Just a reminder: “Buffett Rule” that Obama won’t stop talking about is aimed mainly at around 400 taxpayers

posted at 6:49 pm on April 10, 2012 by Allahpundit

Via Sean Hackbarth. Remember, this gimmick is aimed at rich people who make most of their dough from capital gains, which of course are taxed at a lower rate than ordinary income in order to encourage investment. The idea is to make sure they’re paying as much federal tax as the average middle-class taxpayer is. You already know what an embarrassing sham that is in terms of deficit reduction — look no further than this graph — but how many rich people are we talking about here, exactly? Must be an awful lot to warrant a presidential speech on fiscal policy aimed squarely at this group. Watch the Bloomberg video below for the answer. Turns out that the vast, vast majority of the rich already pay tax rates in excess of the average middle-class rate of 15 percent. Depending upon how you calculate the effective federal rate, there are either 22,000 households (the White House’s number) across the span of the United States that make a million or more per year and pay 15 percent or less or just 4,000 households according to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. But among that sample, most of the potential revenue would come from the mega-rich at the very top, not the millionaire small-business owner. The White House’s numbers on them:

Of the 400 highest income Americans, one out of every three in this group of the most financially fortunate Americans paid less than 15 percent of their income in income taxes in 2008.

In other words, we’re talking here about a rule championed by the president of the United States and set for a vote in the U.S. Senate that’s targeting something like 130-135 households across the entire country. Which, incidentally, explains why the Buffett Rule would set a federal rate of 30 percent for millionaires, not the 15 percent needed to make sure they’re on par with John Q. Public, which is supposedly Obama’s big concern. If they set the minimum rate at 15 percent instead of 30, the already razor-thin amount of extra revenue they’re going to get out of this would all but vanish.

So yes, this is a total charade as a matter of serious fiscal policy, something that should be packaged as part of a “grand bargain” on entitlement reform to make the left happy rather than offered in isolation as a moronic “fairness” gambit. If Obama was 1/100th the “pragmatist problem-solver” that he claimed to be in 2008, he’d drop it now out of sheer embarrassment. But it does do three things politically for him, which explains why he took time for a speech about it. One: It’s an excuse to force a tough vote on the GOP. When they filibuster this in the Senate, Obama gets to roll out the “party of rich” messaging. Two: Reframing the tax debate in terms of “fairness” instead of revenue will help the Democrats later this year in their campaign to let the Bush tax cuts on the rich lapse. Unlike the Buffett Rule, that really would raise a bunch of revenue, but some voters may prefer the “fairness” logic in saddling the country’s job creators with an extra fiscal burden. Three: It’s a way to call attention to Romney’s wealth. Mitt paid an effective rate last year of 14 percent, which makes him an irresistible “Buffett Rule” talking point for Democrats for the next six months. (Never mind that his rate was reduced in part because of his great generosity to charity.) I always hoped we’d be lucky enough to nominate the guy whose health-care plan inspired Obama’s, but I never dreamed we’d be so lucky that the same guy would fit perfectly into their class-warfare narrative. Terrific.


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Bill of attainder?

CycloneCDB on April 10, 2012 at 6:54 PM

I was wondering about this. Seriously: how narrowly does a law have to be targeted in order to be unconstitutional on that ground?

jwolf on April 10, 2012 at 10:38 PM

Wait…..”financially fortunate Americans?”

So the White House thinks they’re all lotto winners or something?

Stu Gotts on April 10, 2012 at 10:39 PM

Well, I guess we can play along with the Democrats, since that always does us so much good.

“Yes, Romney is rich, undertaxed, and he was for mandates when mandates weren’t even cool — but he’s our man!”

Or we could stop letting the Democrats control the narrative in our minds. That’s where it has to start. If we wait for other people to validate what we know to be true, the Democrats will keep mopping the floor with us.

I’ll be the first to stand up and say it: Inequality isn’t unfair. Overregulation and corrupt government are unfair. Minorities and the poor are the hardest hit when jobs evaporate and the price of gasoline doubles. They are the hardest hit by welfare programs, illegal immigration, cronyism, and inflation. Out-of-control government holds them back. It discourages the small businesses with which the poor have traditionally vaulted themselves into the middle class. It makes big businesses into dependencies of the state, at the expense of the lower-middle-class taxpayer. It gives young people, who are typically poor compared to the middle-aged, a distorted and depressing view of life and its possibilities and rewards.

