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What's the point of the Buffett Rule if most millionaires already pay higher effective tax rates than almost everyone else?
April 16th, 2012
03:06 PM ET

What's the point of the Buffett Rule if most millionaires already pay higher effective tax rates than almost everyone else?

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

As the Senate debates the Buffett Rule - guess what?

Most millionaires are already paying higher effective tax rates than almost everyone else.

Named after billionaire Warren Buffett, the proposal would mean millionaires pay at least 30% of their income in federal taxes.

But CNN Money reports that while many millionaires pay an effective rate of less than 30%, they still pay a higher percentage than most others.

For example, the tax policy center estimates that counting federal income and payroll taxes, the average effective federal tax rate for people making between $40,000 and $50,000 was 12% last year.

Those making more than $1 million pay more than 20%.

The difference is even bigger if you look only at income tax liability. Middle income groups have an effective tax rate of 3.2% while millionaires pay 18.9%.

Sort of throws cold water on President Obama's argument that the Buffett Rule would be some sort of exercise in fairness.

Under the current rules, a highly paid executive would be taxed at 35% while a millionaire who earns the majority of his income from investments would be taxed at 15% on long-term capital gains and dividends.

The White House argues that the Buffett Rule is aimed at millionaires who can structure their income to minimize their taxes - you know, people like Mitt Romney.

Also, it's worth noting while the Obama Administration runs annual deficits of more than $1 trillion, the Buffett Rule would add less than $5 billion per year to the national treasury. Chump change.

Here’s my question to you: What's the point of the Buffett Rule if most millionaires already pay higher effective tax rates than almost everyone else?

Tune in to the Situation Room at 5pm to see if Jack reads your answer on air.

And, we love to know where you’re writing from, so please include your city and state with your comment.

Posted by
Filed under: Buffett Rule • Taxes • Warren Buffett
soundoff (151 Responses)
  1. JD in NH

    It's to make sure no one falls through the cracks . . . like Mr. Romney who paid 13% on his last return. By the way, much to the dismay of conservatives, it could just as easily be called the Reagan Rule since the former president made a nearly identical proposal.

    April 16, 2012 at 1:25 pm |
  2. bonnie from NJ

    Jack are you a member of the 1% and working for Fox, cause you sure sound like it. The rich, (you know, the "job creators") have a big hand in the downfall of this country for their own greed and they pay a lower tax rate now than anytime in history. I just read in Newsweek that over 90% of the income increase in recent history has gone to the 1% and over 35% has gone to the .001%, They are exporting all the jobs, hiding income and certainly not creating jobs. I know that increasing their taxes is not going to balance the budget, but come on, they have to share some of the hardship going on now.

    April 16, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  3. tom Bulger, Canandaigua, NY

    The point is fairness. The widow will always give her mite, but millionaires other than Buffet will sometimes try passing a camel through the eye of a needle rather than contribute to the common good.

    April 16, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  4. Russ in PA

    Hey, my name is Obama, and I'm going to put another nonsense tax on rich people so that you'll vote for me. After all, we aren't spending enough and need to sweat out each last drop of blood from each stone, and that will prove that I am one of you average folk. After all, look at Europe where their tax rates are higher and they're still in debt. Oops... I mean, I'm a hero of the working class, and that is why I support all the labor laws that outlaw the ability of poor, less advantaged people to offer their services at a lower price to compete against labor unions and their inflated prices. Oops, did I just say that?

    Ron Paul in 2012...

    April 16, 2012 at 1:38 pm |
  5. Beth-Ontario, Canada

    The point of the Buffett Rule is fairness. Plain and simple. When a Democrat made the same this point on Early Start the other morning, Will can asked her what she meant by fairness. Duh!! Is the term really that foreign to the GOP?

