would pay $149,999.85 in taxes, and take home $849,999.15. If they make one dollar more, $1,000,000 total, they suddenly pay $300,000--twice as much--and take home $700,000? That extra dollar loses them $150,000--a situation that cannot happen with ordinary income. Don't you think that will lead to people playing all kinds of tricks to keep their numbers just below the cutoff point? I think the rate should be marginal and progressive, just like ordinary income tax. Maybe set it at 2/3 the rate for ordinary income, to retain the investment incentive factor.

Apr. 10 2012 08:49 AM
Erich Wester from Warren, MI

Why does everyone talk about how little the rich pay in taxes and then say that the answer is to raise taxes on the rich? The real question is what ALLOWS the rich to pay a lower EFFECTIVE rate and that the answer is to get rid of the tax loopholes that the rich politicians have inserted into the tax code. Typical political-speak.

Apr. 10 2012 08:38 AM

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