My suspicious mind has gotten me in trouble before, but don’t you think it might be just a little more than coincidental that “60 Minutes” combined Barack Obama’s interview this past Sunday with billionaire Warren Buffett? The Warren Buffett who said he thinks millionaires should pay their fair share of taxes, supporting the President’s plan to raise revenue through a fairer share from the wealthy. The Warren Buffett who engendered backing from other fellow patriotic millionaires to ease the plight on middle income Americans through fairer taxes.
|Warren Buffett with Pres. Obama
The President announced recently that “some of the wealthiest” pay a considerably smaller rate as a percentage of their taxes than those with less income. Specifically, 25 percent of millionaires pay a tax rate that is below that of the middle-class. There are even some billionaires with a tax rate as low as 1 percent. With Buffett’s approach, some 25 percent of the very high income group could be affected. Grover Norquist has been squirming since Warren Buffett started his crusade, and must have lost his dinner after the CBS “60 Minutes.”
This whole brouhaha results from the fact that many rich Americans’ incomes come from tax investments that are taxed at a lower rate than the average Joe and Jane’s salaries. When you combine that with additional perfectly legal tax loopholes, these tycoons’ tax rates dip even lower. Many of us get tax breaks such as mortgage interest deductions, savings for retirement and capital gains or losses. But it is entirely possible that we will have to give up these shelters in response to raising taxes on the wealthy to balance out the inequity.
Obama has stated that the rich can chip away at their tax burden and that is “the height of unfairness.” So enter the Buffett Rule named after billionaire Warren Buffett who has made it clear to Congress that the wealthy should be taxed more. His appeal continues to fall on deaf ears because no one is willing to cross Norquist and the pledge the GOP made to him to raise no taxes.
In a recent survey by CBS News/NYT, the question was asked to the American public, “Should million-dollar households get tax increase?” Here are the results:
All Reps Dems Inds
Yes 65% 38% 80% 68%
No 30 59 16 25
With an overwhelming majority of people wanting this tax increase, even 38 percent of Republicans, it is hard to understand how the GOP can stick to their pledge. Their excuse that it will slow the economy has been refuted by some top economists due to the long-range nature of the tax increase, and the only other opposition would be the fear of taxing those Republicans who donate the most to their reelection campaigns.
President Obama put it simply on “60 Minutes;” the GOP took a look at an economy in the tank, created by George W. Bush’s administration and his rightist minions, and decided to do nothing during Obama’s four years until they could elect their own president. From the ilk of the current Republicans running in the primary, they made a bad decision. But hopefully the American voter won’t forget this scheming chicanery in 2012.