Buffett rule devoured

Buffett rule devoured

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Illustration by Josette Adame

The middle class will continue shoulder the burden of the United States economy. What’s new, right?
The “Buffett rule,” which would have required those who make over a million dollars a year to pay a 30 percent tax rate, was struck down in the United States Senate on April 16, 2012. Here’s the funny thing: The bill actually won the majority vote 51 to 45, but it still didn’t pass. Why not? Because it was filibustered by senate Republicans, which forced the requisite vote to 60.
Phew, that was a close one; our government almost accomplished something, and we can’t have that!
The rule was named after American investor and billionaire Warren Buffett, who said he disagreed with rich people, like himself, paying less in federal taxes, as a portion of income, than the middle class and voiced support for increased income taxes on the wealthy.
During President Obama’s State of the Union address, he related a story in which Buffett discovered that his secretary paid a much higher tax rate than he. The Buffett Rule called for taxation fairness, in a sense, and was supported by the Obama administration, and by many Democrats.
What exactly is the problem with taxing the rich more? Depending solely upon everyday Americans to bear an unfair share of the nation’s tax burden has prevented them from climbing the socioeconomic ladder. If this trend continues, soon there shall only the be rich and the poor; the haves and the have nots.
Isn’t the Senate being just a bit unreasonable? When you have millions, if not billions of dollars to your name, shouldn’t you be required to give back more to your country? The Buffett rule should have passed, and those who voted against it and filibustered it shouldn’t be re-elected during the coming election.
But here’s the kicker: It wouldn’t have mattered if the Buffett rule was voted into law.
Why not? Because rich people would just find a way around it. Let’s say the Buffett rule did go into effect, there would still be nothing stopping the wealthy from maxing out their earnings just below a million dollars and putting anything over and above that amount into trusts or tax shelters. What if, in response to that, we raise the capitol gains tax? Millionaires could then just divert their investment income offshore. Penalize offshore assets? The rich just reroute their investment income back into the U.S. and into various charities.
What’s that super evil meanie Senate Democrat? You want to tax charities now?! Why, you’re a monster!
Vote Romney in 2012.
The way things are set up right now, we can’t win. There are only a couple of things we can do: Number one, we put the word out to start a new “Modest Proposal” here in America, and start devouring the rich like so many Irish babies. We could even still call it the “Buffett rule,” but we’d have a Golden Corral that served millionaires.
Literally.
Option two is this: Democrats have to toughen the hell up. The Buffett Rule was never actually going to accomplish anything, but it would’ve symbolized the nation’s desire for fair taxation of the wealthy. If the Senate Democrats knew the Republicans were going to fight the bill tooth and nail anyway, they should have made them fight something ideologically strong.
The Buffett Rule was a good idea, but it was ultimately too weak willed. We don’t need a shift in policy, we need a shift in ideological consensus. And what consensus is that?
The wealthy deserve nothing from our government other than a higher bill.

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