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Obama Fails to Apply the Buffett Rule to Himself

by Keith Koffler on April 13, 2012, 11:34 am

President Obama chose not to subject himself to his own proposed Buffett Rule, paying only a 20.5 percent federal tax rate instead of the 30 percent rate called for under the proposal he has been talking about all week.

The Buffett rule would apply to those making $1 million, and Obama did not quite make $1 million last year – he clocked in at $789,674. But he made enough to be considered comparably rich to those making a million, and still paid a rate ten points below the threshold he is proposing.

What’s more, he paid a lower rate than Vice President Biden, who made less than half what Obama did. Biden paid a 23.2 percent rate on $379,035 in income.

Some of the difference is due to deductions for charitable contributions – the Obamas contributed substantially more last year than the Bidens.

{ 8 trackbacks }


Girly1 April 13, 2012 at 11:46 am

Obama’s ‘Buffet Rules’ consist of daily orgies at the taxpayer’s trough for himself and the First Sweat Hog!

J April 13, 2012 at 11:47 am

Thanks for this worthless report.

Tasmanian_Devil April 13, 2012 at 11:58 am

Worthless because you are a liberal?

J April 13, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Worthless because:

He claims he didn’t use the Buffet Rule for himself in the first sentence, and in the second he explains how the rule is set up for citizens that make more than $1mil a year. So then why the F would he use the Buffet rule on himself when he clearly would not be required to do so?

Worthless because he explains how Obama paid a lower tax rate than Biden, who made LESS than the Pres…. but goes on the explain, again in the next sentence, that this was due to Obama giving more money to charity and being able to claim more deductions.

It’s a worthless article that is doing nothing but trying to create something, again, from nothing. Why the F does it matter whether I’m a liberal, conservative, or libertarian? I’m an American, let’s go get a beer and talk.. and stop listening to the 24 hour news networks that do NOTHING but try and divide the country on a daily… HOURLY basis. Just like this article attempted.

Pounce Kitty April 13, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Obama made nearly a million dollars! Why don’t you stop criticizing the messenger of news you simply don’t like? Thank god for Fox News. They tell the truth the State-run Obama Media is afraid to tell. Grow up!

Systematicentropy April 13, 2012 at 5:27 pm

Well, they told half the truth. They left out the bit about Romney making over $20 million and paying a 13% tax rate. And with all the truth they’re telling you’d think FOX viewers wouldn’t consistently poll as the least informed.

Liz Elliott April 13, 2012 at 12:18 pm

It matters because Obama obviously had his financial advisers get every deduction and loophole possible to lower his tax rate. Other earners at this level pay a 30% rate even after deducting all of his charitable donations. IOW, Obama wants you to pay more, but the rule doesn’t apply to his tax rates.

James April 13, 2012 at 6:52 pm

You seem to forget that there are tax brackets. Even if someone was subject to a 30% liability for income > $1M, the net tax liability would still be significantly < 30%. The first part is tax free, then the next part is taxed at 10%, and so on.

I'm no fan of Obama, but at least analyze the information objectively.

Bob April 13, 2012 at 1:35 pm

“J”, ‘You sir, are and idiot.™’

J April 13, 2012 at 6:34 pm

Yea, I’m “and” idiot. Well played.

AnotherOpinion April 13, 2012 at 1:30 pm

Interesting to see he is paying taxes on foreign income and that he bought and sold over $2 million in US Treasury bonds. Obama hides his money just as he hides everything else about himself and this administration. For someone receiving a $24, 000 refund, perhaps he and his could start paying their own way instead of having taxpayers foot the bill for all their trips, parties, vacays,fund raisers, etc.

lcSouthern April 13, 2012 at 11:47 am

Wow, what a shocker!

HANOI JOHN KERRY April 13, 2012 at 1:16 pm

I served in Vietnam. And I registered my Yacht in Rhode Island.

HB April 13, 2012 at 11:50 am

It’s a crazy world we live in when anything over a 15% tax on income (payroll, capital gains, dividends, etc.) is considered not enough…

…stop spending my grandchildrens’ money on yourselves.

William April 13, 2012 at 11:52 am

How did he file? Was it on a 1040? Did the Obamas file jointly or separately?

William April 13, 2012 at 11:54 am

Never mind! I see the information is in the previous article! (facepalm)

Denise April 13, 2012 at 11:54 am

I guess no one has noticed that the whole thing is a set up to show that those making less money pay more in taxes. Just look at it, Obama pays a 20.5% tax on $780,000 income, while Biden who makes $380,000 pays 23.2% rate.
IN OTHER WORDS, look people, look at our rates, the RICH DO PAY LESS then the middle class. It’s why they put these rates out like they did. To back up President Obama’s point, but of course critical thinkers in this country are few, so they won’t see the set up.

