Republicans cry ‘class warfare’ over Obama tax plan

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (AP Photo/Dennis Cook)

Leading Republicans on Sunday spurned as “class warfare” an administration proposal dubbed “the Buffett rule” that would ensure millionaires are taxed at the same rate as the middle class.

President Barack Obama was expected to make the proposal on Monday, picking up on a repeated complaint by billionaire investor Warren Buffett that he pays taxes at a lower rate than his secretary, White House officials said.

“If he’s feeling guilty about it, I think he should send in a check,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told NBC’s “Meet the Press” of Buffett. “But we don’t want to stagnate this economy by raising taxes.

Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, dismissed the Buffett rule as “just a political move by the president.”

Increasing taxes on millionaires would add “a de minimis amount of money to the Treasury to pay off the debt,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union” talkshow.

“The tax code should be reformed for one purpose — generate jobs. When you say we’ll tax one percent of the economy, that’s class warfare,” said Graham, who called for reforms that would eliminate deductions and flatten income tax rates overall.

Echoing Graham, Representative Paul Ryan said the administration’s proposal was “going in the wrong direction.”

“Class warfare… may make for really good politics but it makes a rotten economics,” the Wisconsin Republican said on “Fox News Sunday.”

“We don’t need a system that seeks to divide people. We don’t need a system that seeks to prey on people’s fear, envy and anxiety.”

Some millionaires get a big break because investment gains — such as capital gains, dividends and “carried interest” compensation paid to investment managers and hedge fund partners — are taxed at a lower rate than wages.

They also only pay the Social Security payroll tax on the first $106,800 of their income, the cut-off point for the tax.

Buffett, one of the world’s richest men, has questioned the fairness of the system and suggested that the rich should be willing to pay more.

Obama will unveil the tax hike as part of a broader announcement at the White House on a long-term deficit reduction proposal.

He will not indicate a specific rate or provide other details such as how much revenue the plan would raise, according to The New York Times, which first reported the story.

A special joint congressional committee is working on a bipartisan budget deal due by late November amid a new row between Obama and Republican lawmakers over the president’s jobs bill, after Obama said he would finance the plan by ending tax breaks for oil and gas firms and individuals earning over $200,000.

Republicans have rejected the blueprint.

The millionaires’ rate would affect just 0.3 percent of taxpayers, or fewer than 450,000 of the some 144 million returns filed for 2010, according to the Times.

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7 Responses to "Republicans cry ‘class warfare’ over Obama tax plan"

  1. RoJo Hynes  September 19, 2011 at 10:35 am

    President Obama in my opinion is an arrogant, egotistical, arrogant, inept, thin-skinned and believe Marxist president, and has no clue how to run the country.
    He is a great talker, but full of B.S.

  2. Rick  September 19, 2011 at 1:13 pm

    Wish I could get hit with that millionaires tax.

  3. griff  September 19, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    If the rich were willing to pay more taxes, there’s nothing really stopping them from writing a fat check to the US Treasury. Let’s go Buffett, put your money where your mouth is and lead by example. Why wait for the government to force you to do some thing you can do voluntarily and immediately.

    I like how the debate has been switched from spending to taxes. Spending is the problem, not a lack of taxes. And income tax isn’t the only tax we pay.

    You want to tax the rich, then tax Wall Street transactions.

  4. Rick  September 19, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    Griff

    Here is Massachusetts we have the option of paying a higher state tax. LMAO! I think last year something like 700 did it and their median income was under 25K. Assumption being that most didn’t know what they were doing.

    http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=dorterminal&L=5&L0=Home&L1=Individuals+and+Families&L2=Personal+Income+Tax&L3=Current+Year+Tax+Information&L4=Guide+to+Personal+Income+Tax&sid=Ador&b=terminalcontent&f=dor_help_guides_abate_amend_personal_issues_ratestax&csid=A

  5. woody188  September 19, 2011 at 7:44 pm

    So if taxing the richest 1% is considered class warfare, what’s off-shoring the lower 99% jobs and pocketing the difference called?

    Adjusted for inflation, the top 1% make 20% more than they did 10 years ago, while the bottom 80% make about 5% less. Shouldn’t any extra tax come from those that have benefited from the last decade of expansion?

    I’m not saying taxes are the answer. But if they are to be increased, shouldn’t they be increased at the top first?

  6. Pondering It All  September 19, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    Taxing the 1% more on their capital gains may seem unfair, but let’s face it: They have ALL the money!

    You won’t get squat taxing the poor. The system has been rigged to drive all the money to that top 1%, for the last 20 or 30 years. And now we are to the point that the middle class is almost non-existant. Problem is, you can’t get an economic recovery without middle class confidence and spending.

    The current wories over the deficit say it all: If Congress just went home and stayed there for the next 10 years, the expiration of the Bush/Obama tax cuts would cure the deficit all by itself.

  7. Danny Adams  September 20, 2011 at 8:52 pm

    “This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes.”

    –Romans 13:6-7

    This is the sort of thing you find when you read the Bible instead of thumping it.

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