Video: Did the White House fudge the numbers on the Buffett Rule?

posted at 1:56 pm on April 20, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

The White House offered a white-board presentation on the need for the Buffett Rule, the surtax on the uber-rich — a term actually used by the White House in its presentation — that claimed that the effective federal tax rates on the wealthiest Americans falls slightly below that paid by teachers and cops.  As Douglas Holtz-Eakin points out in this clip, however, a review of these cases shows a much lower income-tax rate in all of these categories except for the uber-rich.  Why?  As Fox News’ Jim Angle reports, that’s because the White House didn’t disclose that they added in Social Security and Medicare taxes:

With the executive system we didn’t come up with 16%, we got 7%. And when we look at the teacher and the cop, we couldn’t get 19%, we got 10% and finally when we got to our doctor not 23…16%. And if you will notice, that looks like tax fairness.  7,10,16,18. More income you have, higher your tax rate.

Why shouldn’t the FICA taxes be counted?  Those funds go to the government-mandated retirement accounts and health-insurance coverages whose benefits and payouts are capped.  Because the government (and both political parties) are determined to maintain the pretense that Social Security and Medicare are not welfare programs, the contributions are linked to the capped payouts, which means that any income over a certain level becomes exempt from FICA taxes.  The explanation is that the wealthiest Americans are entitled to no more than the capped benefit amounts, so forcing them to pay over the capped contribution amounts would transform these programs into wealth-redistribution welfare programs.

Whether you buy that nonsense or not, that’s the way the program is structured.  Its progressivism is built into the distribution of benefits, not the seizure of capital, as in the income tax system.  That’s why the White House argument is equally nonsensical.  If the issue is that FICA contributions are capped, then raise or eliminate the caps, and deal with the political fallout of making Social Security and Medicare explicitly welfare systems.  The income tax system is already sufficiently progressive — in fact, it’s overly progressive, considering that around 40% of Americans don’t pay anything at all.

The most nonsensical part of this entire debate?  We’ve been arguing for months over a proposal that would seize capital in a stagnant economy from those who have succeeded in using it, as a means to add $4.7 billion in revenue a year at best while spending $3800 billion, with a deficit of over $1000 billion this year.  That’s as intelligent and useful as the Ate Vs Crate Dog Wars.


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Why did the scorpion sting the frog? They’re liberals and Democrats and they lie. That’s their nature.

Oldnuke on April 20, 2012 at 2:00 PM

0′s administration fudging numbers, no way! /

Bmore on April 20, 2012 at 2:01 PM

Community organizing and class warfare does not necessarily have to make sense…it is meant to incite action.

d1carter on April 20, 2012 at 2:01 PM

The Healthcare numbers were solid…

PatriotRider on April 20, 2012 at 2:03 PM

Why would they fudge the numbers…???…

PatriotRider on April 20, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Those fargin sneaky bastiges!

pain train on April 20, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Ed, I love the word ‘fudge’ for a down right lie out of the buffett rule! Class war was the goal outta bho/team for that bill!
L

letget on April 20, 2012 at 2:05 PM

“Buffet Rule”—–Shiny Object

“Contraception”—Shiny Object

“War on Women”—-Shiny Object

“Sandra Fluke”—-Shiny Object

“Dog on Car”——Shiny Object

“CookieGate”——Shiny Object

I dunno….

…I think I see a theme emerging from the GATES OF HELL Re-Elect campaign at the White House.

ANYTHING to not talk about Jobs / Gas Prices / The Economy / Deficits / ObamaCare, etc.

PappyD61 on April 20, 2012 at 2:06 PM

It was an honest mistake – they just mixed up the ‘BUFFETT RULE’ numbers with Moochelle’s ‘ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT-BUFFET rule’ numbers.

Pork-Chop on April 20, 2012 at 2:06 PM

Fica Gate.

upinak on April 20, 2012 at 2:06 PM

That IS nonsense; both programs have been generational welfare programs for decades. Check any SS office; they’re NOT full of old people. They are full of ‘disabled’ (about have of which really aren’t to the point of being unable to work). and kids- dependents on benefits. NOT the intended purpose of Social Security.

michaelo on April 20, 2012 at 2:06 PM

Shocked,SHOCKED!!!!!!

docflash on April 20, 2012 at 2:07 PM

Figures lie and liars figure!