J April 13, 2012 at 11:59 am

Hey Denise:

20.5% of $780,000 is $159,900, while 23.2% of $380,000 is $88,160.

Just, you know, fyi.

Tasmanian_Devil April 13, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Hey, Denise, did you graduate from the Obwana School of Libtardamia?

craigrob April 13, 2012 at 12:04 pm

denise , the reason biden paid at a higher rate was because he gave less to charity, fewer contributions etc. therefore he had fewer deductions….he did not pay at a higher rate because his income was less!!!!!!!!! denise is youre life better if you live in a town with all poor people or in a town with wealthy people ..wake up!! break away from odumbdumbs spell

LOL April 13, 2012 at 12:05 pm

20% of 780,000 is more than 23% of 380,000

Even with a lesser percentage, Obama paid more taxes than Biden by quite a bit.

sdg April 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm

This same argument can be applied to Buffet and his secretary. Buffet’s 15% of millions is much more than his secretaries x% on her salary.

Tasmanian_Devil April 13, 2012 at 11:57 am

Obama fails to apply ALL of his rules to himself!

Systematicentropy April 13, 2012 at 5:31 pm

Only because the rule doesn’t apply to him as written. He’d have to make about 21% more before taxes before it would. But you would have had to have actually read the article to get that.

Denise April 13, 2012 at 11:57 am

Girly 1 YOU are OFFENSIVE. and I wish I could flag you.

Tasmanian_Devil April 13, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Just tellin’ the truth. So you would flag anyone abusing the OBWANA DEVILS?

Rick April 13, 2012 at 12:13 pm

Ignorant comments all, here….

Tasmanian, which particular trailer park did you spring from?

Pounce Kitty April 13, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Well, no. But most Obama voters are ignorant, I would agree with that. Ignorant on economics, foreign policy and the tax code.

Mike April 13, 2012 at 12:02 pm

Disclaimer: I did not vote for Obama in 2008 and am not voting for him in 2012.

That said, wtf was the point of this post?

1. “President Obama chose not to subject himself to his own proposed Buffett Rule” in one paragraph, “The Buffett rule would apply to those making $1 million, and Obama did not quite make $1 million last year” in the next. Maybe he chose not to subject himself to the proposed rule because HE WOULD NOT QUALIFY?

2. Or perhaps he chose not to subject himself because you CANNOT just “pay more taxes.” It doesn’t work that way. You fill out your tax return to figure out how much you owe/are owed. If the form says you owe $X, you pay $X. If you send in a check for a bigger amount, the IRS will spot the error and return it for you.

3. The Obamas gave 22% of their income to charity, which is over 5x the national average as a percentage of household income. Admirable.

4. If we want the liberals to stop accusing wealthy Republicans of not “paying their fair share”, then maybe we shouldn’t accuse wealthy Democrats of the same. He paid a 20% effective federal tax rate, which I’m sure is more than his secretary. Heck, it’s more than I paid and I didn’t give away 22% of my income to charity last year.

He has not been a good president IMO, but for goodness’ sake let’s attack him for his bad policies and not for stupid things like this that will come back to bite us later if it becomes a talking point.

P.S. Ron Paul 2012.

J April 13, 2012 at 12:06 pm

Well said.

Lindy April 13, 2012 at 12:42 pm

Sorry, you CAN pay more taxes than you “owe”…all you have to do is send the IRS a check. They won’t turn it down.

Guest April 13, 2012 at 12:46 pm

I agree. This article is conflicting itself.
“President Obama chose not to subject himself to his own proposed Buffett Rule, paying only a 20.5 percent federal tax rate instead of the 30 percent rate called for under the proposal he has been talking about all week.”

He “chose NOT TO” ? IF I’m not mistaken, the original proposal was at 500k; got a lot of opposition from the GOPs; so he proposed 750k and again oppositions from the GOPs. So now it’s at 1 million, and he’s no longer making that level of money; and all of a sudden, he CHOSE NOT TO set the Buffett Rule at 500k / 750k? Is that what you are implying?

And I thought Mr Koffler is a right-wing media.
“… he paid a lower rate than Vice President Biden, who made less than half what Obama did. Biden paid a 23.2 percent rate on $379,035 in income.”
You are essentially agreeing with Obama’s point – that the rich are paying less in taxes than the poor – percentage wise. And neither of them are the “small business owners” where they are supposed to be job creators. So again, what’s your point?

There are no substance of attack on his taxes; like Mike said, if we’re going to win the election, we need to find some substance attack rather than this senseless attacks. And please, stop playing politics when it comes to our country’s well-being …

Ron Paul 2012.

