Tuesday, September 20, 2011


President Obama laid down a simple principle yesterday:
Middle-class families shouldn’t pay higher taxes than millionaires and billionaires. That’s pretty straightforward. It’s hard to argue against that. Warren Buffett’s secretary shouldn’t pay a higher tax rate than Warren Buffett. There is no justification for it.

It is wrong that in the United States of America, a teacher or a nurse or a construction worker who earns $50,000 should pay higher tax rates than somebody pulling in $50 million. Anybody who says we can’t change the tax code to correct that, anyone who has signed some pledge to protect every single tax loophole so long as they live, they should be called out. They should have to defend that unfairness -- explain why somebody who's making $50 million a year in the financial markets should be paying 15 percent on their taxes, when a teacher making $50,000 a year is paying more than that -- paying a higher rate. They ought to have to answer for it. And if they’re pledged to keep that kind of unfairness in place, they should remember, the last time I checked the only pledge that really matters is the pledge we take to uphold the Constitution.
If he'll actually stand his ground on that, and fight like hell for it, let the Republican Party campaign against that principle. Just let 'em.


The Tea tastes mighty fine this morning said...

The Tea Party wins again.

Getting rid of all those tax loopholes and special exemptions and deductions for this and deductions for that has been part of the Tea Party agenda since those first rallies on May 15, 2009.

Now even Mr. Crony Capitalism himself is buying into the idea (at least in public). Just watch, pretty soon he'll will come out for the Flat Tax--and claim it's his own idea.

Anonymous said...

Of course you are overlooking the fact that Warren Buffets INCOME tax rate is substantially higher than that of his secretary. What you are talking about is the capital gains tax rate....that is the rate at which profits on the sales of stocks and other investments are taxed at.

One could argue that the capital gains tax rate should be higher...it's worth a debate. But to compare it to an income tax rate is ludicrous. The income used to invest in the stock was taxed at the full income tax rate when it was earned. And, taxed again as a capital gain if the investment made a profit.

I don't argue against raising the capital gains tax rate. But, it should be discussed on it's merits. (will it hurt investments? will it actually bring more revenue to the government? If you take more of those gains as a tax, doesn't that leave less for the individual to reinvest?)

Lots of issues there....and fair game for discussion. But comparing cap gains tax to income tax - and in particular claiming buffet pays a lower income tax than his secretary...is just pandering to the ignorant and is intended to stir up the base with more class warfare.

Seems to be working!

Anonymous said...

Where's Joe Wilson when we need him? Obama's claims about how rich people pay at higher rates are, of course, lies.

From factcheckers at the AP:
The latest IRS figures are a few years older — and limited to federal income taxes — but show much the same thing. In 2009, taxpayers who made $1 million or more paid on average 24.4 percent of their income in federal income taxes, according to the IRS.

Those making $100,000 to $125,000 paid on average 9.9 percent in federal income taxes. Those making $50,000 to $60,000 paid an average of 6.3 percent.

Anonymous said...

So, Obama says, or any other politico, that in order for the economy to improve, government must have even more of our money.

It seems to me that the opposite would be true.

Frank said...

Yeah, well. I'll try it Obama's way since anyone can see how well trickle down economics worked so well for us already. And who on earth can ignore the FACTS that the richest in our country have amassed huge fortunes over the past 30 years while the American middle class has lost ground. Oh, I know who. Teabaggers. Who are either so dumb as to not know the facts or just want to keep soaking the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

What's dumb, Frank - is watching Obama fail for 2 1/2 years and yet still thinking he is the answer to the problem.

Anonymous said...

Frank, that's the problem. Your so-called trickle-down theory does not work, because the, in truth, free enterprise theory has not been allowed to work. We have a gosh-awful myriad of taxes, taxes, and more taxes, regulations upon regulations, fees, penalties, more taxes, etc, on at least three levels of government. If this huge government dam was released, the people, working clsss, the middle class, the evil 'rich' class (anyone whose income is 40K+) would have more money to spend; many of them would have considerably more money to invest or save. There would be more freedom and less regulations to start businesses; some of our companies would begin to come home, believe it or not. But again, you've got to get rid of these governmental tax and regulatory burdens. This government over the last many decades has turned against its original free enterprise system.

The Rational Teahadist said...

Frank, you predictably misunderstand.

Start with your "fact" of income inequality. Your logic goes something like this:

A) Something must be done about income inequality.
B) Raising taxes does "something" about income inequality.
C) Raising taxes must be done.

You see the fallacy, don't you? That C does not logically follow from A and B?

For example, eliminating women from the workplace (going back to Leave it to Beaver 1950s discrimination) would demonstrably reduce income inequality in a number of ways, but no one says we "must do that."

The Teabagger argument isn't "there is no income inequality," the Teabagger argument is that Obama's tax proposal is an exceptionally ineffective way to solve the income inequality problem.

It does, of course, give him lots of money to spread around to his favored constituents to buy votes and donations. Funny coincidence, that.

Obviousman said...

I am really dismayed that the posters here want to separate income tax from capital gains tax for the wealthy. The majority of their income IS capital gains tax. You don't think their salary is actually millions of dollars a year do you? They make some salary and let their wealth work even harder. That is the reason for the inequity.

Anonymous said...

Trickle down prosperity worked under Reagan, just as trickle down poverty is working under Obama. It just comes down to their policies.

Not Really said...

"Class warfare" seems to be the right's favorite scare tactic these days. I find myself automatically tuning out when someone trots out that tired phrase.

Obama's plan is imminently reasonable; we got into this debt mess because of increased spending AND the Bush tax cuts (and of course the economic meltdown). It makes perfect sense to look at reversing course both on spending and on revenues to get us back on track.

Tea tastes fine, I glad to hear you coming out in support of Obama's plan. I hope you give him credit for taking good ideas no matter where they come from.

Anonymous said...

Obama is toast. He is going to lose either the far left or the moderates in his own party. This is assuming he is not impeached and removed from office over Fast and Furious.

Frank said...

What's dumb is believing in spite of all the evidence to the contrary that trickledown is the answer.

Anonymous said...

Frank spoke the truth. The trickle down poverty caused by the Obama Administration is not the answer.

Anonymous said...

Warren Buffet helped write the tax loopholes that benefits multi-millionaires and billionaires.

Meanwhile, scum like Buffet, criminal offshore and domestic banksters, and corrupt District of Criminals thieving whores want to raise the middle class "fair share" taxes.

Incredibly bizarre.