Driving the Week: The Buffett Rule Cometh

Beware: trickle down taxation is coming.

While we were all celebrating Easter weekend, President Obama and the Democrats were plotting. They will use this week in order to launch a campaign for a tax known as the “Buffett Rule,” named after billionaire investor and lefty tax heartthrob Warren Buffett. The tax is actually nothing new, and because it’s not a new idea, we can look at its predecessor to learn how this tax will affect the American people in the future.

The “Buffett Rule” tax says that those who make more than $1 million a year must give a minimum of 30% of their earnings to the federal government. We know that this tax is only expected to bring in $47 billion over the next ten years. That’s just less than $5 billion a year. The government would spend that $5 billion in less than a day.

So we know this rule is not about paying down the deficit, is it about fairness? That’s one reason liberals are saying it’s needed. But look at its predecessor, the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). The AMT was designed to ensure that the wealthy pay a minimum rate of taxes. But what happened? Well, we know it didn’t work because we’re having the exact same conversation right now. We also know that the AMT is going to affect 20 to 30 million middle class Americans, contrary to its original promise.

We also know that when this tax hits middle class Americans, family farms and small businesses, lawmakers will use the additional revenue to prove that the “wealthy” are paying their fair share. They will tell the American people: “look at all the money coming in thanks to this tax!” And they will never tell you that a large percentage of that money is thanks to the tax hike on average Americans. How is that fair?

So if the “Buffett Rule” is not about paying down the deficit, and it’s not about fairness, what is this tax about? An Senior Democratic aide told Roll Call:

“It resonates and we think it totally puts the Republicans on the defensive on the tax issue for the first time maybe ever.”

Ah, ok. It’s about winning the election. Glad they cleared that up.

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