Systematicentropy April 13, 2012 at 5:38 pm

A well thought out and logical comment? You have no place on this board. Next you’ll do something really elitist like site a source.

Robin H April 13, 2012 at 5:54 pm

You can pay more than you are “supposed to” by not taking all of the deductions that are allowed. Had the profit from the book sales gone through the publisher rather than the Obamas, they could not claim the charitable deduction for it. It could have been set up that way from the start. So yes, he is being diingenuous about his Buffett rule.

Michael April 13, 2012 at 12:03 pm

This is just more proof that the first and most important tenant of liberalism is ‘do as I say, not as I do’. Why would biden & obama donate much to charity when they believe the government should be taking care of everyone from cradle to grave.

craigrob April 13, 2012 at 12:12 pm

hey Mike, FYI.. you can send the IRS more $$$$$ anyone can write a check to the federal govt. and they will cash it so sorry youre wrong…no one is stopping buffett, biden, odumbodumb any one of them can write a check for any dollar amount and send it TO THE FEDERAL GOVT.the question is why dont they put there $$$ where there mouth is…..hmmmmm i wonder let me think… HMMMMMM HMMMMM

Girly1 April 13, 2012 at 12:13 pm

“Girly 1 YOU are OFFENSIVE. and I wish I could flag you.”

Please….allow me to help you out. Go to your Dear Leader’s ‘Attack
Watch” and say hello to them for me! And then you can go back to Move-On!

Pounce Kitty April 13, 2012 at 12:14 pm

Both Obama and Biden are cheapskates with their own money, but extremely generous with ours. Interesting that many studies PROVE Democrats give much much less to charity than Republicans. But they hector and lecture the rest of us about “fairness.” Vote every Democrat out and see our country TRIUMPH!

Systematicentropy April 13, 2012 at 5:03 pm

I’d like a link to some of those “many studies”. As for “Vote every Democrat out and see our country” all you have to do is look at any single party government to do that. You know like, Saudi Arabia, China, and other lovely places like that. The Democrats and Republicans are both awful but either one with out the other to keep them in check would be a nightmare.

JAMES FISKE April 13, 2012 at 12:15 pm



Just2old April 13, 2012 at 12:38 pm

Why are you yelling?

Michael April 13, 2012 at 12:54 pm

If joe biden’s salary is so low, and since he’s been on the public doll all of his career, just how did he afford a multi-million dollar home? Just who is paying his bills and just what is biden giving in return?

Al April 13, 2012 at 2:06 pm

Maybe an inheritance? Maybe he made some good investment choices in past years? Maybe he’s up to his eyeballs in debt? In the end, who cares how he paid for it. He can spend his money however he wants, just like the rest of us republicans.

Mark April 13, 2012 at 1:06 pm

If Obama truly feels he and the rich do not pay enough taxes why is he taking deductions for his charitable donations? So out of one side of his mouth he is bemoaning the fact he doesn’t pay enough taxes while out of the other side of his mouth he is telling his accountant to do everything he can to pay the least amount of taxes.

Elly April 13, 2012 at 1:06 pm

How can this be. I don’t even make 1/3 of this and my effective tax rate is over 30%. This is so wrong. I hope this country throws all of them out in November and we can start over with people who believe in capitalism not socialism. UGH!

Systematicentropy April 13, 2012 at 5:09 pm

How is that socialism? A tax code that scales so higher incomes pay more -could- be called socialism, but even that is a sketchy argument. What we’re seeing here is “Trickle Down Capitalism” The idea that if we give all our money to rich people and they will create a utopia for us. How’s that been workin’ out for us over the past few decades?

Taxes April 13, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Why don’t we start by being consistent on what the heck you are saying. In one article you say Federal Tax Rate and in another you add up SS and medicare in what you call overall tax rate. Completely two different things to compare. Try being consistent in your reporting. Everybody knows you pay out on social security after $106800 but not medicare. So report the facts not random numbers if you are attempting to compare. And no I did not vote for the current president.

Dave April 13, 2012 at 1:29 pm

You expected more from this President? Get used to disappointment.

Systematicentropy April 13, 2012 at 5:41 pm

I expected more from your educators. These policies have been in place for a long time.

14401 April 13, 2012 at 2:04 pm

For the last three years we have donated more money than 0 has to charity. He’s fibbed before, so he’s surely fibbing now. Why so much all of the sudden. Oh yes, it’s election year.

