Technically, nothing prevents Warren Buffett and other “Patriotic Millionaires” from donating money to the federal government right now, but, as they continue to clamor for a higher tax rate for themselves and others, it’s easy to assume they don’t know that. Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) have introduced legislation to ensure they do:
Dubbed “The Buffett Rule Act of 2011,” the names of the bills take a mocking swipe at President Barack Obama’s own proposed “Buffet Rule,” which conversely would close tax code loopholes to ensure that Warren Buffett and those like him no longer pay a lower tax rate than their secretaries.
According to Thune, there is nothing stopping Buffett from paying more in taxes, and his legislation would streamline that capability.
“If individuals like Warren Buffett or President Obama are inclined to donate their own personal money towards paying down the federal government’s debt, they ought to have that right to do so voluntarily,” said Thune.
“This bill would make it easier for those wealthy individuals who feel they are currently under-taxed to pay more to the U.S. Treasury, above and beyond their current obligations, without raising taxes on America’s job creators.”
Basically, the Buffett Rule Act would require the IRS to include a line option on tax forms to donate money to the Treasury to pay down the deficit. This is a brilliant bit of point-making legislation on the part of Thune and Scalise, but it’s also rather sad we need it. What would be the cost of all new IRS forms just to underscore the hypocrisy of the ultra-rich who would rather chastise their peers than actually put their money where their mouths are? Don’t forget Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway already owes back taxes. Pointing out his do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do line has grown old. Make a massive donation now please, Mr. Buffett, just to prove you know you can.