Senate to take up Buffett Rule today
At some point today, the Senate will take up the so-called “Buffett Rule,” the proposed tax on higher-income earners that President Barack Obama and Democrats say is a matter of “fairness” in the tax code. No one expects that the proposal will pass, and even if it did, the House wouldn’t take it up.
President Obama has been discussing the Buffett Rule on the campaign trail, backing off earlier assertions that it would help raise revenue in a significant way. Recently, he claimed that Ronald Reagan, an iconic figure in the conservative movement, would have supported the proposal:
President Barack Obama said the White House proposed “Buffet Rule” could be named the “Reagan Rule,” referring to former Republican President Ronald Reagan as a “wild-eyed, Socialist, tax hiking class warrior.”
“This president gave another speech where he said it was ‘crazy’ — that’s a quote — that certain tax loopholes make it possible for multimillionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his salary,” Obama said at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building Wednesday. “That wild-eyed, socialist, tax-hiking class warrior was Ronald Reagan.”
Obama floated the idea of renaming the “Buffet Rule,” which would require individuals making over $1 million annually to pay at least 30 percent in federal income taxes.
“If it’ll help convince folks in Congress to make the right choice, we could call it the ‘Reagan Rule’ instead of the ‘Buffett Rule,’” Obama said.
Obama also said Reagan thought “the wealthiest should pay their fair share and said so,” adding, “I know that position might disqualify him from the Republican primaries these days, but what Ronald Reagan was calling for then is the same thing we’re calling for now – a return to basic fairness and responsibility. Everyone doing their part.”
This flatly absurd. During his time in office, Reagan signed a significant tax cut into law, taking the top income rate from 70% to 28%. The most unfortunate part of Reagan’s presidency, however, was his support of tax hikes in order to bring other reforms that never really materalized or were substantially watered down in Congress. But even with his tax hikes, Reagan still managed a net-tax cut during his eight years. Moreover, Reagan never played up class warfare as part of his economic agenda, which Obama seemingly does everyday.
As I’ve said before, the Buffett Tax is a ruse, a talking point that Obama is trying to use to take the focus away from his failures. Nevermind, that the economics behind the proposal don’t work and higher-income earners are already paying a much larger share of the tax burden than the middle class. It’s smoke-and-mirrors and Obama is playing it for all its worth while the economy continues to move slowly.