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.
A few months ago, when President Obama proposed to restrict the deductibility of charitable contributions made by relatively well-off Americans, I asked why Obama is so opposed to having money go directly to the needy, rather than having it first be filtered through the government.
On October 1, 2010, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney described the genius of the American idea and lauded its results. “No nation has done more to lift people out of poverty than this nation,” he said in remarks at Benedetto’s, an Italian restaurant in Tampa, Florida. “Our free enterprise system has lifted billions out of poverty.”
There’s a lot of silliness on all sides of the Bain Capital debate.
On the one hand, Newt Gingrich’s attacks (and the follow-on assaults by Jon Huntsman and Rick Perry) on Mitt Romney’s career at Bain Capital have been unfair, over the top, and, for that matter, all over the place. Gingrich, Perry, and Huntsman deserve much of the criticism they’ve received from conservative commentators.
On the other, Mitt Romney’s claim throughout his campaign that his private sector experience almost uniquely qualifies him to be president is also silly. Does he really think that having done well in private equity, venture capital, and business consulting—or even in the private sector more broadly—is a self-evident qualification for public office? One assumes Mitt Romney would agree that Chris Christie is a better chief executive of New Jersey than Jon Corzine, and that Rudy Giuliani was a better mayor of New York than Mike Bloomberg. But Romney’s biography looks a lot more like Bloomberg's or Corzine's (leaving aside Corzine's recent misadventures) than like that of Giuliani (pre-mayoralty) or Christie. Past business success does not guarantee performance in public office. Indeed, Romney sometimes seems to go so far as to suggest that succeeding in the private sector is intrinsically more admirable than, e.g., serving as a teacher or a soldier or even in Congress. This is not a sensible proposition, or a defensible one.
NBC journalist Chuck Todd reportedly asked Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney whether he’d release his tax returns this election cycle. “I never say never,” Romney responded, according to the New York Times. “I don't intend to do so.”