GOP WAR ON THE MIDDLE CLASS: In her bid to unseat Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA), consumer advocate Elizabeth Warren is keeping up her populist message, with a new ad out today that notes she “grew up in a family hanging on by our finger tips to a place in the middle class.” It goes on to hit Washington for “let[ting] big corporations like GE pay nothing — zero — in taxes while kids are left drowning in debt to get an education.” The ad comes after Brown joined Senate Republicans in filibustering the Buffett Rule, and in the midst of new reports showing perilously high student loan debtposing a threat to the economy. Watch the ad:
A REPUBLICAN congressional candidate in Iowa told a TEA PARTY audience yesterday that PRESIDENT OBAMA does not love his country because he supports raising taxes on millionaires. […] After distorting how much revenue the proposed Buffett Rule, which raises taxes on millionaires, would bring in, Dan Dolan used the president’s support for the measure as evidence that he is unpatriotic. “I have a hard time thinking that he loves this country if he’s willing to turn them against themselves for his own advancement…” […] a new CNN poll this week found that 72 percent of Americans — including 53 percent of Republicans — support the Buffett Rule. We called Dolan’s campaign to inquire whether he also believes that the three out of every four Americans, and a majority of those in his own party, don’t love their country. We will post their response if one is provided. [Iowa GOP candidate doubts that Obama ‘loves this country’ because of Buffett Rule]
Which reminded me of this:
Bill Maher: Save our children (if you won’t save our richest one percent, who will?)
SEN. HARRY REID: Buffett Rule Is A Path Toward Economic Fairness
BUFFETT RULE: Democrats Vow To Keep Pushing Millionaire Tax Despite Expected Failure – Democrats found McConnell’s positions disingenuous, arguing that a GOP-waged filibuster would be the only reason for the Buffett Rule’s failure. “All of their arguments just don’t stand up because they’re so afraid of this issue,” [Chuck] Schumer said. “Are they for it or against it? They say, ‘Well, it won’t pass.’ It won’t pass because they are opposed to it,” he said, adding that Republicans are the ones guilty of chicanery. “The gimmick is when they block something and say, ‘Let’s not pay attention to it because we won’t let it pass,” Schumer said. “If they think fairness is a gimmick, if they think that having people pay their fair share is a gimmick, then they’re just completely out of touch with the American people.” […] Schumer vowed to keep bringing the Buffett Rule back until Republicans give in, the way they did on the payroll tax cut fight. “We’ll keep pushing this issue all year long, and we think we’ll pick up more and more Republicans,” Schumer said. He added that the idea is not just to score campaign points, but to show people that Democrats are more in line with them on tax policy, and to ultimately pass the bill.
‘Buffett Rule’ Debate Blocked by Republicans (or when a majority vote isn’t really a majority) – But the fierce debate preceding the 51-45 vote — the Democrats were nine votes short of the 60 they needed — set off a week of political wrangling over taxes that both parties insist they are already winning. Senate Democrats intend to return repeatedly to the legislation, named after the billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who has complained that he pays a lower effective tax rate than his secretary. On Thursday, House Republicans will counter with a proposed tax cut for businesses that they say would spur job creation but would cost the Treasury almost exactly what the Democrats’ tax increase would raise. […] Democrats said they saw that as a sign of weakness. Pointing to a Gallup poll from last week that indicated 60 percent of Americans supported the proposal, including 63 percent of political independents, Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, called the Republican response “proof positive” that “for first time in decades, maybe generations, they’re on the defensive on their signature issue,” taxes. After he made that comment, a CNN poll was released putting support at 72 percent, including 53 percent of Republicans.
“Tonight, Senate Republicans voted to block the Buffett Rule, choosing once again to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest few Americans at the expense of the middle class. The Buffett Rule is common sense. At a time when we have significant deficits to close and serious investments to make to strengthen our economy, we simply cannot afford to keep spending money on tax cuts that the wealthiest Americans don’t need and didn’t ask for. But it’s also about basic fairness—it’s just plain wrong that millions of middle-class Americans pay a higher share of their income in taxes than some millionaires and billionaires. One of the fundamental challenges of our time is building an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules. And I will continue to push Congress to take steps to not only restore economic security for the middle class and those trying to reach the middle class, but also to create an economy that’s built to last.” – President Obama in a statement on Monday’s vote
Obama likely paid higher tax rate than Romney in 2011 – Obama also pays a slightly lower rate than his own secretary, the White House said. “The tax code should not (be) written in a way that allows for the wealthiest Americans to pay taxes at a lower rate than middle-class Americans,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said. The Democratic-controlled Senate plans a Monday vote on the Buffett rule, one day before the U.S. tax-filing deadline. Americans favor the rule by 60 percent to 37 percent, according to a Gallup poll released on Friday. […] A Romney spokeswoman called the tax debate an attempt by Obama to distract attention from the slow pace of job creation on his watch.Romney himself said the Buffett rule and other tax increases proposed by the White House were an “assault on economic freedom.”
