Mindful of growing resentment towards the wealthy for paying lower Federal tax rates than the middle class, the GOP-dominated US House of Representatives passed a new ‘Buffett Rule Act’ last week, on Sept. 19. Unfortunately, this legislation (which still requires a Senate vote) only calls for providing a check box on Federal tax forms, so the over-funded can voluntarily contribute more than they owe towards reducing the Federal deficit.
The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA), explained, “If Warren Buffett and others like him truly feel they’re not paying enough in taxes, they can use the Buffett Rule Act to put their money where their mouth is and voluntarily send in more to pay down the national debt, rather than changing the entire tax code to inflict more job-killing tax hikes on hard-working Americans.”
Yet, the amazing thing is that — according to Robert Franks’ Nov. 2011 post in his Wall Street Journal blog post, “Millionaires Support Warren Buffett’s Tax on the Rich“ — a whopping 61% of people worth $5 million or more actually support paying higher taxes! Therefore — contrary to beliefs shared by most progressives — the Republicans are not truly the handmaidens of the ‘One Percent.’ Instead, the GOP only advocates for the interests of a ridiculously miniscule ‘.00039 Percent,’ most of which consists of the Koch brothers. Unfortunately, referring to “The Point Zero Zero Zero Three Nine Percent” won’t pack nearly the same wallop during protests and press conferences, which could mean trouble for the Occupy movements.
In addition to Warren Buffett, other representatives of the upper echelons of our society have come forth to voice their support for higher rates of taxation for the rich. Mind you, these people aren’t wild-eyed socialists, or anything. After all, the ‘Buffett Rule’ calls for those making over $1 million per year to pay 30% of their income in Federal taxes– the middle class’ effective Federal tax rate — which is still far less than what citizens pay in the European Union, and which is about what millionaires paid during the Reagan years. Which is why Pres. Obama joked back in April, “We Can Call It The Reagan Rule Instead Of The Buffet Rule If You Want…”
Below are a few others who support the “Buffett Rule:”
- Billionaire George Soros: Back in February, George Soros also went on record for supporting Obama’s proposal to raise taxes on the wealthy. During an interview with Think Progress, Soros said, “Yes, I very much do [support higher taxes], because it’s the big boom, the super-bubble that resulted in a great increase in inequality. Not only do we have the after effect where we have slow growth one way or the other, but if you have better distribution of income, the average American will be better off.’
- Google millionaire, Doug Edwards: Last year, during a Sept. 2011 Town Hall Meeting in Mountain View, CA, Google Millionaire (and author of I’m Feeling Lucky, the Confessions of Google Employee Number 59) Doug Edwards asked President Obama, “Would you please raise my taxes? … I would like very much to have the country to continue to invest in things like Pell grants and infrastructure and job training programs that made it possible for me to get to where I am.” Edwards then shared his thoughts on the George W. Bush era tax cuts. “It kills me to see Congress not supporting the expiration of the tax cuts that have been benefiting so many of us for so long. I think that needs to change and I hope that you’ll stay strong in doing that.” You can see the video below.
- And hundreds of others, including President Obama, Michelle Obama, and the 700+ members of United for a Fair Economy’s Responsible Wealth project, a network of business leaders, investors, and others wealthy individuals who support fair taxation and other progressive social and economic policies.
The “Buffett Rule” refers to celebrated investor and finance guru, Warren Buffett, who publicly stated in early 2011 that he feels that his tax rate shouldn’t be lower than that of his secretary, Debbie Bosanek. During an interview with Buffett and Bosanek on ABC News, the pair revealed that Bosanek pays 35.8 % of her income to the Feds, while Buffett pays only 17.4 %.
Of course, Scalise’s not-particularly-ground-breaking item of ‘legislation’ entirely subverts the underlying concept of the ‘Buffett Rule,’ as defined on the White House’s Web site: “No household making more than $1 million each year should pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than a middle class family pays. This is the Buffett Rule — a simple principle of tax fairness that asks everyone to pay their fair share.” To see how many millionaires pay lower federal effective tax rates (income tax plus payroll taxes) than yours, check out the White House’s handy-dandy Buffet Rule Calculator. Hint: If your Federal Effective Tax Rate (Income plus payroll taxes) in 2009 was 15%, then at least 28,100 millionaires paid a lower effective tax rate than you.
Rep. Scalise’s legislation provides yet another example of how out-of-touch the Republican party has become.