Out-of-control government is our problem. It is the biggest problem of America’s poor today. Mitt Romney may not really understand that, but you know, he won’t make it nearly as much worse as Obama would. Mitt’s our man!

J.E. Dyer on April 10, 2012 at 11:23 PM

Romney shouldn’t waste his time arguing against the Buffet rule. He should just ask Obama if that is the only idea that he has left.

ghostwriter on April 10, 2012 at 11:25 PM

I recall reading a blog recently where someone explained how Obama’s new regs that he wants for stock transactions would hurt small investors, and line the pockets of brokers and folks like Buffett who reap the benefits of a Wall St. bubble every time it happens, and continue to make money in a bear market. Can’t find the link, but this capital gains situation would kinda do the same thing, hurt smaller investors, while the big boys like Buffett could move their investments around to avoid paying higher capital gains. Same for income taxes, in fact I find it ironic Obama was in Florida to talk up his Buffett taxes, a state considered a tax haven for, well, anybody, but especially for the rich because they don’t have an income tax, and property taxes are a little lower than NJ, NY, etc.

Basically, all these new regs and taxes would hurt us little folk, while the Buffetts and Obamas of the country can move their investments around to avoid paying the taxes us rubes pay.

franciscodanconia on April 10, 2012 at 11:26 PM

Basically, all these new regs and taxes would hurt us little folk, while the Buffetts and Obamas of the country can move their investments around to avoid paying the taxes us rubes pay.

franciscodanconia on April 10, 2012 at 11:26 PM

Of course pretty much all the legislation Obama & the Democrat congress passed is to reward their supporters – plutocracy. Obamacare is corporatism to align the insurance industry with government.

Make no mistake this “Buffet rule” is for Soros. Nearly a super-majority of “global investors” support the rule.

If we had a real media in this country they would expose Obama for his cronism and the mega-Teapot Dome he has created.

batterup on April 10, 2012 at 11:41 PM

I was wondering about this. Seriously: how narrowly does a law have to be targeted in order to be unconstitutional on that ground?

jwolf on April 10, 2012 at 10:38 PM

I always understood that meant laws couldn’t target individuals and that was basically it. The Founders put that in because of what had happened to more than a few people in merry olde England.

MelonCollie on April 10, 2012 at 11:43 PM

Why is it that Sketchy isn’t on record blasting 0bama for this?

I guess liberals don’t like attacking 0bama.

DannoJyd on April 11, 2012 at 12:04 AM

I always hoped we’d be lucky enough to nominate the guy whose health-care plan inspired Obama’s, but I never dreamed we’d be so lucky that the same guy would fit perfectly into their class-warfare narrative. Terrific.

lol AP u crack me up

DBear on April 11, 2012 at 1:05 AM

Am I crazy to say lets just attach some stuff we want to this POS and just pass it?

bictech on April 11, 2012 at 5:18 AM

Under Obamaism, we will ultimately end up with only three classes:

The Ruling Class (Democrat politicians)
The Connected Class (those ALLOWED to be wealthy because of political connections)
The Dependent Class (everyone else)

Remember, in Marxist doctrine the middle class is seen AS AN EVIL.

wildcat72 on April 11, 2012 at 7:42 AM

I think the # is 4,000 not 400…

mjbrooks3 on April 11, 2012 at 7:43 AM

I always understood that meant laws couldn’t target individuals and that was basically it. The Founders put that in because of what had happened to more than a few people in merry olde England.

MelonCollie on April 10, 2012 at 11:43 PM

I would argue that any law that treats some Americans differently than other Americans is discriminatory and violates the Equal Protection clause.

This would include “progressive” taxation where some pay higher rates than others.

wildcat72 on April 11, 2012 at 7:51 AM

Nuance or Nuisance?

vityas on April 11, 2012 at 8:14 AM

I always hoped we’d be lucky enough to nominate the guy whose health-care plan inspired Obama’s, but I never dreamed we’d be so lucky that the same guy would fit perfectly into their class-warfare narrative. Terrific.

