A LOOK AT THE BUFFETT RULE

Mar 31st, 2012 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Senior Finances

The Buffett Rule Explained

SCJ has talked about this in the past, but now that there is a concerted effort to pass legislation about it, it’s time to look at the Buffett Rule again.

It’s really pretty simple.  Omaha billionaire, Warren Buffett, has been rather candid about the fact that his income tax rate is less than that of his secretary.  He believes, as do many senior citizens, that millionaires and billionaires should not pay less in taxes as a share of their income than middle class families pay — as a matter of fairness. In fact, if the wealthy paid the same share of their income as middle class families pay, (including lifting the payroll tax ceiling), the debt issues would be significantly addressed and the conversation about what should happen to Social Security and Medicare would go away.

It just does not make sense that, in the middle of a crisis with finances in this country, we still have millionaires and billionaires paying less than 20% of their income in taxes. Let’s pull a figure out of the air… let’s say I’m a billionaire and my net income in 2011 was $225 million.  If, after all my deductions, I end up paying only $45m in taxes, I’m only paying 20%, and I have $180m left to play with.  Seniors, that is one hundred and eighty million dollars.  Here it is this way:  $180,000,000.

The National Debt Crisis

So this leads one to begin to ask some questions.  Like, one answer to the national debt crisis is so simple we need to ask, “Why hasn’t the Buffett Rule been passed already?”  Is there some gain in keeping the tax burden on the middle class, and the perks in the hands of the wealthy? Some say the wealthy need their money to create new jobs.  So we have another question:  “If they create new jobs with money they save in taxes, where are the new jobs in the past five years?”  They’ve been saving millions (probably billions) in tax savings.  Why do we have an employment crisis if they spend their tax savings on creating jobs?

SCJ is actually wondering if there is an ulterior motive in Congress’ refusal (so far) to pass the Buffett Rule.  Is it possible some legislators want to keep the unemployment crisis front and center so their political lives and reelection will be assured next fall?

If Congressional senators and representatives are playing political football with the Buffett Rule, shame on them. They need to be released from any further responsibility for representing senior citizens.  Be sure to vote this fall.

 

 



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