    April 16, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
  6. Steve, NY

    The millionaires tax rate is 35% why lower it to 30%?? Those people that pay less invest in creating jobs. They also take a risk in loosing their investments also. So what Obama is proposing is a joke. I hope Congress raises the taxes to keep the stupid Democrat's mouths shut and let them suffer when the economy gets worse. The people will then wake up. This may backfire on the stupid Democrats. What Obama is doing is appealing to the poor and the ignorant that makes him look like he's stickinng it to the rich. As I understand it, Buffet owes billions of dollars in back taxes. He's fighting the IRS. If he's that patriotic why don't he just pay the billions of dollars in back taxes and his rate will be over 30%.. Is he trying to butter up to Obama so that the IRS will drop his lawsuit and he can keep his 15% rate.
    What we need is to reform the tax code and not lower the tax rate and why is Obama's tax rate at 20.5% when most people that make under $100,000 are paying more that 20%. Is Obama smoking us again??
    What the Press needs to do is spell this out in simple logic the truth, with no smoke and emphasise the truth over and over. Most people get smoked real easy and who suffers, the American people that voted for the smoking politicians. .

    April 16, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  7. steve

    The buffett rule is not the anserw to the problem.We need to get rid of the irs because it take money out of peoples pockets that could be spent in this country and spent by the goverment in all the other countries and never makes it back here.If people here spend it,it stays here.We need to just charge a sales tax that is the same for everyone,no loop holes for anyone we all pay the same amount on every dollar. Steve in il.

    April 16, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  8. Richard Texas

    Well even if the wealthy paid the same tax rate as every other American that actually pays taxes it would be gone in a mater of minutes. Our government is using inventive ideas to take more money from people is all it amounts to. As long as our government keeps up with the wasteful spending then taxing people more money will do nothing to lower the deficit. Personally I think it is nothing more then a Ponzi scheme made legal by our creative congress.

    April 16, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
  9. Eric - Houston

    Politics, pure politics. The Buffett rule is just an even less sensible Alternative Minimum Tax. I do not believe anyone with any tax writing experience in either party actually wants it, but it is easy to put forward, complicated to argue against, very class divisive and nothing that could actually pass, perfect for politicians.

    April 16, 2012 at 1:59 pm |
  10. Riley ODay

    The point is to pay more for the operating cost of running the country . The more you make in this beautiful country the more you pay. common sense.

    April 16, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  11. Bernie of Lowell.

    Businesses receive favoritism in police and fire protection, as well as massive benefits from our public education system, giving them the qualified workers they need to keep their enterprises functional. Furthermore, our military is deployed globally to make certain there are no piracy, naval blockades and revolts of cheaper laborers. The real question is: do the rich pay an appropriate tax on the vastly greater benefits they receive from our governments?

    April 16, 2012 at 2:04 pm |
  12. Mark in Oklahoma City, OK

    I have a feeling that if somehow the government could take 99% of our income, Jack,....that still wouldn't be enough.

    April 16, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  13. John from Alabama

    Jack: If your statement were true I would say their is no reason for the Buffett Rule, but you are wrong. Millionaires pay tax lawyers, and accounts alot of money, which is a tax deduction. To find ways or loopholes for them to keep their money. If there were no loopholes they would pay between 30 and 40%, but they have the loopholes, because Congressman and Senators use these loopholes. Loopholes allow people like Mitt Romney to only pay 15%. While most of Middle Income America pays 25% to 35% effective rate.

    April 16, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  14. Gary in California

    It's just political posturing. Sure there are uber-rich that are taxed at too low a rate and that needs to be corrected but it won't make enough of a difference to fix our problem. All our taxes need to increase and government spending needs to decrease in order to fix our current debt and deficit problem. The problem is that our politicians don't want to state the obvious but painful in an election year. Wow, knock me over with a feather Jack.

