Tag Archives: Warren Buffett

Obama’s Buffett Rule: Just a political gimmick?

President Obama's Buffett Rule, which would tax incomes of $1 million or more at a rate of 30 percent, would raise an extra $47 billion over the next decade.

Following, are three opinions on President Obama’s “Buffet Rule”…

The Week

The president passionately argues that we ought to hike taxes on the very richest Americans — which, if nothing else, is a handy campaign talking point

President Obama has been making a lot of hay about the Buffett Rule. Named after billionaire Warren Buffett, who has famously said he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary, the rule would set a baseline tax rate of 30 percent for yearly incomes over $1 million. The Obama administration says enacting this policy is a matter of economic fairness and common sense, and that it would be the first step toward closing our massive budget deficit. His opponents, however, see nothing more than a cynical campaign ploy. Is the Buffett Rule just smoke and mirrors?

 

It won’t solve the country’s fiscal problems: The Buffett Rule is a “gimmick,” says Dana Milbank at The Washington Post. The Buffett Rule would raise a paltry $47 billion in revenue over the next 10 years, a drop in the bucket compared to our annual $1.2 trillion deficit. It’s too bad Obama “doesn’t use his unrivaled political skill to sell a tax plan of more consequence.”
“Rebuffing Obama’s gimmicky ‘Buffett Rule’”

 

But it does highlight economic inequality: “The Buffett Rule is a compelling symbol” of economic inequality in America, says The New York Times in an editorial. Obama has “persuasively argued that it would be a step toward fairness in a tax code tilted in favor of the wealthiest Americans.” And he has every right to make the “serious and growing problem” of income inequality “a central issue in this year’s campaign.” We hope that the Buffett Rule “is only a start,” and that Obama takes other steps “to ensure that the benefits of economic growth are shared among all Americans.”
“Mr. Obama and the ‘Buffett Rule’”

 

And voters seem to agree with Obama: Polls show that about 60 percent of Americans think the U.S. economic system “favors the wealthy,” says Ari Berman at The Nation. So “it makes no sense to discard a populist message that is clearly resonating among a majority of the electorate.” Obama’s “focus on income inequality has put the GOP on the defensive,” and shifting gears “would be political suicide, not to mention terrible public policy.”
“Why economic populism is a winning strategy for Obama”

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Perry Admits His Tax Plan Slams Low-Income People And Lets The Wealthy Pay Nothing

The good news is that Rick Perry’s plan may never come to fruition, thanks in part to his stumbling and bumbling over key issues in this year’s campaign season.  Adios amigo!

Think Progress

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R), in his quest to win the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, has released a so-called flat tax plan that would institute a 20 percent income tax rate on everyone (minus a few deductions), while completely eliminating all taxes on investment income.

This, of course, would mean a huge tax increase for those Americans who pay less than 20 percent now, and an immense tax cut for those at the top of the income scale. In fact, according to an analysis by the Tax Policy Center, Perry’s plan would cut taxes for millionaires by nearly $500,000 every year. Meanwhile, a family making $10,000-$20,000 would pay $215 more under the plan, while a family making $20,000-$30,000 would pay nearly $500 more.

During an interview yesterday with the editorial board of the Des Moines Register, Perry essentially admitted that this analysis is correct, affirming that a low-income person with no deductions would pay the full 20 percent while someone living entirely off of investments could conceivably pay nothing:

Q: For somebody who has a home and investments and all that, an income level to have all of that, gets those deductions, but a family that doesn’t then still pays 20 percent on their total income? And I’m describing a low-income family.

PERRY: Right. That is correct. [...]

Q: Talk about the difference in where people’s income comes from. The person who works, you know, punches the time clock, they would pay the 20 percent.The person who has the big nest egg from dad or grandpa, whose income derives from capital gains or dividends, would pay nothing?

PERRY: I have a hard time with nothing. I’m sure you could go find an individual or some small number of individuals that meet that characteristic. But again, I don’t think anybody’s going to be able to create a tax system that does not have somewhere an inequity.

When asked if his plan would give millions in tax breaks to the rich, Perry callously replied, “I don’t care about that.” A ThinkProgress analysis found that billionaire investor Warren Buffett could pay as little as 0.2 percent under Perry’s plan. At the same time, Perry not only wants to raise income taxes on lower- and middle-income families, but has come out against extending the expiring payroll tax cut, walloping working families with another $1,000 tax increase next year.

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Politico’s: The week in one-liners

Politico

The week’s top political quotes…

“John obviously needs to work on his typing skills.” – President Obama making fun of House Speaker John Boehner’s tweet during a Twitter town hall.

“No, I didn’t hear about it. Anything with Twitter, and my mind shuts off.” – Warren Buffett explaining why he didn’t tune in for Obama’s town hall.

“Never underestimate Thaddeus.” – Rep. Thaddeus McCotter’s mom talking up her son who’s running for president.

“I’ve probably been in more fights than the rest of these candidates combined.” – Tim Pawlenty bragging about his tough side.

“And, I hate to say it, but she’s got a little sex appeal too.” –Pawlenty’s adviser Vin Weber making a comment about Michele Bachmann that he later called a mistake.

“Well listen I’m 55 years old, I’ve given birth to five kids and I’ve raised 23 foster kids so that sounds like good news to me.” – Michele Bachmann responding to the “sex appeal” remark.

“I think it will be a really easy decision for me to make.” – Donald Trump musing about jumping back into the presidential race.

“He’s a rotten prick.” –New Jersey Senate President Stephen Sweeney talking about Gov. Chris Christie.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my time at CNN.” – Eliot Spitzer addressing the cancellation of his show in a statement.

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Time Person Of The Year 2010: Mark Zuckerberg

Huffington Post

Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has been named Time magazine’s “Person of the Year” for 2010.

At 26, Zuckerberg has put himself on the map not only as one of the world’s youngest billionaires, but also as a prominent newcomer to the world of philanthropy.

Earlier this year, he pledged $100 million over five years to the Newark, N.J. school system. Now, he’s in the company of media titans Carl Icahn, 74, Barry Diller, 68, and others who have joined Giving Pledge, an effort led by Microsoft founder Bill Gates and investor Warren Buffett to commit the country’s wealthiest people to step up their charitable donations.

Zuckerberg owns about a quarter of Facebook’s shares.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke received the honor last year. The 2008 winner was then-President-elect Barack Obama. The 2007 winner was Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Other previous winners have included Bono, President George W. Bush, and Amazon.com CEO and founder Jeff Bezos.

Time’s “Person of the Year” is the person or thing that has most influenced the culture and the news during the past year for good or for ill.

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