Posts Tagged ‘buffett


‘class warfare’ turns out to be pretty popular

Steve Benen: The latest CBS News poll asked national respondents whether they’d support higher taxes on millionaires to lower the deficit. The results weren’t exactly close:

….it appears “class warfare” is pretty popular with the American mainstream … Why are Democrats, from President Obama on down, so unafraid of this issue? Because they’ve seen polls like this one, and know most Americans agree with them.

Full post here

Warren Buffett (2006): “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”


taxing issues



Michael Scherer (Time): When Barack Obama talks about taxes these days, he likes to talk about Omaha billionaire Warren Buffett’s secretary …. but if Mitt Romney is able to clinch the Republican nomination for President next spring, Obama will have a better example to talk about.

That’s because Romney, a wealthy man whose income mostly comes from long-term investments, is exactly the sort of “millionaire and billionaire” that Obama likes to hold up for scrutiny, since the source of Romney’s income allows him to pay a lower percentage of his money to the federal government each year than many middle-class wage earners.

…. People who earn as much money as Romney typically make most of it in capital gains and often deduct more than they earn in royalties, salary and interest. In other words, they never pay the 35% rate that their income would be subject to if they just got a paycheck like most Americans.

…. Should Romney win the Republican nomination, he will face substantial pressure to release his own tax returns. Usually such disclosures are little more than formality, but in Romney’s case, it would land him in the middle of one of the biggest policy debates of this election season.

…. any tax reform plan put forward by Obama would likely have a significant impact on Romney’s returns. And perhaps more importantly, if Romney wins the nomination, Obama will have a great line to use in debates and on the stump. He wouldn’t just be running against Romney, he’d be running against the large tax advantage that a millionaire investor’s income provides.

Full article here


Greg Sargent (Wasington Post): Fact check of the day: CNN takes apart the ubiquitous GOP claim that tax hikes on the rich would be damaging to small businesses and the nation’s “job creators”:

In sharp contrast to the rhetoric, current data suggests small businesses don’t create an outsized number of jobs, very few small business owners fall into the top two tax brackets, and tax cuts for small businesses are ineffective stimulus measures.

    Relatively few small businesses would be affected: Extending the tax cuts for top earners for another decade would come at a significant cost – nearly $1 trillion in added debt over a decade. But small businesses wouldn’t see much of that cash. Only 2.5% to 3.5% of small businesses would be affected by an increase in those two rates.



it’s class warfare!

People Press: As the nation prepares for another round of deficit reduction debates, the public’s confidence in congressional leaders, particularly Republican leaders in Congress, has plummeted. Just 35% say they have a great deal or fair amount of confidence in Republican leaders in Congress to do the right thing when it comes to dealing with the federal budget deficit, down from 47% in May. Fully 62% say they have little or no confidence in the Republican leaders on this issue.

Public confidence in Barack Obama on the budget deficit, by comparison, has remained largely unchanged. The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center finds that 52% express at least a fair amount of confidence in Obama to do the right thing when it comes to dealing with the deficit, virtually unchanged from 55% earlier in the year.

The drop in confidence in GOP congressional leaders is broad based, even occurring among Republicans themselves …… Democrats offer a more positive assessment of their leaders’ handling of the deficit than Republicans do of theirs. Fully 84% of Democrats have at least a fair amount of confidence in Obama to do the right thing regarding the deficit, and 75% are confident in Democratic leaders in Congress….

…. The survey also finds continued public support for raising the tax rate on high incomes as a way to reduce the federal budget deficit and the size of the national debt. Two-thirds (67%) approve of raising the tax rate on incomes over $250,000 as a means of reducing the national debt … Just 30% disapprove…

Full article here


‘absolutely, totally true’

Paul Krugman: Well, it seems as if a number of people in the media have decided that (President) Obama was fibbing when he said that some millionaires pay lower tax rates than their secretaries – because, as the usual suspects triumphantly declare, on average millionaires pay higher average taxes than middle-income Americans.

This is, of course, stupid: the operative word is SOME.

And we’re not talking about one or two exceptional guys, either … If you look at the numbers since 2004, you’ll see that in a typical year between 30 and 40 percent of those super-high-income players paid an average tax rate of less than 15 percent; most of them paid less than 20 percent.

…. what becomes clear is that the Obama/Buffet claim is absolutely, totally true.

So why the attack? Probably because it’s such an effective line. And we can’t have populism that actually strikes a chord with the public, can we?


Buffett Rule Facts and Fictions



 Aw bless, our old buddy Mark Knoller – who’s not even trying any more to be impartial – is not happy with the President’s shocking proposal that the rich pay the same tax rate as the middle class.

He’s tired of hearing about Warren Buffett and his secretary, so he has a solution: in this Twitter exchange with a right-winger, he suggests Buffett pay his secretary in stock, thereby reducing her tax – and then they’ll both shut up.

Yep, that will sure solve the tax inequality issue for the whole of America.

It’s funny, CNN fired Chez Pazienza in 2008 for having a personal blog and contributing opinion pieces to The Huffington Post.

Meanwhile, Knoller regularly expresses his Teabagger-esque views on tax on Twitter, but that’s okay for the CBS White House Correspondent whose job it is to report impartially on the administration?