Allahpundit

This is just lazy writing here.

First of all, you have been behind Romney all the way. Second, you know damn well that Obama will find a way to attack any of our candidates. Palin the snowbilly, Santorum the religious nut, Gingrich the unfaithful…etc.

fossten on April 11, 2012 at 8:18 AM

When we consider that the so-called Buffett rule wouldn’t amount to a drop in the bucket on what we spend, this is nothing but Redistribution of Wealth. HOW can Barack Obama deny that he’s a Socialist?

Murf76 on April 11, 2012 at 8:38 AM

How Ironic (& MORONIC) is it that Obama calls this legislation, that is designed to ‘make sure people pay their fair share’, is named for a Billionaire Obama campaign donor who reportedly owes nearly $1 Billion in back taxes?!

easyt65 on April 11, 2012 at 8:42 AM

I see someone already beat me to the “Bill of Attainder” issue. Is there anything Obama does/tries that isn’t a flagrant middle finger to the Constitution?

D.GOOCH

DGOOCH on April 11, 2012 at 8:50 AM

Soon it will be “unpatriotic” to leave. Or you will be prevented. The history of these horrors are well documented and we are well into the script.

Good Luck, Comrade

Bulletchaser on April 10, 2012 at 10:12 PM

There’s an alternate way to “flee” state control, and that’s simply to give up, to stop producing entirely. That step, once it becomes entrenched as a cultural norm (as it did in the Soviet Union) is almost impossible to reverse. That’s when it becomes smart statecraft to introduce cheap vodka.

Burke on April 11, 2012 at 8:59 AM

We are seriously to the point where representatives from all 50 states are being paid to write legislation that targets 400 Americans in an attempt to squeeze enough in more taxes from them to cover approximately, what – one fourth, one fifth (being extremely optimistic) of what Obama is adding to the national debt/spending this year? If this actually works, we won’t get the nation back in the black, but we will hold off massive eventual economic collapse by a month or two down the road. Way to go, Barry! Instead of doing that line of coke you probably should have gone to Economics class that day in college!

easyt65 on April 11, 2012 at 9:01 AM

I was wondering about this. Seriously: how narrowly does a law have to be targeted in order to be unconstitutional on that ground?

jwolf on April 10, 2012 at 10:38 PM

A bill of attainder can be targeted at a group, rather than an individual, and still be a bill of attainder and, thus, unconstitutional. However, it has to be related to a criminal matter to be a bill of attainder. Imposing a tax would not qualify. Y’know, unless the courts are in the mood to go into their “make crap up” mode.

Shump on April 11, 2012 at 9:08 AM

Enjoy! This came this morning:
I am tired of all the e-mails stating that the President hasn’t accomplished anything.
So, in rebuttal, I offer this impressive list of accomplishments!
• First President to apply for college aid as a foreign student, then deny he was a foreigner.
• First President to have a social security number from a state he has never lived in.
• First President to preside over a cut to the credit-rating of the United States
• First President to violate the War Powers Act.
• First President to be held in contempt of court for illegally obstructing oil drilling in the Gulf of Mexico.
• First President to defy a Federal Judge’s court order to cease implementing the Health Care Reform Law.
• First President to require all Americans to purchase a product from a third party.
• First President to spend a trillion dollars on ‘shovel-ready’ jobs when there was no such thing as a, ‘shovel-ready’ job.
• First President to abrogate bankruptcy law to turn over control of companies to his union supporters.
• First President to by-pass Congress and implement the Dream Act through executive fiat. …
• First President to order a secret amnesty program that stopped the deportation of illegal immigrants across the U.S.—including those with criminal convictions.
• First President to demand a company hand-over $20 billion to one of his political appointees.
• First President to terminate America’s ability to put a man in space.
• First President to have a law signed by an auto-pen without being present.
• First President to arbitrarily declare an existing law unconstitutional, and refuse to enforce it.
• First President to threaten insurance companies if they publicly spoke-out on the reasons for their rate increases.
• First President to tell a major manufacturing company in which state it is allowed to locate a factory.
• First President to file lawsuits against the states he swore an oath to protect (AZ, WI, OH, IN).
• First President to withdraw an existing coal permit that had been properly issued years ago.
• First President to fire an inspector general of AmeriCorps for catching one of his friends in a corruption case.
• First President to appoint 45 czars to replace elected officials in his office. …
• First President to golf 73 separate times in his first two and a half years in office (90 to date).
• First President to hide his medical, educational and travel records.
• First President to win a Nobel Peace Prize for doing NOTHING to earn it.
• First President to go on multiple global ‘apology tours.’
• First President to go on 17 lavish vacations, including date-nights and Wednesday evening White House parties for friends—paid for by the taxpayer.
• First President to have 22 personal servants (taxpayer funded) for his wife.
• First President to keep a dog trainer on retainer for $102,000 a year at taxpayer expense.
• First President to quote, verbally, the Holy Qur’an, and tell us the early morning call of the Azan (Islamic call to worship) is “the most beautiful sound on earth.”
• First President to take a 17-day vacation.
. First President to forgive private mortgages and
make taxpayers pay for them.
Impressed?

