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Obama administration: Buffett Rule never intended as a way to reduce the deficit

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By Doug Powers  •  April 10, 2012 01:04 PM

**Written by Doug Powers

According to the Obama administration’s official position this week, the Buffett Rule isn’t about chipping away at the deficit, but rather putting fairness in the tax code:

Introducing a minimum 30 percent income tax on millionaires “was never our plan to bring the deficit down and get the debt under control,” Jason Furman, the principal deputy director of the White House National Economic Council, told reporters on a conference call Monday afternoon. “This is not the president’s entire tax plan. We’re not trying to say this solves all our economic problems, all our budget problems.”
[...]
Obama will be in Boca Raton, Fla., on Tuesday afternoon as part of the administration’s renewed push. Vice President Joe Biden also has a speech about tax fairness scheduled for Thursday in New Hampshire.

Biden’s speech will be entitled “Raising the level of patriotism in America.”

Where would anybody have gotten the silly notion that the Buffett Rule would help reduce the deficit? Well, President Obama’s State of the Union address in January for starters:

Tax reform should follow the Buffett Rule. If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes. And my Republican friend Tom Coburn is right: Washington should stop subsidizing millionaires. In fact, if you’re earning a million dollars a year, you shouldn’t get special tax subsidies or deductions. On the other hand, if you make under $250,000 a year, like 98 percent of American families, your taxes shouldn’t go up. (Applause.) You’re the ones struggling with rising costs and stagnant wages. You’re the ones who need relief.

Now, you can call this class warfare all you want. But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes? Most Americans would call that common sense.

We don’t begrudge financial success in this country. We admire it. When Americans talk about folks like me paying my fair share of taxes, it’s not because they envy the rich. It’s because they understand that when I get a tax break I don’t need and the country can’t afford, it either adds to the deficit, or somebody else has to make up the difference — like a senior on a fixed income, or a student trying to get through school, or a family trying to make ends meet. That’s not right. Americans know that’s not right. They know that this generation’s success is only possible because past generations felt a responsibility to each other, and to the future of their country, and they know our way of life will only endure if we feel that same sense of shared responsibility. That’s how we’ll reduce our deficit. That’s an America built to last. (Applause.)

As for the recent administration claims that implementing the Buffett Rule wouldn’t make a big dent in the deficit, I believe it:

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Update: More of the Obama administration playing “Point/Counterpoint” amongst themselves:

“[N]o one ever suggested that implementing the Buffett Rule would contribute in large measure to reducing the deficit,” said press secretary Jay Carney.

However, Obama’s own campaign team is touting the Buffett Rule as a way to pay down … the federal deficit.

“The Buffett Rule would reduce the deficit while helping to pay for investments in education, clean energy, jobs, and other programs that will help our economy grow,” Obama 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina claims on BarackObama.com.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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