President Barack Obama is in Florida today, making a big push to get Congress to pass the Buffett Rule, his campaign-ready tax proposal that would raise tax rates on millionaires and billionaires. In many ways, the Buffett Rule is the Obama campaign’s version of the Paul Ryan budget plan. The bill, which would force people earning $1 million or more to pay at least 30% in income taxes, has garnered virtually no bipartisan support in Congress and has little chance of passing the Senate next week.
In reality, the Buffett Rule is a populist campaign pitch designed to paint a stark contrast between Obama and his likely Republican rival Mitt Romney, a former Bain executive who has elevated out-of-touch rich-guy gaffes to an art form.
Obama basically laid out this strategy this afternoon, during a speech at Florida Atlantic University. Here’s a key excerpt:
“Right now, the share of our national income flowing to the top 1% has climbed to levels last seen in the 1920s. And yet those same people are also paying taxes at one of the lowest rates in 50 years. You might have heard this, but Warren Buffett is paying a lower tax rate than his secretary.
That’s wrong. It isn’t fair. And it’s time for us to choose which direction we want to go in as a country. Do we want to keep giving tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans like me, or Warren Buffett, or Bill Gates – people who don’t need them and never asked for them? Or do we want to keep investing in things that will grow our economy and keep us secure? That’s the choice.
I’ve told you where I stand. Now it’s time for Members of Congress to do the same. In the next few weeks, they’re going to vote on something called the Buffett Rule: If you make more than $1 million every year, you should pay at least the same percentage of your income in taxes as middle class families do. On the other hand, if you make under $250,000 a year – like 98 per cent of American families do – your taxes shouldn’t go up. It’s that simple.”
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