'A Busy Day of Tax Fairness at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue'
12:16 PM, Apr 11, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest calls today, "A busy day of tax fairness at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue." What that means is, President Obama is using today to talk about raising taxes, just as the tax filing deadline approaches.
"At a time when the share of national income flowing to the top 1 percent of people in this country has climbed to levels we haven’t seen since the 1920s, these same [rich] folks are paying taxes at one of the lowest rates in 50 years," Obama said in prepared remarks. "In fact, one in four millionaires pays a lower tax rate than millions of hardworking middle-class households. And while many millionaires do pay their fair share, some take advantage of loopholes and shelters that let them get away with paying no income taxes whatsoever -- and that’s all perfectly legal under the system that we currently have."
So, just considering that statement, one might think the president's proposed solution is to close loopholes and shelters that some wealthy Americans are (legally) taking advantage of. (Such a proposal, after all, would likely be popular among both Republicans and Democrats. For example: consider what Ronald Reagan accomplished.) But, no, the president's solution is to soak the rich even more, and even during a time of economic duress.
Obama went on to outline, yet again, the so-called Buffett Rule. "If you make more money -- more than $1 million a year, not if you have $1 million, but if you make more than $1 million a year, you should pay at least the same percentage of your income in taxes as middle-class families do. If on the other hand, you make less than $250,000 a year -- like 98 percent of American families do -- your taxes shouldn’t go up."
And to back Obama up, the president referred to one of his predecessors ... Ronald Reagan (while also using the opportunity to mock Republicans.
At the Washington Examiner, Philip Klein explains how Obama is distorting Reagan to suit his needs: "Yes, it’s true that on June 28, 1985, Reagan gave a speech to Bloom High School in Chicago Heights, Illinois about problems with the tax code in which he told an anecdote about an executive who was paying a lower tax rate than his secretary. But if you read the whole speech, it’s clear that Reagan was telling the story as part of his pitch for tax reform. ... Reagan was talking about simplifying the tax code, whereas Obama’s Buffett Rule would add another layer of complexity. Reagan was arguing for allowing people to keep more of their own money and reduce the burden of government. By contrast, Obama is arguing for instituting the Buffett Rule so that more money is available to pay for government programs."