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Tag Archives: Buffett Rule

Obama Campaign Unveils New Class Warfare Calculator

The Obama campaign today introduced its shiny new Class Warfare Calculator, an online application that allows you to find out how Mitt Romney is a wealthy scoundrel who is cheating the tax system while you pay your fair share.

So you can resent him and those like him who were handed their wealth by The Man. Or someone.

In an email dispatched this afternoon, Obama 2012 operative Stephanie Cutter introduced the delightful new product, which lets you compare your tax rate to that of “millionaire” Mitt Romney, who is described as having paid a rate of 13.9 percent in 2010.

Stephanie Says:

We’ve got a new interactive tool that shows how Mitt Romney and some other millionaires play by their own set of rules — the same rules they’re trying to make sure you and I don’t ever get to change.

The website states:

MITT ROMNEY WOULD PROTECT A TAX CODE THAT ALLOWS MILLIONAIRES LIKE HIMSELF TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF LOOPHOLES AND TAX HAVENS.

Caps and boldface are from the website, which is really looking to drive home the point.

So Mitt Romney is actually running for president to keep his taxes low. Did you know that? Sounds like a lot of effort to save a few bucks. Maybe he could just try donating less than 1.5 percent of his taxes to charity, like Vice President Biden, instead of the millions he actually gives.

Or maybe he’s running to help out his rich friends. I don’t know. These rich people all scratch each others backs, especially during meetings of the Trilateral Commission.

Stephanie Says:

Romney not only opposes the Buffett Rule, but he wants to make things even more unfair. He will explode the deficit by giving more tax breaks to the wealthy — and place the burden of paying for them on the backs of the middle class and seniors.

This November, it’s one or the other. We either stick with a President who fights for the middle class, or we choose a candidate who fights to protect an unfair status quo that benefits him at the expense of our economy and the middle class.

Well, Stephanie’s boss would know something about exploding the deficit, so maybe she gets this Romney guy better than I do.

What intrigues me is how mean Romney must be. I mean, HE WANTS TO MAKE THINGS MORE UNFAIR.

This transcript of a recent conversation between Mitt Romney and his wife Ann was sent to me by a campaign insider who was shocked by its content. I can’t vouch for its accuracy, but it is deeply disturbing and in fact consistent with Romney’s agenda to make life miserable – more miserable – for the non-rich.

Mitt: Ann, what do you think my economic program should be?

Ann: Mitt, why don’t we make things more unfair and fix the tax system so that we can get even richer?

Mitt: Ann, that’s a great idea! I think the public will love it, and we’ll benefit too. Now I have a reason to live.

Ann: My pleasure, Mitt. Hey, while you’re looking for advice, I think we should also consider a platform that demonstrates our hatred of Hispanics and figure out some ideas that are harmful to women.

Mitt: We could declare a war on women!

Ann: Yes, a war on women! Women have been telling me they want a war waged against them.

Mitt: Ann, what are we waiting for? Let’s get started. We’re gong to win, I can feel it.

I’ll bet the Romney campaign hopes Stephanie doesn’t find out about this.

Did Obama Pay a Lower Rate Than His Secretary?

Updated 1:10 pm ET

President Obama paid a total federal tax rate in 2011 on adjusted income of $789,674 that may be lower than that of his secretary, even though she earned substantially less.

Obama has spent the past week touting the Buffett Rule, which calls on those who make $1 million – just a little more than Obama made – to pay at federal tax rate of at least 30 percent. The rule was inspired by Buffett’s comment that he paid a lower tax rate than his secretary.

The most recent information about salary regarding Obama’s secretary is for his former secretary, Katie Johnson, who is listed by the White House as having made $90,000 in 2010.

According to Wikipedia, Johnson is 31 years old and now attends Harvard Law School. I don’t know about her personal life or what her deductions would be, so I can’t assume any children or extra deductions.

On a $90,000 salary, she would pay $16,578 in federal taxes, $3,780 to Social Security, and $1,305 in Medicare taxes.

That adds up to a total federal tax burden of $21,663 on $90,000 in adjusted gross income, or a tax rate of 24 percent.

Obama’s federal income tax rate was 20.5 percent. If you include the Medicare and Social Security taxes paid by Obama, his total federal tax liability is 21.8 percent, fully two percent less than that of his secretary even though his adjusted gross income was nearly nine times hers.

Obama Fails to Apply the Buffett Rule to Himself

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.

Obama Gets Called Out on his Family’s Vacations

President Obama takes a risk when he does these interviews with local anchors, as he did today from the White House. Often the local guys are intimidated to be in the Oval Office, but sometimes, it’s just the reverse, and they won’t observe the conventions and deference that Washington journalists do.

This local news anchor from KMOV in St. Louis got in Obama’s face about all of the first family’s fancy, taxpayer funded excursions. This is exactly the kind of thing that that a local reporter with some cojones would ask because he is in touch with real people who are offended, while Washington reporters tucked inside the Beltway would find the question beneath them.