    April 16, 2012 at 2:06 pm |
  15. Bizz, Quarryville Pennsylvania

    I think the point is some wealthy man running for president who only pays 17% tax rate and has offshore accounts including a Swiss bank account will be made to pay his fair share. That is what makes me mad. Romney calling for cuts in education while we are way down the education pole among nations around the world. I just think it is time that everyone including myself contribute that is what America is about. Here is a man running for president with a Swiss bank account and offshore accounts paying only 17% tax rate and yelling for more cuts for the wealthy. That makes a lot of people mad including myself. This excuse of the trickle-down theory saying give the wealthy more money and they will trickle it down to the rest of us just doesn't fly with the working class anymore.

    April 16, 2012 at 2:10 pm |
  16. Phyllis G. Williams

    What's the point of the Buffett Rule if most millionaires already pay higher effective tax rates than almost everyone else?

    I guess it will regulate a system that had no order.
    "Charge them that are rich...that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate
    ...that they may lay hold on eternal life" (1st Timothy 6: 17-19).

    April 16, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  17. Loren

    Jack, you ask a naive question. Politics, Chicago politics to be exact. Ignore reality and provide circuses and bread. So while President Obama's friends in the financial community continue to rake in millions from their salaries and bonuses without fear of prosecution, waive the prospect of a new tax against the Republican milliionaire base and inflame the masses against those rich ingrates. President Obama's cynicism apparently knows no bounds.

    April 16, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  18. Bill of New Mexico

    The Buffett mess is politics.

    Make taxes prorated and simple and remove the loop-holes.

    For the budget deficit–either cut across the board or increase the taxes, but eliminate the deficit.

    April 16, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
  19. Ed from California

    Jack, all this does is raise the tax rate up to an even level of 30% lees deductions. Our tax rate is around 35% less deductions Look, we all want good roads, bridges, schools....all of our services that we all want cost money. I don't agree that our "hired help" running amok in D.C, thinking that they are entitled to a lavish lifestyle,and waited on hand and foot by Lobbyists should go unchecked. They need to be controlled in the worse way. We all need to wake up and get back to basics that our founding citizens wanted....a country that works and lives together. After all, it's.... "We the people of the United States..........". It's not, "We the wealthy, that can buy a corrupt government, that does our bidding"....is it? Mr. Boehner, "When are you going to return all of our outsourced jobs"?? A working American is a happy taxpaying American! And they have no time to complain, or watch the news, or protest!!

    April 16, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  20. james robert in north carolina

    The point of the Buffett rule is politics, pure and simple. The Buffett Rule, which very few people understand, is a weapon in Obama's arsenal to distract the voters from his record. The Buffett rule means about the same thing as that sign that says, "Bridge ices before road." I still don't understand that either.

    April 16, 2012 at 2:24 pm |
  21. Paul, Parry Sound, Ontario

    The point is to kick Mitt (Mr. 15%) Romney in the wallet.

    April 16, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
  22. Doug Ericson

    Its a gate-way tax. Once they increase the income tax rate for the highest income earners, it will be easier for the Government to raise taxes for everyone. Property taxes are going to rise even while services decrease, and property values go down. A National sales tax is a sure thing to come. The inertia of the Federal, State and Local Governments is so great, that they can't correct themselves. The only thing that would save the USA in the long run is a depression so severe, that the Government would have to decrease in size by one half or more. Doug, Pepperell, MA.

    April 16, 2012 at 2:30 pm |
  23. Larry from Georgetown, Tx

    Politics is perception and at least 60% of Americans perceive that the rich are getting richer and the rest of us are footing the bills. This is nothing more than another way to drive a wedge between people like those that live in gated communities versus those that live in poverty.

    April 16, 2012 at 2:35 pm |
  24. kim smith, Dodge City, Ks.

    The talk about effective tax rate is an attempted diversion to distract people from the real problem, loop-holes, exemptions and legislation written with an intent to defraud the system. I don't care if they pay the same tax rate as us " po'folk", as long as they don't have the means to avoid paying the full amount without deferrments of any kind.

    April 16, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  25. Peg in NY

    There is absolutely no point to it.

