Apr 11 2012

Obama Pushes Buffett Rule to Tax Millionaires

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As tax day approaches, ordinary Americans are struggling to meet the IRS’s deadline to fork over a chunk of their paychecks to the government and wonder whether there will be enough left over to pay for rent, food, school fees, doctor visits, and more. But most among the richest 1% of Americans are secure in the knowledge that their tax rates leave them with a greater proportion of their wealth intact than 99% of Americans.

Now, perhaps as a result of growing popular outrage expressed in the Occupy Wall Street movement, support is gathering for the so-called Buffett Rule, proposed most notably by benevolent billionaire Warren Buffett who believes that super-wealthy Americans owe the same tax rate as ordinary Americans. In fact, President Obama, in his remarks just delivered at Florida Atlantic University today said, “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 percent of American families do – your taxes shouldn’t go up.”

The proposed legislation, which is up for a procedural vote by the Senate next week, would establish a base-line 30% tax rate on incomes of more than $1 million a year. Income from capital gains and dividends would be considered part of taxable income at that rate.

Meanwhile, Republican Representative Paul Ryan, who is being tipped as a GOP Vice Presidential candidate, and whose recent budget proposal slashed the already tattered government safety net for poor Americans, said “I think people think the Buffett Rule is sort of budget pixie dust.” Ryan went on to assert the familiar conservative talking point that the Buffett Rule would “hurt small business owners.”

GUEST: Chuck Collins, senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies where he directs the Program on Inequality and the Common Good; He is co-author of “The Moral Measure of the Economy” and, with Bill Gates Sr., of “Wealth and Our Commonwealth: Why America Should Tax Accumulated Fortunes.” His latest book is called “99 to 1: How Wealth Inequality is is Wrecking the World and What We Can Do About It.” He is also co-founder of Wealth for the Common Good

Visit www.inequality.org for more information.

Chuck Collins will speak alongside John Cavanaugh on Thursday April 12th at 7 pm at Diesel Books in Brentwood, 225 26th Street, Suite 33, in the Brentwood County Mart.

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