Bambi on April 11, 2012 at 9:43 AM

I always understood that meant laws couldn’t target individuals and that was basically it. The Founders put that in because of what had happened to more than a few people in merry olde England.

MelonCollie on April 10, 2012 at 11:43 PM

I would argue that any law that treats some Americans differently than other Americans is discriminatory and violates the Equal Protection clause.

This would include “progressive” taxation where some pay higher rates than others.

wildcat72 on April 11, 2012 at 7:51 AM

And then there is always Article 1, Sec 8, Clause 1:

“The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;”

Mitoch55 on April 11, 2012 at 10:07 AM

Let’s not forget cap gains come from capital that has already had income taxes paid on it. Add that to the calculation.

Second, it sounds like you’re talking about gross income. You need to talk about taxable income – quite different.

In a small business, you need to deduct the expenses, depreciation, etc. to arrive at taxable income. Then calculate the tax rate. You can’t compare the taxes paid to gross income – that’s silly and meaningless.

If you’re using taxable income fine. Are you?

Pablo Snooze on April 11, 2012 at 10:08 AM

How to shut him up on the Buffet rule:

Just have Mitt explain it, note how little it would generate. He could say, “President Obama says that Warren Buffet and Bill Gates don’t need the money. Of course they don’t need it. But who would YOU trust to use this money to create jobsWarren Buffet or President Obama? Bill Gates or THIS administration? I’m confident that, just like me, the American People would bet on Buffet and Gates.

EconomicNeocon on April 11, 2012 at 10:52 AM

One thing about the rich, they hire a lot of help and use a lot of services. In other words they create jobs. Those jobs may be a personal trainer, a gardener, a financial adviser, or many other personal services.

On the other hand if they are entrepreneurs they will hire many more people to be designers, they may contract with a manufacturer, hire sales staff, administration staff, and many many more. All should be happy that the rich are rich. They are the ones that provide jobs, not the government.

Government is a net drag on the economy. The more government spends the worse off the whole economy is.

Dasher on April 11, 2012 at 12:14 PM

Listening to Rush and ROFL at what B.O. said with his “group” of secretaries that want to pay more taxes. What a tool!!

bluefox on April 11, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Bambi on April 11, 2012 at 9:43 AM

Bambi, if that list doesn’t motivate everyone to vote Republican in November, then nothing will.

bluefox on April 11, 2012 at 12:43 PM

So stop fighting against the rule then.

Uppereastside on April 10, 2012 at 6:55 PM
Just how stupid are you? That’s not a rhetorical question, either. Have you had it measured?

Chuck Schick on April 10, 2012 at 6:56 PM

Figure he’s somewhere between 70-80. Smart enough to blindly parrot the marxist line but not quite bright enough to live independently or to be able to wipe himself after dropping a load in his pants.

The irony is that once he’s outlives his usefullness as a party mouthpiece he’ll be exterminated just like all totalitarian regimes do to the feeble minded.

acyl72 on April 12, 2012 at 7:55 AM

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