Mike Kueber's Blog

September 18, 2011

The Buffett rule

Filed under: Issues,Politics — Mike Kueber @ 9:29 pm
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According to an article in the Washington Post, President Obama is planning on Monday to propose a new minimum tax rate for millionaires – a so-called Buffett rule because Warren Buffet recently said that the American tax system should ask more from the mega-rich.   The Post reports that, based on appearances by Lindsey Graham and Paul Ryan on Sunday talk shows, Republicans are expected to be united against the proposal.  They will argue that this is more class warfare by President Obama and that Americans are Taxed Enough Already.

Although I didn’t see Graham or Ryan on the Sunday talk shows, I did see Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnel on Face the Nation.  Ever since McConnel was a stick-in-the-mud obstructionist during the Bush administration, I have disliked this dour sourpuss, and my dislike grew today with his silly argument against the Buffett rule – i.e., if Buffett thinks the rich should pay more in taxes, there is nothing stopping them from sending personal checks to the federal government.  That is as nonsensical as a criticism I heard last week to the effect that Buffett’s company, Bershire Hathaway, shouldn’t be contesting an IRS tax ruling because Buffett thinks the rich should pay more in taxes.  What does one have to do with the other?

Remember that McConnell was the king of earmarks for years and was one of the last holdouts to capitulate to the TEA Party on this issue.  The next time he proposes spending money for some Kentucky boondoogle, we should ask him to fund it either with his millions or with the millions that his campaign has accepted from people and companies trying to bribe him.

Getting back to class warfare – last Tuesday, I blogged a suggestion to the Democrats about their continual class warfare – i.e., give it a rest.  In a response to a commentator, however, I agreed that higher rates for those who make $1 million or $10 million would be fair.  I also suggested that it was not fair that half of all Americans pay no income tax and that everyone who makes an income should pay some income tax.

Because of the partisanship in Washington, these changes can’t be implemented in a piecemeal fashion.  Fortunately, there is bipartisan agreement that comprehensive tax reform, which was last done in during the Reagan administration, is overdue and there appears to be reason for optimism that it can be accomplished before the 2012 election.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed.