The Buffett Rule Is Dead. Long Live the Buffett Rule.

You can't keep a good policy gimmick down. The so-called Buffett rule, a special tax designed to hit very high earners, like, I don't know, coughmittromneycough, failed to pass a vote in the Senate yesterday. But that didn't phase President Obama, who has been stumping for the policy in speeches across the country, and will apparently continue to do so.

"President Obama says he will continue to push for the plan that would require millionaires to pay at least the same tax rate as middle class Americans, and blame Republicans for defeating it in the Senate," reports USA Today. It's almost as if President Obama never really cared whether or not the plan passed, and was more interested in using it as an election-year cudgel against his political opponents.  

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  • Drake||

    Wasn't the AMT originally sold as a "millionaires tax". Except they "forgot" to index it to inflation. Now it's just a "welcome to the middle-class" buggering.

  • Legate Damar||

    Precisely. I got hit with AMT for the first time last year because my I got laid off in November and got a lump-sum severance in December.

    Question for the forum: Left-wing hacks keep talking about the 13,000 or so $1M+ earners who pay no taxes. How is this done while avoiding AMT?

  • tarran||

    IIRC Long term capital gains are not counted as ordinary income under the IRS rules. They're taxed differently.

  • Legate Damar||

    Which explains why they're getting rates as low as 15%, but not how they're avoiding taxes altogether.

  • Number 2||

    Actually Drake, the income tax itself was supposed to be a millionaire's tax, too.

    Funny how those "millionaire's" taxes become everyone's taxes within twenty years of adoption.

    And funny how the legacy media always fail to point that out.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Just like they forgot to index the standard deduction to inflation.

  • Peter Suderman||

    Yup. Discussed briefly here.

  • ||

    Take out the comma and that quote from McPaper is precisely right: He will continue to blame Republicans. That's his economic strategy.

  • wareagle||

    that is his strategy for everything. Three plus years in and the man has yet to realize that he actually won the job that he is again campaigning for. How anyone takes Obama seriously on anything defies belief.

  • o3||

    well obama's seriously introduced alotta alQaeda to their virgins

  • wareagle||

    yes, Obama has left in place virtually every single Bush policy that The One whined about during the '08 campaign. That means he is consistent about his dishonesty, a trait all Americans should admire in a president.

  • o3||

    bush never got binladen so the gop declared ObL a zombie noncombatant.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    Yeah, and nearly a year after his death, we're still fucking around in Afghanistan, the same thing that Bush did in Iraq after Saddam was swinging from a rope.

    How are these guys any different, again?

  • Sharon Stone||

    Obama has a (D) next to his name.

  • o3||

    it wasnt obama who confused the idea of destroying alQaeda vs occupying afghanistan. > dern neocons, how do it work?!

  • Randian||

    He certainly has perpetuated and compounded that confusion, however.

  • o3||

    one plays the hand one's dealt

  • MarkVShaney||

    1. Spend a billion dollars to get elected
    2. double down on all the foreign policies you campaigned to 'change'
    3. ???
    4. $Profit$

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    one plays the hand one's dealt

    We could have pulled out within a month after Bin Laden ate lead > darn Commander in Chief, how do it work?

  • tarran||

    Of course they didn't care!

    The buffet rule would never have raised more than a few million anyway.

    Its intended targets would simply buy more life insurance to evade it and Warren Buffet would have gotten richer.

    My guess is that everyone knew this:
    1) Robert Reich, Krugman et al stayed quiet because they desperately need something that looks like the President - a scion of the establishment - is sticking it to the man.

    2) The conservative demagogues stayed quiet because they feared triggering a push to make life insurance income taxable which would destroy over half the estate plans in the country.

  • Ranter||

    Oh it doesn't matter. I was reading the announcement of this on a consumer site and in spite of the numbers or the facts or the obvious pandering, only about 3 of the 45 comments could recognize that it was an cheap play for credibility: The good moral president against all those nasty billionaires.

    Not a single one seems to know or care that the spending has insanely outpaced the income - they just want to drag the wealthy down and believe that will magically solve all the nation's financial woes.

    Christ.

  • hotsy totsy||

    Because they stupidly think that all the nation's financial woes are directly caused by the wealthy, who are just naturally greedy, selfish, and ungrateful to the average joe.

  • Jerryskids||

    1) Robert Reich, Krugman et al stayed quiet because they desperately need something that looks like the President - a scion of the establishment - is sticking it to the man.

    I believe you are mistaken there - both Reich and Krugman are vehemently opposed to the European austerity programmes - tax increases coupled with spending cuts.

    (Note - I haven't actually checked anything Krugman or Reich have written on the subject of tax increases since my doctor says the bleach is really damaging my eyes, so I am simply assuming that their opposition to austerity includes opposition to the tax increases as well as opposition to the cuts in government spending. Otherwise, one might suspect these learned gentlemen of intellectual dishonesty.)

  • wareagle||

    if POTUS is really in favor of fairness, perhaps he should start demanding that the growing looter class that has NO federal liable incur a little bit. Maybe if folks had skin in the game you would not see meaningless polls like the one in which folks favor millionaires paying higher taxes. Gee, folks in favor of something that has no immediate impact on them. Shocking.

  • o3||

    u mean payroll taxes aint taxes? no wonder the gop hates the 40% of the stim that was payroll tax cuts!

  • wareagle||

    if I have to explain the difference between income tax and payroll tax, you really should put up your iPhone and get back to class.

