Household incomes slid downward in 2010, and a record number of Americans now live in poverty, as we discussed in the first part of this series based on U.S. Census data.
Now, Americans are debating: Can President Obama’s bold new plan kick start the economy and stop the slide?
There’s a lot to the plan, so today I want to focus on one key element: the Buffett Rule. Here’s the definition from the president’s proposal, Living Within Our Means and Investing in the Future. “No household making over $1 million annually should pay a smaller share of its income in taxes than middle-class families pay. As Warren Buffett has pointed out, his effective tax rate is lower than his secretary’s. No household making over $1 million annually should pay a smaller share of its income in taxes than middle-class families pay.”
The Buffett Rule is named after super-investor Warren Buffett. In November last year, he said, “If anything, taxes for the lower and middle class and maybe even the upper middle class should even probably be cut further. But I think that people at the high end—people like myself—should be paying a lot more in taxes. We have it better than we’ve ever had it.” Increased taxes on wealthy Americans would help to cut the deficit by 1.5 trillion in the next ten years.
Is the Buffett Rule class warfare, as some say?
“This is not class warfare,” Obama said yesterday. “It’s math. The money is going to have to come from someplace. And if we’re not willing to ask those who’ve done extraordinarily well to help America close the deficit … then the logic, the math says everybody else has to do a whole lot more: We’ve got to put the entire burden on the middle class and the poor…. I will not support—I will not support—any plan that puts all the burden for closing our deficit on ordinary Americans.”
The Buffett Rule is only one part of Obama’s proposal to reverse our downward economic slide. But it’s a key element—especially since many Republicans have pledged to oppose any measure that raises taxes.
Do you support the Buffett Rule?
Does it amount to class warfare?
Originally published at www.OurValues.org, an online experiment in civil dialogue on American values.