A February Associated Press poll showed that nearly 67 percent of Americans favor a law, often referred to as the Buffett Rule, which would set a minimum income tax rate of 30 percent on all households earning $1 million or more annually.
The Buffett Rule prompted the proposal of similar legislation: a minimum income tax rate of 30 percent for all households earning $2 million or more per year. On Monday, Senate Republicans blocked the measure — and for good reason.
Unless we want to move even further from the free-market values that have allowed America to flourish, we must continue to oppose the Buffett Rule as an affront to justice and fairness.
Ironically, President Barack Obama promoted the Buffett Rule on the idea that it espouses “fairness.” He believes for Americans to have access to quality education and infrastructure, the rich must be taxed more; they must pay for what he perceives as the common good.
Such an idea could not be further from the truth.
America has been successful largely because people have been duly rewarded for their hard work. Obama’s redistributionist measures would essentially punish taxpayers who have lawfully benefited from the fruits of their labor. They would stifle the creativity and the burning desire for success that have characterized this country since its inception.
Democrats emphasize that revising tax codes based on the Buffett Rule would raise $47 billion in revenue over the next 10 years, revenue that could be used to reduce the federal deficit. But such an amount would barely put a dent in the nearly $16-trillion deficit that currently plagues our nation.
Plus, revenue from the Buffett Rule is ultimately a side issue. What is really at stake here is the fundamental value of fairness that Obama referred to. Instead of promoting and sustaining fairness, such revisions of the tax code would stomp on it by sending the message that working hard and being wealthy is something that should be punished.
The stigma attached to wealth has become even more prominent with the presence GOP presidential contender Mitt Romney. He has come by his wealth fairly, but voters and critics consider him to be too privileged to connect with the average voter. In a not-so-sly reference to Romney, Obama slammed the “folks who were peddling … trickle-down theories — including some who are running for a certain office right now who shall not be named.” Rhetoric like this only serves to alienate the American people from each other based on wealth, creating resentment of the rich from people who are not as financially fortunate.
Here’s a thought: Cut spending drastically and free up capital so that the American people can use it as they see fit. Not only would the results more likely increase the economic security of the middle class but also our principles of freedom, fairness and hard work.
Sarah Cueva is a sophomore majoring in Middle East studies and political science. Point/Counterpoint runs Fridays.