The thing that still pisses me off about the Buffett Rule is that Buffett is fighting to NOT pay hundreds of millions in taxes, while he complains that he isn’t paying ENOUGH in taxes! He needs to be pistol whipped!

Star20 on April 20, 2012 at 2:08 PM

Well I can see the problem right off. They are using a table. This administration is much more engaged when things are bracketed and end up with a final four options.

Happy Nomad on April 20, 2012 at 2:10 PM

It’s simple.

FICA and Social Security withholdings are taxes for the general government spending, and the outlays are welfare programs… right this second for this argument.

Now if you look at cutting them, or adjusting them, or altering them. Then they’re individual style accounts where people “invest” and not at all like taxes, quit calling them taxes!

But they’re taxes when we nee to show poor people paying a lot in taxes… then they’re totally taxes and nothing else!

They change whether or not it’s a tax depending on what helps their current argument. Just like the Obamacare fines that are taxes except they aren’t taxes they’re fines until we need them to be taxes then they’re not fines they’re taxes… except when they aren’t.

gekkobear on April 20, 2012 at 2:12 PM

I cant believe the media weren’t all over this.

forest on April 20, 2012 at 2:12 PM

That IS nonsense; both programs have been generational welfare programs for decades. Check any SS office; they’re NOT full of old people. They are full of ‘disabled’ (about have of which really aren’t to the point of being unable to work). and kids- dependents on benefits. NOT the intended purpose of Social Security.

michaelo on April 20, 2012 at 2:06 PM

Within the past two or three days, The Wall Street Journal had a column on the expansion of SSDI in the past two decades. Congress has so expanded the definition of disability, lactose intolerance could end up on the list in the near future. (sarc) Each of the expansions alone, don’t do the trick, but these freeloaders can aggregate them into a disability that gets them a check that makes it worth their while.

Safety net is one thing. Hammock is another. Congress must demand that all these things be pruned back to those who can’t help themselves. Period.

BuckeyeSam on April 20, 2012 at 2:13 PM

Will Bob Beckel drop the f-bomb? “Mmmmm!Fudge!” chortles Bob.

BHO Jonestown on April 20, 2012 at 2:13 PM

does a muslim get 72 vestial virgins for blowing up a busload of infidels?

acyl72 on April 20, 2012 at 2:15 PM

The Dems/libs/MSM are trying to convince the electorate that SS and Medicare payroll taxes are no different from income taxes.

farsighted on April 20, 2012 at 2:16 PM

Video: Did the White House fudge the numbers on the Buffett Rule?

…Huh!…Wha…What…huuuh?…Do some people eat dog?

KOOLAID2 on April 20, 2012 at 2:19 PM

So Obama will lie and the MSM except for Fox will let him get away with it. And many Americans will be duped. Now I’m nervous like Allah after a new poll.

magicbeans on April 20, 2012 at 2:19 PM

Breaking News: Dog bites man.

GaltBlvnAtty on April 20, 2012 at 2:20 PM

Ed,

Such harsh words.

You called it ‘fudging the numbers’, they called it ‘creating the right narratives’. Never let numbers confusing a good story. (Twinkle Toes, paraphrasing)

Sir Napsalot on April 20, 2012 at 2:21 PM

Here’s a “fair” thought. You don’t pay taxes, you don’t vote.

GarandFan on April 20, 2012 at 2:24 PM

ANYTHING to not talk about Jobs / Gas Prices / The Economy / Deficits / ObamaCare, etc.

PappyD61 on April 20, 2012 at 2:06 PM

Have you noticed one other thing that all these attempts to distract have in common? They haven’t worked! In fact they’ve failed miserably. My theory is that all the dog jokes in the world are forgotten when it takes $70 to fill up the gas tank, you know people who have been out of work for over a year, and everytime you turn on the news the President is off on yet another vacation.

Happy Nomad on April 20, 2012 at 2:25 PM

Dirty lying liars and the lies they tell!!

NJ Red on April 20, 2012 at 2:25 PM

Fudged, but accurate.

