At a Beverly Hills estate last night, President Obama heard a complaint from a major donor: There's no valet parking at the White House. The complaint was made by Haim Saban, who hosted a fundraiser with the president last night.
Via the pool report:
Haim Saban introduced President Obama with a four-minute speech that needled the commander in chief for the lack of valet parking at the White House.
Saban said, “Last Friday, the president and first lady were very generous and kind with their time, they invited us to the White House for a very small intimate dinner. And we had a wonderful time – great food, great company, very inspiring. No valet parking! You know what? I had to walk to the White House. We have valet parking at the Sabans! So, Mr. President, if you would, please, thank you. Taxpayers’ money? I’ll fund it, no problem.”
President Obama responded to the valet parking complaint:
President Obama then spoke for about 14 minutes. He began by saying, “Now, let me clarify something. First of all, there was valet parking – for Cheryl. We thought it was appropriate for Haim to get some exercise. Cheryl, being the wonderful person that she is, declined the valet parking, and so she might have joined him. But I would have been happy to have her drive right up into the South Lawn.”
The Democratic fundraiser was attended by heavy hitters:
The dinner was attended by about 120 people who paid ticket prices from $16,200 per person to $32,400 per couple, according to a DCCC official. Speakers included Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, DCCC Chairman Steve Israel, DSCC Chairman Michael Bennet, and Cheryl and Haim Saban, according to a DCCC official. Notable attendees included Jacqueline & Clarence Avant, Amb. Nicole Avant & Ted Sarandos; Edythe & Eli Broad; Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti; Berry Gordy; Tom Hanks & Rita Wilson; Jena & Michael King, Wendy & Barry Meyer; Paul Reiser. Additional Senators and Members of Congress expected to attend: Congressman Xavier Becerra, Congresswoman Karen Bass, Congresswoman Judy Chu, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo, Congressman Adam Schiff, Congressman Brad Sherman and Senator Barbara Boxer.
It is no secret that Washington generally prospers even as the rest of the country struggles. In a rough fashion, prosperity in the capital and economic hardship in the rest of the country are inversely related. An economic crisis means lots of new government pump priming--remember the stimulus?--which means new departments and programs in Washington. More opportunities for the tribe of lawyers and lobbyists.
The Wall Street Journal editors are unhappy about the present correlation of political forces. Who isn't? They're also, I gather, unhappy about "Beltway sages" who, facing the fact that the Bush tax cuts expire at the end of this year, have suggested Republicans accept a modest increase in tax rates for the wealthy while leading the charge to keep taxes from rising for 98 percent of the American people.
Warren Buffett is by now no stranger to the national debate over federal tax policy. In 2009, he penned a New York Timesop-ed calling for "truly major changes in both taxes and outlays." Two years later, he returned to the Times with a widely publicized call for large tax increases on the "super-rich," noting that his own effective federal tax rate (17 percent) was far less than his employees' rates (ranging from 33 to 41 percent). President Obama liked the idea so much, he called for Congress to pass "the Buffett Rule" in his 2012 state of the union address.
President Obama used his most recent interview with the Associated Press, released today, once again to hit Mitt Romney for investing overseas. "[T]he small bits of disclosure that he has put forward indicate investments in the Bahamas, or Swiss bank accounts," Obama said of Romney.
Speaking this afternoon to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials in Orlando, Florida, President Obama stated that "in this country, prosperity has never come from the top down."
A report issued last week by the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) finds that the average tax burden on income in the United States has been declining in recent years, in sharp contrast to the trend in the other OECD countries.