The Buffett Rule is not raising a tax, it’s closing a loophole. It’s a quirk of the tax code that certain millionaires who enjoy private-equity riches pay a lower tax rate than middle-class families, and approving the Buffett Rule would not only mean establishing a degree of fairness, it would also mean scrapping this loophole. The point is not lost on President Obama, who made this observation on Wednesday: “I’d just point out that the Buffett Rule is something that will get us moving in the right direction towards fairness, towards economic growth. It will help us close our deficit and it’s a lot more specific than anything that the other side has proposed so far.” [emphasis added] In other words, where Paul Ryan is vague and evasive, Obama is being direct and specific. The president is identifying actual loopholes he wants to see closed (Buffett Rule, corporate-jet loophole, tax subsidies for oil companies), which would total tens of billions of dollars in the coming decade. Meanwhile Republican leaders talk about loopholes, but choose not to back this talk up with anything substantive. [Maddow Blog]
Beyond a Buffett Rule, the Obama We’ve Been Waiting For – Later, in the speech, he sharpened his criticism of the Republican embrace of zombie-eyed granny-starving to a sharper point, daring the GOP to produce a list of things they would actually cut to make the pixie-dust math of the Ryan budget actually work. “They won’t do it,” he told the crowd, “because they know, if they do, they’ll lose.” This appeal to honesty and political courage likely will fall on deaf ears, alas. (How do I know this? Because of an interview that zombie-eyed granny-starver Paul Ryan gave to the Christian Broadcasting Network in which he spectacularly attempted to wedge zombie-eyed granny-starving into the Gospels: “A person’s faith is central to how they conduct themselves in public and in private,” Ryan said in an interview released on Tuesday by the Christian Broadcasting Network. “So to me, using my Catholic faith, we call it the social magisterium, which is how do you apply the doctrine of your teaching into your everyday life as a lay person.” First of all, he doesn’t know what in the hell he’s talking about. The social magisterium of the Church is a lot of things, but consonant with supply-side trickle-down economics is definitely not one of them, no matter how hard the crowd at First Things tries to make it so.
President Obama Makes the Case for the Buffett Rule – Instead of giving more than a trillion dollars in tax breaks to the very wealthiest Americans—those who make more than $250,000 a year—we need to be investing in the things like education and research and health care. These are the same investments we’ve been making for generations because they lead to strong, broad based economic growth that helps everyone, as the President explained: “What drags our entire economy down is when the benefits of economic growth and productivity go only to the few, which is what’s been happening for over a decade now, and gap between those at the very, very top and everybody else keeps growing wider and wider and wider and wider.” The fact is, the share of our national income going to the top 1 percent of earners is as high as it’s been since the 1920s. And those same people are paying taxes at one of the lowest rates in 50 years. To address this imbalance in our tax system, President Obama has proposed the Buffett Rule, based on the simple idea that people who make more than $1 million each year pay at least the same share of their income in taxes as middle-class families do…
Rep. Baldwin calls for House to vote on ‘Buffett Rule’ tax for millionaires – Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) on Monday urged leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives to bring her legislation to the floor to enact the so-called Buffett Rule. […] Republicans have condemned the proposed rule as class warfare and it is unlikely to pass in the GOP-led House of Representatives. Nearly all House Republicans have sworn to fight any and all tax increases. But Baldwin said the American people “deserve to know where their Representatives stand” on this “critical” issue. “Our current tax code has been influenced by powerful special interests and includes loopholes and special provisions that allow approximately a quarter of all millionaires to pay lower effective tax rates than millions of middle class families,” she explained. Approximately 94,500 millionaires pay a lower effective tax rate than millions of families earning less than $100,000, according to the Congressional Research Service (PDF). Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has announced that the Senate will vote on the legislation on April 16, tax day.
Obama will talk about taxes in Florida on Tuesday when he delivers a speech in support of the “Buffett Rule,” a measure to insure a 30 percent tax on income over $1 million earned by wealthy Americans. Vice President Joe Biden will travel to the battleground state of New Hampshire on Thursday also to discuss taxes. The Obama campaign sees the issue as a weak point for Romney, a former private equity executive and ex-governor of Massachusetts. “Middle class families are taking it on the chin right now and they don’t see others doing their fair share,” Wisconsin Democratic congresswoman Tammy Baldwin said in a conference call set up by the Obama campaign. On April 16, the Senate will take up the “Buffett Rule” although it is unlikely to be approved as Democrats lack the 60 votes needed to bring the issue to a full vote. [Reuters]
New numbers prove the “Buffett Rule”: One quarter of U.S. millionaires pay a smaller share of their income in federal taxes than do 10 million families with moderate incomes, according to nonpartisan Congressional Research Service.
The report found that when all federal taxes are taken into account, households that earned more than $1 million in 2006 paid as little as 24 percent to the IRS. Families making less than $100,000 a year faced a tax rate exceeding 26.5 percent.
But remember: the Republican Teaparty wants more tax cuts for the wealthy. Vote accordingly.