It will not come as a surprise to any regular reader of this blog that the latest discussions about the so-called “Buffet Tax” are a waste of time.
This chart explains why.
What it shows is that over the next decade, Obama plans to spend $45.4 trillion and add $9.6 trillion in debt. Remember that’s trillion with a “t.”
The Buffet Tax would bring in $46.7 billion. That’s billion with a “b.”
No chump change to be sure, but do you know how many billions make up a trillion? One thousand.
That means the Buffet Tax would pay for .1% of spending over the next ten years. Every little bit helps, I get that, but the President has offered the Buffet Tax as if it’s some kind of solution.
It’s as if he wants us to believe that Republicans are standing in the way of some transcendent solution to our debt crisis.
I’m not parsing words, or taking them out of context. This is exactly what Obama said:
“And that basic principle of fairness, if applied to our tax code, could raise enough money that only do we pay for our jobs bill, but we also stabilize our debt and deficits for the next decade. And as I said when I made the announcement, this is not politics; this is math.”
This is just six months ago, and our president is saying this with a straight face.
Surely he’s seen the above figures. Surely he knows that under no circumstances could that be true, even if our economy grew at 20% a year, there’s no way this tax would balance the budget. And that says nothing of what it would do at the sluggish growth rates we’re currently experiencing.
The Buffet Tax is an illusion, a red herring put out there to make Republicans look like corporate hacks, stuck on oppressing the middle and working classes in order to favor the rich.
Should the wealthiest Americans be paying higher income taxes? I’d say a stipulated “yes.”
If you lowered or even eliminated corporate taxes (why should a company pay just for being a company? That seems utterly ridiculous), but significantly increased fees for FCC violations or other issues.
I wouldn’t be opposed to higher income taxes on the wealthy if we also lowered capital gains taxes, thus encouraging business owners to hold more of their assets in the company, re-investing and increasing the value of the company, rather than the owner.
This could lead to innovation and job creation with more capital tied up in the business, rather than the pockets of the owners.
Of course, neither of those account for the people who are doctors, lawyers, artists and athletes, but there would certainly be more incentives for those people to give to charities in order to receive the tax breaks associated with charitable giving.
It’s not that higher taxes on the wealthy are inherently bad. When our president talks about “fairness” in taxation, perhaps the rich ought to pay higher income tax. On the other hand, in fairness, we ought to also reduce the taxes that are almost exclusive to that same group by changing corporate and capital gains tax formulas.
Closing loop holes, lowering corporate taxes and limited capital gains taxes could all actually increase the overall tax flow because companies have a greater incentive to grow and re-invest.
Just putting a plan forward and saying, “Here, this is the cure,” when you know it isn’t can be categorized as nothing short of a bold-faced lie.
That’s exactly what President Obama has done in this case. The solutions to our debt crisis are complex and diverse. For the President to act any other way is flatly disingenuous.
But we elected a president who tells you what you want to hear. This is what you get: a liar.