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Obama’s solution: Tax the rich

By ALISTER BULL
September 18, 2011

REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

President Barack Obama, in a populist gesture designed to appeal to voters, will propose a “Buffett Tax” on people making more than $1 million a year as part of his deficit recommendations to Congress on Monday.

Such a proposal, among suggestions to a congressional Super Committee expected to seek up to $3 trillion in deficit savings over 10 years, would appeal to his Democratic base ahead of the 2012 election but likely not raise much in revenues.

White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said in a tweet on Saturday the tax would act as “a kind of AMT” (Alternative Minimum Tax) aimed at ensuring millionaires pay at least as much tax as middle-class families.

The “Buffett Tax” refers to billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who wrote earlier this year that rich people like him often pay less in tax than those who work for them due to loopholes in the taxcode, and can afford to pay more.

Obama will lay out his recommendations in White House Rose Garden remarks at 10.30 am on Monday and is expected to urge steps to raise tax revenue as well as cuts in spending.

But Congress is at liberty to ignore his suggestions and

Republicans, who control the House of Representatives, have said that they will not agree to tax hikes.

The super committee of six Democrat and six Republican lawmakers must find at least $1.2 trillion in deficit savings before the end of the year to avoid painful automatic cuts, and is mandated to seek savings of up to $1.5 trillion.

These savings are on top of $917 billion in deficit reduction agreed in an August deal to raise the debt limit and Obama wants it to go further.

He has separately urged it to consider $450 billion in tax increases on top of this goal to pay for a jobs bill that he unveiled earlier this month.

The Buffett Tax could help energize Obama’s base by highlighting a feature of the tax code that allows the super rich to pay lower rates of tax less wealthy Americans

because the bulk of their income is capital gains, dividends and the ‘carried interest’ earnings of hedge fund managers.

This is taxed at 15 percent, compared to rates of 10 to 35 percent on straightforward income.

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8 Responses to Obama’s solution: Tax the rich

  1. griff

    September 18, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Tax every financial transaction on Wall Street.

    • Carl Nemo **==

      September 18, 2011 at 12:07 pm

      A capital idea griff…! : )

      Carl Nemo **==

  2. Sandune

    September 18, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Question. When President Bush 43 changed our tax structure through his bills, did he submit them as “a proposal?”

    Yes, indeed, Griff, tax all transactions until our debt is reduced. I fear President Obama be a tad weak in his proposals.

    We must realize that unless he wins in 2016, we will be under the control of the Perry Religious Right.

  3. Rick

    September 18, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Then you have the loopholes that allow 50% to pay no taxes at all.

    • Jon

      September 19, 2011 at 2:03 am

      I imagine they don’t pay tax when they buy gasoline, then, Rick?

  4. Sandune

    September 18, 2011 at 1:26 pm

    Legally, how can this be corrected? I can’t imagine Roosevelt or Truman sitting back and allowing this crap to continue

    • Jon

      September 19, 2011 at 2:06 am

      One could tax capital gains at a higher rate than income.

  5. Tom

    September 18, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    I read where the average hold on a stock is about 22 seconds due the automatic electronic trades. Can you imagine the taxes that could be obtained with the added benefit of correcting the market. It might have a positive appeal to the average person knowing they are not being had by a super computer.