- Dan Rather

DOOF on April 20, 2012 at 2:26 PM

Obama’s mentor Alinsky instructs …

“Is this manipulation?” asked Alinsky. “Certainly,” he answered instantly. But it was manipulation toward a desirable end

faraway on April 20, 2012 at 2:29 PM

The good news is that government expansion at this rate literally cannot go on forever. The bad news …I don’t want to think about.

Fenris on April 20, 2012 at 2:30 PM

Hmmmm…fudged numbers…white board…

Raaaaacccccissssst !!!

singlemalt 18 on April 20, 2012 at 2:30 PM

Wow, the WretchedHive fudged the numbers–breaking news if I ever heard it! Oh, and it’s all seizure of capital.

stukinIL4now on April 20, 2012 at 2:30 PM

Zimmerman out on bail…I know it’s O/T but I don’t do this too often…

jimver on April 20, 2012 at 2:31 PM

I want Martin Bashir on it. NOW !!

Jabberwock on April 20, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Why did the scorpion sting the frog? They’re liberals and Democrats and they lie. That’s their nature.

Oldnuke on April 20, 2012 at 2:00 PM

That’s the name of their game: Lies at any cost regardless of the outcome…never, ever tell the truth if it will hurt your side. Ever. So never believe anything a democrat/liberal/progressive/socialist says about anything ever…

chai on April 20, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Happy Nomad on April 20, 2012 at 2:25 PM

vacation, sure, but how about his 103rd game of golf….or is it 220th?

chai on April 20, 2012 at 2:34 PM

Great, you caught them in another lie…so now what?
Do you really think that the public can discern when a lie is exposed?
The mere mention of anything with % or numbers, and the population goes numb…if you asked every democrat voter what the square root of 36 is, I would bet 85% would just stare at you, 5% would know, and the other 10% would think its a new kind of green energy saving plant with square roots.

right2bright on April 20, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Safety net is one thing. Hammock is another. Congress must demand that all these things be pruned back to those who can’t help themselves. Period.

BuckeyeSam on April 20, 2012 at 2:13 PM

I sense the makings of a great bumper sticker here … similar to the food stamp vs. paycheck line.

toby11 on April 20, 2012 at 2:37 PM

Here’s one city’s solution to falling tax revenues: charge business owners a tax to pay their taxes!!

A Fee To Pay Your Taxes?

PattyJ on April 20, 2012 at 2:39 PM

More umlaut in über, please.

bandarlog on April 20, 2012 at 2:41 PM

“Buffet Rule”—–Shiny Object

“Contraception”—Shiny Object

“War on Women”—-Shiny Object

“Sandra Fluke”—-Shiny Object

“Dog on Car”——Shiny Object

“CookieGate”——Shiny Object

I dunno….

…I think I see a theme emerging from the GATES OF HELL Re-Elect campaign at the White House.

ANYTHING to not talk about Jobs / Gas Prices / The Economy / Deficits / ObamaCare, etc.

PappyD61 on April 20, 2012 at 2:06 PM

“If you don’t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from. You make a big election about small things.”

– Presidential Nominee Barack Obama, 2008

Resist We Much on April 20, 2012 at 2:46 PM

More umlaut in über, please.

bandarlog on April 20, 2012 at 2:41 PM

Hey, some of us are umlaut-intolerant.

Happy Nomad on April 20, 2012 at 2:46 PM

0′s administration fudging numbers, no way! /

Bmore on April 20, 2012 at 2:01 PM

Way, dude! Like, calling Captain Renault!

If they gave the facts on this meaningless gimmick, everyone but the Zombies would be belly laughing. As we all know Zombies can’t laugh, they just shuffle around, drooling and saying, “Brrrrrraaaiiiinns braaaaaaiiiinnnnssss….”

(Evil dead reference for those that missed the series)

dogsoldier on April 20, 2012 at 2:47 PM

“If you don’t have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare the voters. If you don’t have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from. You make a big election about small things.”

– Presidential Nominee Barack Obama, 2008

And if all that fails you start talking about your opponent’s 1983 vacation, contraception for slutty law school students, racially charged assaults, and cookies.

Happy Nomad on April 20, 2012 at 2:49 PM

This is why I don’t understand why everyone just accepts government numbers for things like the unemployment rate, jobless claims, inflation, or anything else. Why do we believe the numbers are accurate just because the Obama administration says they are? Does anyone believe they wouldn’t falsify those numbers if they thought they could get away with it? And does anyone believe that, with the MSM in Obama’s pocket, they couldn’t get away with it?

