epublicans on Monday blocked the Buffett Rule bill, a Democratic measure to impose a minimum tax rate of 30 percent on Americans making over $1 million a year. President Obama, who has pushed the "Fair Share" legislation on the campaign trail, said the GOP had acted "once again to protect tax breaks for the wealthiest few Americans at the expense of the middle class." Republicans dismissed the proposal as an election-year gimmick that would unfairly penalize investors and kill jobs in the process. In the fight to make the tax code more fair, is the Buffett Rule the best idea?
The Buffett Rule is about politics, not fairness: "Despite heated rhetoric demanding they 'pay their fair share,'" says Andrew Moylan at U.S. News & World Report, "the truth is that 'the rich' already shoulder the largest share of financing government." One-percenters make 19 percent of U.S. income, but pay 39 percent of federal income taxes. Obama is just trying to throw red meat to voters by threatening the rich with unfair and "staggeringly high penalties" on investment income.
"The Buffett Rule is bogus"
This would improve a tax code that favors the rich: "Face it, America. We've got an overly complex, unfair, inefficient" tax code, says Jared Bernstein at Rolling Stone. "It's riddled with loopholes" that let the 400 richest Americans, with average incomes over $100 million, pay just 18 percent in federal income tax. The Buffett Rule would simply make all top earners pay at least 30 percent, like many in the middle class. "Boom"... instant fairness.
"Why we need a Buffett Rule (for now)"
Good idea, bad execution: This bill is "good politics," says Leonard E. Burman in The New York Times, as most Americans think it's wrong that a billionaire investor like Warren Buffett can pay a lower rate than his secretary due to lighter taxes on investment income. But the proposal is "bad policy," as it would add new inequities to an already unfair system — for example, two people making $999,000 each would get hit with a huge tax penalty if they married each other. We need simplicity, not more complexity."
"The Buffett Rule: Right goal, wrong tool"
- WATCH: Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly spar over the Obama scandals
- How the White House's war on media backfired
- WATCH: Suspect defends brutal beheading of London man in broad daylight
- A linguistic dissection of 7 annoying teenage sounds
- Is Greek yogurt hurting the environment?
- 32 TV shows to watch in 2013 [Updated]
- Confessions of a trust-fund baby
- Sadly, you are uglier than you think
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- The FBI kills Tamerlan Tsarnaev's friend: 4 things we know [Updated]
- The politics behind Kanye West's 'New Slaves'
- Are we on the cusp of a solar energy boom?
- Why Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn doesn't want tornado relief money
- WATCH: Jon Stewart hates everyone in Washington now
- LIVE UPDATES: Massive tornado tears through Oklahoma City area
- Angry at the government? 5 ways you can fight back
- 7 purported health benefits of drinking coffee
- What is a quantum computer — and why does Google need one?
- Why NASA is funding a 3D pizza printer
- The cool backstory of the Slurpee