Morning Mix: With One Week Until Tax Day, Buffett Rules

Taxes are due exactly one week from today, and for many of us, that means we are frantically making our returns and checking them twice.

For Democrats, though, this is the time to hone their tax push.

From President Barack Obama down to the newest Democrat in the House, everyone will be talking about the Buffett Rule — a push to make the tax code more fair and ensure that those who make over a million dollars a year aren’t paying a smaller percentage in taxes than those who earn far less.

CNN reports, “Most millionaires today already pay a higher percentage of their income in federal taxes than the vast majority of all Americans. But roughly 25% of them end up with a lower effective tax rate than 10% of middle-income households, according to the Congressional Research Service. And a very small number — an estimated 1,470 households in 2009, according to the IRS — end up owing no federal income tax at all. Obama’s Buffett Rule is targeted specifically at those high-income households that are in a position to structure their income and engage in legal tax strategies to minimize their tax bite.”

President Obama will be talking up the Buffett Rule as he makes fundraising and campaign appearances throughout the week.  “On a campaign fund-raising trip today to Florida, President Obama will make the tax fairness argument as part of his latest pitch for the ‘Buffett Rule’… [The issue] lends itself to Mr. Obama’s re-election campaign. If Republicans block passage of the Buffett Rule, he can try to portray them as defenders of an unfair tax policy benefiting the nation’s rich.”

And the other Democrats see it as a strong campaign issue, too, as they join the cause. “‘It’s an opportunity for senators from both political parties to stand up for tax fairness,’ said Illinois Sen. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate. ‘Are we going to allow the GOP and Mitt Romney to take us back to the days where the decks were stacked against the middle class?’ said Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), who’s angling for the open Senate seat in Wisconsin and has sponsored the Buffett Rule in the House. ‘As we recover from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, it’s time we understand that it’s going to take shared sacrifice and shared responsibility.’”

The theme will be “tax fairness” more so than using the rule as a way to decrease the deficit.  But some wonder if that will actually work as a campaign message.  It seems the coveted Independent voters aren’t that concerned with “fair.” “While the Buffett Rule is widely popular – more than 6 in 10 Americans support the measure, according to a March Reuters/Ipsos poll – the larger economic argument centered around ‘fairness’ may be problematic for the independent voters who are often crucial in presidential elections.”

If “fair” does end up being a messaging fail, expect the “tax the rich” rhetoric to start toning down shortly after the vote is cast.

Photo credit: wikimedia commons


Bruce K.
Bruce K5 years ago

Would have been great for his campaign had he passed this before the current tax season, Now it just more promise of "change" like last time.

Sandra W.
Sandra W5 years ago

Just more stupidity and class warefare because it has a nice sound to it to take money from the rich. You know, if it would really help to solve the country's problems, I don't think that people would object to higher taxes. The problem is that the government collects those taxes and flushes the money down the toilet and has nothing to show for it other than higher debt. The more they take from people, the more that they waste. Warren Buffett has done well in his life and I find that admirable. I don't find it admirable that the IRS has to chase him to pay his taxes while he has the audacity to tell others that they should pay more. Before he opens his stupid mouth, he should pay what he owes and then cut a check for what he thinks he (one of the richest people in the world) should pay. How stupid can Obama be to use this man as the poor example that he is. What's worse than all of this is that this rule or law or whatever you want to call it, will raise 4.7 billion each year. That, people, will pay the interest on this nation's debt for a whopping 3 days. Do these people have nothing better to do with all of the time that has been wasted on this crap? This is a shamless political ploy to divert attention from the real problems. And Obama says that this will grow the economy. That is a pile of crap too. Raising taxes on small businesses will NOT spur job growth. And "shared" sacrifice and responsibility......spare me. Almost half of this country pays no federa

Chris Cole
Chris C5 years ago

I LIKE the name and I like Buffett. What difference does the name make? Let's just get this tax code passed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sue Jones
Sue Jones5 years ago

Paul B - your ignorance is showing.

Ellen Emerson
Ellen Emerson5 years ago

Definitely agree it needs a better name, and I would be happy to go after Buffett until he pays. I have a REAL issue with people not paying their fair share of taxes GRH!

Tom Jack
Tom Jack5 years ago

Let's not name the need for an added investment inour country after a billionaire, no offense to Warren Buffet.

I would like to rename the rule the Valley Forge Investment in America Rule. For those history buffs and not so history buffs, in 1777-1778, the American Revolution was not going so well for the American Continental Army. Our forbears were holed up in cabins and raggedy tents facing the bitter cold of winter and freedom's fading chances. George Washington and Von Steuben rallied the troops, and out of great despair, came greater hope and ultimately, victory. let's all of us pledge something to help our country rise out of the mess both Democrats and Republicans made. Replace the section on the 1040 form that designates money for Presidential campaigns with the Valley Forge Investment in America Rule. All those who donate with their 1040 get their names on all a virtual wall thanking them for their investment in their country and their patriotism!

Jennifer C.
Past Member 5 years ago

Noted. Thanks.