Jeff A on April 20, 2012 at 2:55 PM

gekkobear on April 20, 2012 at 2:12 PM

Now I understand (slaps forehead)….

IT is but IT isn’t when IT does but IT doesn’t.

landowner on April 20, 2012 at 3:00 PM

With integrity, civility and fiscal discipline, our New Direction for America will use commonsense principles to address the aspirations and fulfill the hopes and dreams of all Americans. That is our promise to the American people.

Our federal budget should be a statement of our national values. One of those values is responsibility. Democrats are committed to ending years of irresponsible budget policies that have produced historic deficits. Instead of piling trillions of dollars of debt onto our children and grandchildren, we will restore “Pay As You Go” budget discipline.

Budget discipline has been abandoned by the Bush Administration and its Republican congressional majorities. Congress under Republican control has turned a projected $5.6 trillion 10-year surplus at the end of the Clinton years into a nearly $3 trillion deficit– including the four worst deficits in the history of America. The nation’s debt ceiling has been raised four times in just five years to more than $8.9 trillion. Nearly half of our nation’s record debt is owned by foreign countries including China and Japan. Without a return to fiscal discipline, the foreign countries that make our computers, our clothing and our toys will soon be making our foreign policy. Deficit spending is not just a fiscal problem – it’s a national security issue as well.

Our New Direction is committed to “Pay As You Go” budgeting – no more deficit spending.

Nancy Pelosi

House Democratic Leader

That is what Pelosi and the Democrats promised in 2006, when Pelosi was House Minority Leader. The Democrats won the 2006 elections with promises of “Budget discipline” and “no more deficit spending”.

Instead, the Democrats have produced the FIVE worst budget deficits in the history of America, EACH over $1 Trillion, and EACH of them more than double (one more than triple!) the size of the last Republican deficit of $501 Billion.

Democrats LIE.

NEVER trust a Democrat on any fiscal issue.

ITguy on April 20, 2012 at 3:05 PM

The thing that still pisses me off about the Buffett Rule is that Buffett is fighting to NOT pay hundreds of millions in taxes, while he complains that he isn’t paying ENOUGH in taxes!

Star20 on April 20, 2012 at 2:08 PM

I heard it was 800 million in back taxes. That’s some chunk of change.

Here’s the real Buffett rule:

1) Come out as a Democrat, and
2) You are then absolved of any charges of greed, selfishness, or acts of slimy character.

This rule is good for Hollywood celebrities and producers, nouveau riche tycoons, inventors of Internet, those who inherit fortunes and so might be under special scrutiny–really anybody who wants to cash in on the blatant hypocrisy that is there for the taking. You can then splurge on mansions all over the world, shelter your money in offshore accounts, invest in dubious hedge funds, and even request special breaks in business by executive order as Buffett is now doing with the pipeline deal (psst, he makes a ton of money through his Burlington railroad ownership so long as the Keystone pipeline deal continues being vetoed). At this point in our nation, it has nothing to do with pious beliefs about helping the disadvantaged. It’s just “smart” business to say you’re a Democrat. Anyway, that’s the real Buffett rule.

Smartest thing Jim Carrey ever did in his career was, once he started making 20 mill per picture, to announce that he thought Communism made the most sense. He was just following the Buffett rule.

Burke on April 20, 2012 at 3:06 PM

Democrats LIE.

NEVER trust a Democrat on any fiscal issue.

ITguy on April 20, 2012 at 3:05 PM

Quit beating around the bush; tell us what you really think. But seriously, many of these pols are so out of touch with reality, I bet they don’t even think of it as lying. Humans are great at rationalizing and blaming others. We need a moral compass grounded in something outside of our own selves.

Fenris on April 20, 2012 at 3:11 PM

More fudge from the Candy Man. Maybe Timmy G helped with the figures.

Kissmygrits on April 20, 2012 at 3:23 PM

forcing them to pay over the capped contribution amounts would transform these programs into wealth-redistribution welfare programs

It’s absurd to say that any form of progressive tax is ‘redistribution’- that’s patently absurd. Most middle class families already pay a disproportionate amount of their income in sales and use taxes.

bayam on April 20, 2012 at 3:25 PM

Video: Did the White House fudge the numbers on the Buffett Rule?

