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.