OrangeandBrown April 13, 2012 at 2:23 pm

I paid at 28%, and I make nowhere near what Obummer and Bidung made. Just shows you how stupid, inept, corrupt, insane, illogical our tax system is. We as a people need to get it changed so that it is fair across the board for every taxpayer. It should also change that everyone pay the same percentage no matter what one makes, this is the only fair way, and it would also broaden the revenue. Let’s get real, the system is broken and it only seems to help those that can afford the Tax Einstein’s to figure it all out, and then it probably still is not correct to the 115,000 page tax law. It’s a SCAM….

cal mccallen April 13, 2012 at 3:08 pm

No news here. The Biden’s have always been stingy with their money. They just want to be generous with YOUR money.

Gordon Strole April 13, 2012 at 4:13 pm

How did Biden afford and maintain a 2-3 million dollar estate on 379K income?

Barama Oback April 13, 2012 at 7:47 pm

I don’t think he disclosed all of earnings. i.e. Under the table cash payments.

Systematicentropy April 13, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Romney payed 13% on over $20 million he made, where is the outrage there?

Robin H April 13, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Please look up the definition of salary and capital gains. You’ll notice they’re different. They’re also different for tax purposes.

We have a definite financial illiteracy problem in this country. Our schools do a pathetic job of teaching it.

Southern April 13, 2012 at 5:08 pm

“I pay all the taxes owed. And not a penny more,” Romney said at the debate. “I don’t think we want someone running for president who pays more taxes than he owes.”

Hypocritical Obamessiah April 13, 2012 at 5:15 pm

And this surprises whom, exactly?

Marijan Favetti April 13, 2012 at 5:49 pm

The reason Biden is paying a higher % on a lower income is that he’s not as smart as Obama. It’s knowing how to work the system and Obama is the king in that department; he’s been workinng the whole Nation for the last three years!

J April 13, 2012 at 6:46 pm

So you see both Obama and Biden sitting down at their respective kitchen table, wearing their glasses, with a crapload of receipts spread out all over the table… doing their taxes?

That’s what you think? Or are you saying tax team that does Obama’s taxes is more savvy than Biden’s? Or do you even think about what you say before you bang your nonsense out?

Caroline Miniscule April 13, 2012 at 6:02 pm

I don’t quite understand the outrage here.

Obama has *proposed* the Buffet Rule.

When you *propose* something, that means that it doesn’t already exist. Obama wants it to happen in the future. You know, *in the future.*

So to say he “failed to apply the Buffet rule to himself” is stupid, because, you see, the Buffet rule does not yet exist. It has been *proposed.*

Can I make it any clearer?

Let me repeat it, just in case I wrote it too quickly.

Obama *wamts* to pay more taxes, but because the Buffet rule *is…not…yet…in…effect*, hew didn’t have to. He paid his taxes *under the code currently in existence.”


He didn’t “fail to apply the Buffett rule,” he *couldn’t* apply the Buffet rule, because the Buffet rule is just a name, it is not yet a “rule.”

Now, I’m a Republican and I think Obama and the Democrats are driving this country into the ground, but let’s not distort the facts and tell lies, because anyone with half a brain recognizes those distortions and lies, and each time they do, they are nudged a little on the side of Obama, thanks to human nature!

So please stop distorting the facts and downright lying. You’re only harming our cause.

Barama Oback April 13, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Where do I sign up to be a paid operative blog poster for the Democrats? Just like the Dems, I’d lie to get more money.. Oh heck Just Kidding.

Barama Oback April 13, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Please someone explain his Buffet Rule. What! The more I eat the more I’m taxed?
I kinda like being able to go back for seconds, thirds, or even fourths at the Hung Dong Chop House despite what anybody says. The buffet is an American tradition… And @ $6.99 weekdays, it also comes with a drink.

Mr. T. April 13, 2012 at 9:24 pm

As I heard somewhere today, let’s cut the crap and just call it what it is…the Envy Tax.

Roger M April 14, 2012 at 2:23 am

I can’t believe how dumb we all have become. If I am a millionaire and I am only required to pay 15% in taxes, why would I pay more, even if I felt my taxes were too low?

Whatever I would contribute would only be a drop in the bucket compared to all of the needless wars and corporate socialism we all pay for because ALL of our politicians are bought and paid for–but that’s another issue. It makes far more sense, as Buffett, Obama, and other billionaires have done to change the tax rates first. Then you don’t have a whole bunch of freeloaders who don’t pay their fair share when their country needs them.

LindaF April 14, 2012 at 8:26 am

Of that “charitable” contribution, almost all was the profits from a children’s book he wrote – supposedly, he made $117k from it. I really don’t see how, unless the publishing company took a bath. That has to be advance money.

Girly1 April 14, 2012 at 9:44 am

Sounds like he’s cooking the books!

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