Was the Buffett Rule wisely obstructed?

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.

Max Rubin | Daily Trojan

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.



8 replies
  1. whirligig
    whirligig says:

    I totally agree with usc alum! I have 2 questions for Sarah: regarding your thought “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.”

    where exactly should spending be cut? and who are “the American people” that get to decide where we can us this, free’d up capital as they see fit?

    • whirligig
      whirligig says:

      I need to correct my typo in my last line “we can USE this, free’d up capital as they see fit?”

  2. Tom Watson
    Tom Watson says:

    I don’t understand the logic of this article, essentially stating that it’s not fair for the rich to pay their fair share. There are various ways in which this can be enacted, but the point is that there is an inequity today that is apparent and should be corrected.

  3. Thekatman
    Thekatman says:

    … A vote for Obama in 2012, not 2008. My apologies for the typos, too. Darn iPad keyboard….

  4. Christopher Ganiere
    Christopher Ganiere says:

    The poor are not getting poorer – they have record obesity, cell phones, running water, autos, vacations, cable television… The USA poor are more like the middle class across the world or the aristocracy of the 17th century.

    Living on the tax payers’ dime is very tempting. It is tough to break out of that dependency. Sitting at home, you spend your time the way you want, but if you start working you lose the benefits.

    Payroll taxes are shockingly high – the federal government deserves a cut of every hour of your work? Really!? Should the labor of one citizen have so little value that the federal government demand 15%, 25%, 39%? At what point is the percentage so high that you would not pay or you stop working? Is the federal government providing value to you or are they requiring payment for things that you could buy yourself for much less? Remember every federal employee gets paid to show up to work, they have annual raises, paid vacations, subsidized health care, and lifetime pensions.

    Since one trillion+ dollars are borrowed every year to pay for federal spending, the spending really costs much more (interest on the T-Bills & T-Bonds). It is like buying drinks with a credit card and rolling over the debt again and again.

  5. Thekatman
    Thekatman says:

    The defeat ofmthe Buffet Rule is a testamony to fairness and equitability awareness. All this proposed “rule” does is alienate and divide the people of this country. We have not seen any sort of legislation being proposed by the Obama Admin to promote the creation of meaningful jobs in this country. Job growth in the Federal govefnment sector is not real job growth. It is the promotion of big government, which Obama campaigned against in 2008.

    If you kids want true fairness and equitabilitymamongs thepeople, then press your Congressman for a flat tax, no more loopholes. Cain’s 999 is an example of a plan that can work….

    Just know that a vote for Obama in Nov 2008, is a vote to castrate the US economy, its positive global outreach and will be the beginning of an unrestrained President with nothing tomlose to effect his chmages, which we know now are destructive to America’s security.

  6. usc alum
    usc alum says:

    so did the writer confuse socialism with communism?

    and how is 30% even high?
    someone making 150k+ is paying around 30% tax and probably cannot get it THAT much lowered.
    Ironically, those making millions are probably paying less taxes than those making 25k a year.
    so yes, it should be FLAT. CLOSE ALL LOOPHOLES.
    your middle class is SHRINKING, and they are also paying the highest tax in proportion to their income!

    the rich is getting richer and the poor is getting poorer. the US is a failing economy right now because you are spending too much on WAR. so slash those spending, decrease the deficit and invest more on public health and education.

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