Obama makes case for tax fairness; Romney, not so much


by Félix Pérez

If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not have a lower tax rate than the average teacher, secretary or middle class worker. That’s the message President Obama delivered to students and faculty Tuesday, April 10, at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton.

The president made the case for restoring fundamental tax fairness as the U.S. Senate prepares to vote next week on the Paying a Fair Share Act, better known as the Buffett Rule, after billionaire Warren Buffett, who famously pointed out that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.

“There’s a debate going on in this country right now: Could we succeed as a nation where a shrinking number of people are doing really, really well, but a growing number are struggling to get by? Or are we better off when everybody gets a fair shot and everybody does a fair share, and everybody plays by the same set of rules?” remarked the president.

The Buffett Rule would tax those who earn more than $1 million at a 30 percent rate — the same as the average middle class family. The rule seeks to correct an economic system that is widely viewed as being skewed toward the most wealthy and well connected.

Currently, nearly 25 percent of all millionaires pay a lower tax rate than middle income taxpayers. In addition, the average tax rate paid by the very highest-income Americans has fallen to nearly the lowest rate in more than 50 years.

President Obama’s challenge to Congress was also directed at politicians, most notably Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who do not want to ask the wealthy to pay more.

“A lot of the folks who were peddling these same trickle-down theories — including members of Congress and some people who are running for a certain office right now, who shall not be named —they’re doubling down on these old broken-down theories,” said Obama.

Romney, whose personal wealth is between $190 million to $250 million, generated unfavorable news coverage recently when he revealed he and his wife paid a 13.9 percent tax rate in 2010, lower than that of a person earning $50,000. Romney’s tax returns also revealed significant holdings in a Swiss bank account (since closed) and other investments in funds located in offshore locations, including the Cayman Islands, a well-known tax haven.

Take action today to ensure the wealthy pay their fair share.  Urge your U.S. Senators to support the Paying a Fair Share Act.

Reader Comments

  1. Amen Rosemary! Teachers know not to believe everything we read and hear, so Lucy should be better informed.

  2. Lucy’s comments confirm to me that Lucy is a teacher in name only. Lucy likely isn’t certified, doesn’t have a five year college degree which included one year of teaching for her credential. She like many so called private school or church hired teachers possess a two year Jr. college degree or more likely just a high school or GRE certificate. She hopes with a change in government she will be awarded Teacher status based on her minimum investment in her own education. Likely she performed home schooling on her own children because in her opinion she wished to make educational clones of her offsprings. This closed mindedness towards allowing children to be influenced by differing philosophies is giant step back towards the bigoted, misogynistic and dogmatic world of the fifties. I pray to GOD there aren’t more people out there like her!

  3. Lucy, are you REALLY a teacher? I would expect a teacher to be better informed, taking personal responsibility to get the facts before repeating the party line, ANY party line. Specifically:

    “his failed stimulus policies, which has put us in trillions of dollars in debt” Which failed policies are you referring to? The one that turned around the auto industry–which Mitt Romney said should be left to bankruptcy? Trillions of dollars in debt…we had a surplus when G W Bush came into office. It quickly disappeared with not one, but TWO wars and no tax increase to pay for them. In fact, President Bush chose this time to make tax cuts to the richest Americans. You said, “If the government would let people keep more of their money they would probably be more charitable and give by their own free will, because they will have more to give.” Doesn’t that apply right now with the tax cuts in place for these millionaires? How generous are they? These are some of the same people who made their money by selling bad mortgages.

    “punishing the rich by taxing them unfairly (sic)” When the richest Americans pay less or no tax, how fair is that? My husband and I are both teachers. I looked at our taxes and 210,000 millionaires paid less tax than we did. How fair is that?

    If you are, indeed, a “low middle class hard working teacher,” how do you think our students–and you–will fare when Romney signs a Paul Ryan-budget? Chop, chop education, chop, chop school food programs, chop, chop teacher salaries and/or jobs, chop, chop unemployment benefits. When you are RIFFed, what will you do for income?

    Please do the responsible thing and look into these things before you listen to politicians and repeat what they say.

    1. I agree. Lucy is probably an elect Mitt Romney campaign worker. She has taken the rhetoric straight from Romney campaign literature. I can’t believe that hard working people still buy into trickle down economics after 8 years of Bush bleeding our country dry with tax breaks for the rich and 2 needless wars. Wake up to reality.

  4. Mitt Romney would be a better change. We need less government and more private innovation. There is too much waste within the school system and the monies not being directed to areas that will directly benefit the students.

    Obama is all about spend, spend, spend and expecting the well to do to take up the slack that he has created. Expecting the well to do to pay for his failed stimulus policies, which has put us in trillions of dollars in debt and now wants to steal from the rich to give to the poor is unfair!! I am a low middle class hard working teacher and I do not think that punishing the rich by taxing them unfairly will not bring the debt down as a lot of economist have said. A flat tax would be a better way to go. Even in the Bible ten percent was considered fair rich or poor. The rich will still pay more because they make more if we have a flat tax. That is considered fair in my opinion. The fair thing to do is for everyone to pay the same tax as everyone else. What Obama wants to do is unfair and down right thievery. Distribution of wealth is unfair. Why should my hard earn money go to people who can work but don’t. That is unfair. If the government would let people keep more of their money they would probably be more charitable and give by their own free will, because they will have more to give. Government wants the money and distribute it themselves, so they can keep more for themselves and grow the government until we have to depend on them for everything. THAT IS UNFAIR!! Unions also abuse the union dues given in good faith to protect the employees, but all they do is fill the pockets of the union leaders and pay for the campaigns of there selected politicians, whether you approve of their choice or not. BRAVO TO MITT ROMNEY and down with obama. Obama brought us a lot of change, and no hope for a better future.

    1. My federal tax rate was over 27% this year. I would love to be paying less than 14% like Mitt. I will even meet him near the middle at 20%. Don’t you think if Congress and the lobbyists were paying the same rates as the general public, the tax code would be rewritten and be much easier to understand?

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