  • o3||

    "the growing looter class that has NO federal liable" (sic)
    _
    auburn's own words declare payroll taxes as "NO federal liable".
    _
    so 'splain that away

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    no wonder the gop hates the 40% of the stim that was payroll tax cuts!

    Um, no, 40% of the stimulus wasn't payroll tax cuts. They were a combination of payroll tax cuts and a boatload of tax credits (including the Making Work Pay credit, which was financed with government debt via bond sales), the latter of which is not the same thing.

  • o3||

    i agree on the bond-sale, tax credits so thanks for the info. but it remains a laughable overstatement (used by the radio educated) to state the payroll tax cuts were a failure. >poar wareagle

  • albo||

    It's almost as if President Obama never really cared whether or not the plan passed, and was more interested in using it as an election-year cudgel against his political opponents

    Your winnings, Capt. Renault.

  • Pro Libertate||

    The only solution--the only solution--is to cut spending drastically. The fact that no one is really suggesting that in government shows how little they care about the current and future status of our economy.

    Worse yet, it's not just the spending that needs to go away, because government intervention in the market is also a big problem.

    Instead, let's keep playing political games while the economy putters around.

  • albo||

    You can't cut spending because the majority of it is spent on geezers, and geezers vote.

    As an poll worker for a while now, it's insane to see how few young people show up to vote, except every 4 years during the presidential election. But the geezers show up to every election.

    If you're young or at least middle-aged, and you anticipate paying for Obama's spendorama for the next 50 years, then show up and vote every time.

  • Pro Libertate||

    We're fucked on so many levels. But there's a still a slight chance we'll reverse course. Most likely by accident.

  • The Overfiend||

    We'll reverse course by crashing and burning before reaching the original destination due to an unseen catastrophe.

    At least we can reboot more quickly then.

  • ||

    due to an unseen catastrophe

    shouldn't that be "unseen"?

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities." - -- Winston Churchill

    We can only hope.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I think there's a little left in the tank, we just need to wake the fuck up. A good portion of the population, though, is as parasitic as anything seen in Europe.

  • fried wylie||

    based on OWS, I'm not sure we want the youth voting either.

    Here's my proposal: everyone gets to vote when they're 42, not before, and not after. If your 42nd birthday doesn't fall on an election year, fuck you.

  • Joe R.||

    Everyone gets one vote. They get one additional vote for every $10000 they pay in taxes.

  • hotsy totsy||

    I like it! Plus the 42 year olds get jury duty too!

  • Joe R.||

    What's the point? Historically speaking, 95% of those young people will either vote for the Democrat who has promised old people everything, or the Republican who has promised old people everything.

  • Tim||

    A higher tax on investment income will also hit retired seniors hard. Gramps saved all his life and has left Granny a modest `0,000 nest egg from which she draws a living allowance.
    Suddenly Barack is raising taxes on the old girl because she's not paying the same rate as the home aid who changes her bedsheets.

  • Spartacus||

    Yeah, I came in here to say this. An honest discussion about raising capital gains and dividend rates would feature the fact that this will mostly impact retirement savings. Of course, there will be no honest discussion. Not in MY DC.

    Disclaimer: I have no argument for why capital gains and dividens should be taxed differently from other income, so a principled argument could be made that they should be taxed at the same rate as other income. We won't see anything like that, of course.

  • Tim||

    If Republicans stopped calling it the Buffet Rule and started calling it : "Obama's Granny Tax" they might get some traction.

  • Jerryskids||

    So S. 2059 is dead - let's see what happens to H.R. 3903.

    For those of you playing along, tax bills are Constitutionally required to originate in the House, so H.R. 3903 is the more important bill anyway. Last I checked, the odds on hearing a peep out of an Obama supporter about it before the election are 9-to-2 against.

  • ||

    It really makes sense when you think about it, LOL

  • Jerryskids||

    Ah, and now we see what the 'valid comment' thing is about. It filters out the spambot link but not the spambot itself.

  • Pip||

    Try again.

  • Ice Nine||

    But that didn't phase President Obama, who has been stumping for the policy in speeches across the country, and will apparently continue to do so.

    So I guess you would say that there will be a second faze of his effort then, right?

  • Pro Libertate||

    He fazes me. In phases.

  • Pro Libertate||

    With a phaser.

  • Ice Nine||

    Your second faze of my joke is fey.

  • Pro Libertate||

    A feyzer?

  • Ice Nine||

    Now you're just trying to save phace.

  • Pro Libertate||

    What? I'm engaged in a feis and can't read very well.

  • Ice Nine||

    Too much Bushmills?

  • Old Mexican||

    "President Obama says he will continue to push for the plan that would require millionaires to pay at least the same tax rate as middle class Americans


    You mean he wants millionaires to pay 5.6%?

  • hotsy totsy||

    At LEAST the same tax rate? How about "no more than" the same tax rate.
    Republicans could call it "Obama's millionaire maximum tax".

  • Citizen Nothing||

    So how much would a $1 per margarita tax raise?

  • fried wylie||

    not much, as long as those damn tax-evading home-margarita-machines are still legal.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    I'm solidly "middle class," but this is the first year I've had a net positive income tax rate in several years, mostly because we did an IRA to Roth conversion last year.
    Suckers.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    But if they pass the J.Buffett/margarita tax, all bets are off.

  • Brett L||

    If you come out ahead on the children/taxes wealth tradeoff, you're the first.

  • han||

    A very good article.

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