The so-called “Buffet rule” would make sure millionaires pay about the same tax rate as the employees that work for them. It’s named after billionaire Warren Buffet, who has said that he is taxed at a rate of about 17.4 percent, while his secretary is taxed at a rate of about 36 percent.
“If you tax something more, Chris, you get less of it,” Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) told Fox News’ Chris Wallace. “Class warfare, Chris, may make for really good politics, but it makes for rotten economics. We don’t need a system that seeks to divide people and prey on peoples’ fear, envy and anxiety. We need a system that creates jobs and innovation, and removes these barriers for entrepreneurs to go out a rehire people. I’m afraid these kinds of tax increases don’t work.”
Of course, Paul Ryan's lying. That's what he does. When Bill Clinton raised the top marginal tax rate to 39.6%, not only did it work, it gave America a surplus. Republicans have been screaming about balancing the budget...well, whenever there's a Dem in the White House, that is. When Republicans are President, deficits don't matter, remember?
We can't raise taxes on the wealthy in good times. We can't do it in bad times. We can't do it, period. And yet Republicans suffer no political damage for siding with the top 1% over the 99%. Hell, the Buffett Rule would affect less than 1% of Americans who pay a far lower tax rate than you or I do. But that's who the Republicans get to play for, and they're the people with all the power in this country.
Nice, isn't it? Steve M. expands on the theory:
With all the pressure there is on political figures to avoid what's always sneeringly called "class warfare," the fact that the president -- the fact that this president -- is increasingly acknowledging the vast difference between the rich and the rest of us is a hopeful sign. I know this proposal can't get passed. I know it's mostly an attempt to draw a line in the sand as his reelection campaign gets under way. But I like the fact that he thinks this is a political winner. I like the fact that it puts a question back on the table that the right and center thought had been asked and answered: no, perhaps we Americans haven't all decided that we really, really like the rich and regard them as heroes and "job creators" and people who need to be cosseted and coddled because if we don't cater to their every whim they'll be too weak and wounded and sickly and depressed ever to get out of bed and try to make even more money by building businesses and hiring people to do jobs.
Americans are pissed off. It's time we help them be pissed off at the right people, and Obama contrasting with Paul Ryan whining that our poor, coddled millionaires are the only people the Republicans care about is a real good start.