…Huh!…Wha…What…huuuh?…Do some people eat dog?

KOOLAID2 on April 20, 2012 at 2:19 PM

When referring to the POTUS, you should use the title dog-eater-in-chief (DEIC, pronounced as Dick).

Gladtobehere on April 20, 2012 at 3:33 PM

I can’t believe the White House is lying.Next, you’ll be telling me that they’re deliberately trying to destroy this country socially and economically.

MaiDee on April 20, 2012 at 3:46 PM

Ate versus Crate….

That’s funny Ed.

AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…..

We all needed that this Friday afternoon.

Tenwheeler on April 20, 2012 at 3:54 PM

but but but…we have to “spread wealth”…our mother ship says so and we never question the mother ship.

…hang on…I just intercepted a feed from the mother ship…

We need the Buffett tax to ensure that everybody pays their fair share (that being defined by people that don’t pay anything), voter ID disenfranchises the poor, students and the elderly, Cit U and those evil Koch Bros are ruining democracy, corporate tax rates are just fine as they are, the war on women is real, FoxNews and Rush L are all liars and everything is Bush’s fault.

…end of feed…

Sorry I bothered anybody with that…seems to be a repeat of what we have been hearing for years now. I’ll let you know if anything new appears.

teejk on April 20, 2012 at 4:09 PM

o/t

Richard A. Grenell has been named “national security and foreign policy spokesman” for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney. He is very close to John Bolton. Grenell is highly-respected and would be in the running to become Ambassador to the United Nations or NSA adviser.

What will cause the ears to pick up on the Left? Grenell is OPENLY gay.

“But, but, but, Mitt Romney is a homophobe!!!”

Resist We Much on April 20, 2012 at 4:28 PM

Never underestimate the dishonesty of a democrat.

BruthaMan on April 20, 2012 at 4:40 PM

Did the White House fudge the numbers on the Buffett Rule?

Did the sun come up this morning?

Cylor on April 20, 2012 at 6:42 PM

One more time, folks — let us all begin emailing and calling the Romney campaign and the campaign of every GOP Senate candidate right now. Demand that they invest our contributions in making this argument loudly and clearly.

Expose Obama’s lies and corruption. Explain in clear language the tax/welfare/redistribution swindle.

Jaibones on April 20, 2012 at 7:01 PM

Tax fairness… What bull$hit.

How about the 50% of those who don’t pay any federal income taxes, start paying into the system? & get a fuc&ing job?

That’s fairness.

Fuc&ing Obamacraps.

Danny on April 20, 2012 at 7:04 PM

The Buffett rule is bad enough but considering recent developments I’m concerned about Obama’s buffet rule.

taternuggets on April 20, 2012 at 7:33 PM

It has always been about class warfare for dems. Actually , its been all about splitting and turning people on one another. War on women, Rich vs poor, White vs black… if it was not for any of this the liberals would ceases to exist.

watertown on April 20, 2012 at 8:55 PM

Was there ever any doubt?

“Fudge” is their favorite flavor!

IrishEyes on April 20, 2012 at 9:24 PM

Yeah they fudged. But “two percent of the world’s oil reserves.”

Count on it!

BigAlSouth on April 20, 2012 at 9:34 PM

Did the White House fudge the numbers on the Buffett Rule?

Did the Sun rise in the Eastern sky today?…

Gohawgs on April 21, 2012 at 2:19 AM

Let’s play with some numbers floating around the Internet and Media of late. Trumka notes that CEO pay is a whole 380 times the average worker’s pay. It’s bandied about that the Buffet rule will hit a whole 4000 people. So if we tax the Buffet rule victims 100% we get 1.52 million times the typical person’s salary. But there are 150 million of him. So if we taxed all of them 1% we’d get as much as taxing those targeted by the Buffet Bill of Attainder.

The cold hard numbers say that the average Joe and average Jill are going to have to go back to paying a rather modest share of their income if this nation is going to REALLY pull out of this disaster.

There are so few very rich people that the incomes and taxes on them don’t amount to a hill of beans compared to what very modest tax rates on the average person can pull in.

{^_^}

herself on April 21, 2012 at 4:21 AM