You know, impartial reports like this:

MediaMatters (August 2011): CBS News White House correspondent Mark Knoller whitewashed former President Bush’s role in creating $1.2 trillion in deficit for the 2009 fiscal year, instead blaming President Obama for every penny of debt increase since “the day Mr. Obama took office.” But the Congressional Budget Office had already projected $1.2 trillion in deficit before Obama took office, based entirely on Bush’s actions and economic conditions.

More here


Greg Sargent: Beltway head-in-sand-moment of the day: David Brooks is very, very upset with Obama for aggressively articulating his tax-the-rich vision, and signaling he won’t budge from it, in the face of Republicans who are aggressively articulating their no-tax-hikes-at-all-costs vision and signaling they won’t budge from it. That’s silly enough on its own. But then Brooks gives us this:

“He repeated the populist cries that fire up liberals but are designed to enrage moderates and conservatives.

Brooks must have missed all those polls that show solid public support for tax hikes on the wealthy, particularly the ones that show solid support for high end tax hikes among independents.


“i’m warren buffett’s secretary”


“this is not class warfare, this is math”

Full video:

President Obama talks about cutting the deficit from the Rose Garden of the White House, September 19


“I reject the idea that asking a hedge fund manager to pay the same tax rate as a plumber or a teacher is class warfare.”


“It’s also about fairness. It’s about whether we are, in fact, in this together. And we’re looking out for one another. You know what’s right. It’s time to do what’s right.”




Washington Post: When President Obama unveils his deficit-reduction plan this morning in the Rose Garden, the proposal sure to draw the most attention is his call for people making $1 million or more to pay more in taxes.

And there are (smart) politics everywhere in it. Here’s why.

1. Polling: The numbers on taxing the wealthy are very clear. In a July Washington Post/ABC poll, 72 percent of those tested supported raising taxes on those making $250,000 or more as a means of reducing the debt …. In our 50-50 political world, those numbers are as close as you can get to a political slam dunk.

2. Populism: Obama is an awkward populist, at best, but if ever there was a time when populism could sell, it’s now….

3. Middle class: These earners are, without question, the swing vote of the 2012 presidential election …. and at a time when many members of the middle class are feeling more and more squeezed economically, the idea of getting the wealthy to pay more will seem to many of them like a political no-brainer.

…. Make no mistake: President Obama has picked a political fight on the most solid ground on which he has to stand at this turbulent time. Winning it would help turn around his political fortunes as the calendar turns to 2012.

Full article here


Warren Buffett says he’s absolutely “fine” with President Obama calling the new plan to establish a minimum tax rate for individuals making more than $1 million a year the “Buffett Rule.”

….. the billionaire told the FOX Business Network the administration “asked me if they could use my name (on it) and I said, ‘Sure. It’s what I believe.'”

Buffett has long argued that the wealthiest Americans tend to pay a smaller portion of their income in federal taxes than middle-income earners because some millionaires and billionaires often get much of their income from capital gains, which are taxed at a lower rate than basic wages.

Buffett has argued that the “billionaire-friendly Congress” has coddled the wealthy and that that practice should end.

…. When asked if he’s heard complaints or gotten friendly jabs from his wealthy friends about the Buffett Rule, Buffett quipped:

“Well, I’ve employed a food taster, but other than that…”


‘good for him – and for us’

Steve Benen: …. About a month ago, Warren Buffett made a strong case in support of raising taxes on those who enjoy enormous wealth …. It looks President Obama is inclined to agree: “… on Monday he will call for a new minimum tax rate for individuals making more than $1 million a year to ensure that they pay at least the same percentage of their earnings as middle-income taxpayers …”

Everything we’ve seen from Obama this month suggests this White House has chosen a new posture when dealing with the GOP. The introduction of the American Jobs Act was a pleasant, progressive surprise; the White House’s reluctance to start making concessions was clearly a step in the right direction; word that Social Security is off the table is just what the left wanted to hear; and support for the “Buffett Rule” suggests Obama and his team aren’t afraid to draw contrasts with unpopular, hard-right congressional Republicans.

…. I’d bet the debt-ceiling fiasco changed Obama’s entire approach rather dramatically. The president very likely assumed that if he worked in good faith, offered reasonable concessions, and demonstrated a commitment to compromise and common ground, Republicans would respond in kind. The summer offered a painful lesson – those assumptions were wrong. GOP officials have rewritten the rules.

With those lessons in mind, the president is now taking a tougher line. Good for him – and for us.

Full post here


the ‘buffett rule’ ….. genius

NYT: President Obama on Monday will call for a new minimum tax rate for individuals making more than $1 million a year to ensure that they pay at least the same percentage of their earnings as middle-income taxpayers, according to administration officials.

…. the proposal adds a new and populist feature to Mr. Obama’s effort to raise the political pressure on Republicans to agree to higher revenues from the wealthy in return for Democrats’ support of future cuts from Medicare and Medicaid.

Mr. Obama, in a bit of political salesmanship, will call his proposal the “Buffett Rule”, in a reference to Warren E. Buffett, the billionaire investor who has complained repeatedly that the richest Americans generally pay a smaller share of their income in federal taxes than do middle-income workers, because investment gains are taxed at a lower rate than wages.

… The Obama proposal has little chance of becoming law unless Republican lawmakers bend. But by focusing on the wealthiest Americans, the president is sharpening the contrast between Republicans and Democrats with a theme he can carry into his bid for re-election in 2012.

It could also reassure Democrats who have feared that Mr. Obama would agree to changes in programs like Medicare without forcing Republicans to compromise on taxes.

Full article here







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