Have a look:

Especially nice after Jay Carney condescended to the White House press corps, essentially describing them as spent pieces of used jet trash, in the words of the great Tom Waits. Here’s the exchange from today between Carney and Mark Knoller of CBS.

Q    Jay, what’s left for President Obama to say about the Buffett Rule in his four interviews this afternoon?  (Laughter.)

MR. CARNEY:  I’m glad you asked, because gone are the days when all you had to do was talk to CBS News or ABC, or The New York Times, or CNN, or The Wall Street Journal — (groans)

Q    Or Reuters.

MR. CARNEY:  — or Reuters.  (Laughter.)

Q    Keep going.  (Laughter.)

MR. CARNEY:  I won’t tell your bosses that you volunteered.

Q    Time?

MR. CARNEY:  Or Time Magazine, or — and could be sure that most of the adult population in the country would hear what you had to say.  You know this, Mark, I think better than most here because you’ve seen — you’ve witnessed from this perch here covering the White House the evolution in the media.  And the absolute fact that people across the country get their news in a variety of different ways — they don’t all sit down and listen to the radio as they did before television.  They don’t all watch the same television shows.  There’s just too many outlets — too many outlets, too many alternatives.

Carney, also a former elite Washington reporter with Time, got a little more from the local guy than he bargained for.

Obama: Maybe We Could Call it the “Reagan Rule”

President Obama today invoked the greatest hero of the conservative movement in calling for Congress to pass his tax-raising “Buffett Rule,” saying that the measure could be renamed the “Reagan Rule.”

Obama, who spoke this morning at the White House, taunted conservatives as extremists who have strayed even from Ronald Reagan in opposing the Buffett Rule, which puts a floor under millionaires’ taxers and was inspired by Buffett’s comment that he had paid a lower tax rate than his secretary.

Obama noted that Reagan had once expressed outrage over a millionaire paying a lower rate than a bus driver. Obama said:

That wild eyed, socialist, tax-hiking class warrior was Ronald Reagan . . . If it will help convince folks in Congress to make the right choice, we could call it the Reagan Rule instead of the Buffett Rule.

But Reagan at the time was calling for Congress to close tax loopholes and was campaigning for passage of the 1986 tax reform act, which was designed to be revenue neutral. In exchange for taking away the loopholes, the law, which Reagan ended up signing, lowered the top federal income tax rate for the wealthiest from 50 percent to 28 percent.

By contrast, Obama’s Buffett Rule would raise taxes, mandating that millionaires pay a minimum tax rate of 30 percent. This would raise taxes for some, especially those whose earnings are largely derived from investments taxed a lower rate than income.

Today’s Obama Campaign Trip: Thanks for Paying

Presidential trips devoted to politics but largely paid for by taxpayers usually have at least the veneer of an official purpose, with an actual policy event cynically thrown in so that the president can say he’s doing the people’s business.

Other presidents have done the same thing, though none to quite the extent this one has. With an official event in the mix, the campaign pays some, but taxpayers pick up most of it.

But today’s trip to Florida, which will be billed largely to you and me, is so nakedly and completely political that I have to laugh – laugh all the way to the bank to withdraw funds to pay my taxes so Obama can proceed with his plans.

Obama gives Warren Buffett an award for paying less than his secretary in taxes. Photo by Keith Koffler

First of all, Obama is going to Florida. FLORIDA. Ring a bell? Hanging chads? Most important presidential swing state in the country.

Second of all, he will be attending THREE FUNDRAISERS. He’s headed to the beaches on the southeastern coast. Not Miami, he already cleaned out Miami during a previous trip. Boca, West Palm, and Hollywood.

And the official event? THE BUFFETT RULE.

The Buffett Rule, as you probably know, is the proposal to make rich people pay a minimum tax. This has nothing to do with policy. It’s the lynchpin of Obama’s campaign class warfare strategy.

The Buffett rule will do almost nothing to help the deficit – and that’s before the wealthy call up their accountants and instruct them to find new ways to hide their money.

It’s a pure effort to gin up Obama’s troops against the rich while casting Mitt Romney as one of the very wealthy who need to pay more in taxes.

The White House says it’s also about “fairness,” which their code word for class warfare.

Not to mention that those earning over $1 million pay on average about 29 percent on their federal taxes compared to  15 percent for those making between $50,000 and $75,000. The top ten percent of households pay about 70 percent federal income taxes while 50 percent of Americans pay at most zero taxes and majority of those – 30 percent of all Americans – ACTUALLY MAKE MONEY from the tax system through various credits.

The White House Monday arranged a phone call for reporters with Obama’s top economic advisers to make believe this is a serious economic proposal.

During the call White House National Economic Council Deputy Director Jason Furman pretended the Buffet Rule was a serious first step toward tax reform. As if Obama actually had a tax reform proposal. And as if the Buffett Rule would ever pass.

How deeply disingenuous. One reporter snarkily asked if the Buffett Rule should be renamed “The Romney Rule,” after its intended target.

What’s really going on here is that the highly politicized White House economic team, which has given you two percent growth and eight percent unemployment, is participating in Obama’s reelection campaign instead of making serious proposals to fix the economy.

And you’re paying for the travel.