    April 16, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  26. David Rand

    Paid 20% tax rate last year..and paid a higher tax rate than Romney.
    Lets just say...Romney made ALOT more than I...at $20Million.
    There should be a maximum rate of deductions allow based on % of Gross taxable income and this would not happen.
    We have a progressive tax rate for a reason..yet we then give tax loop holes to take advantage.
    Ooops..i foget, if Romney would have paid an extre 5%, then employment would have dropped an the economy would have been devastated, right ?

    April 16, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
  27. jk in MN

    This must be some 1% spin on the issue. I think we should just remeber what is is place: the Bush Tax cuts – they were in reality the root cause of the deficits we are now seeing (plus starting 2 un funded wars). Let them expire – period.

    April 16, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  28. ImALibertarian

    To the ignorant and uneducated, it sounds like jealously merits a reward.

    April 16, 2012 at 2:45 pm |
  29. RickFromDetroit

    The only reason that some of the millionaires are paying a higher tax rate than many Americans is because many Americans are earning a much lower income, and the government continues to give these people tax cuts to "Prop Up" the stagnant Consumer Spending. Consumer Spending accounts for 70% of the U.S. Economy, but we currently have 46 million Americans living below poverty and 97 million Americans living a low income standard of living. These two groups of low income people account for 45% of all Americans and their anemic Consumer Spending, because of their low incomes, has caused soaring costs for entitlement programs and a major loss of tax revenues collected by the government.

    In summary, we have too many wealthy and too few middle class and this is do to the "Unequal Distribution of Wealth" we have in this country.

    April 16, 2012 at 2:48 pm |
  30. Brad, Portland, OR

    You're getting your "information" from the Republican propaganda machine again, Jack.

    Most millionaires make most of their income from investments, which are taxed at 15%, which is a much lower rate than the average taxpayer pays.

    And the millionaires who make their money from wages, like CEOs, sports figures, and movie stars, have an army of accountants to use every deduction, loophole, and tax shelter in existence.

    They're also paying at a much lower rate than the rest of us.

    Of course, if you contend that the Buffet Rule is unnecessary because you really believe that most millionaires already *do* pay the Buffet Rule rate, then why not pass it? Republicans can appear to be bipartisan, and it won't cost their constituents anything extra anyway.

    April 16, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
  31. Eric Stearley

    If you look at tax on their salaries, then yes, perhaps they do pay more, but I think it's reasonable to say that most millionaires make a substantial amount off of their investments, and this is why the Buffett rule is important. Assuming someone has just $1 million, If they can find a decent investment, make, say 5% annually, they pull in $50,000 in capital gains, taxed at just 15%. When someone actually works the same $50,000 paid as salary, perhaps their only form of income, they're taxed at 25%. If this doesn't seem fair, you agree with Mr. Buffett.

    April 16, 2012 at 2:56 pm |
  32. Ken in California

    The point is, collectively America's businesses are becoming more reluctant to pay their workers good wages that results in lower taxes their employees pay. Anyway most of the wealthy got rich for decades on trillions of dollars of government spending. Our national debt tells us so. Maybe it is time to put some of that money back to where it came from.

    April 16, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  33. Paul P.

    I think most people are coming to the conclusion that this push isn't about numbers, its about principle. Tough times and austerity are a necessary component for future fiscal responsibility, and before government puts one more burden on the backs of the poor and middle class, we need those that possess all the money, power and get all the breaks, to take a hit as well. Social integrity depends on it.

    April 16, 2012 at 3:00 pm |
  34. Gerry

    Strickly political to appease the redistribution culture.

    Gerry
    Ash Fork, Az.

    April 16, 2012 at 3:04 pm |
  35. Davew, Orlando, FL

    The point? Just another talking point for Obama’s reelection campaign, just like the non-negotiable public option. But I seriously doubt that millionaires pay a higher rate. They may pay more taxes in dollars, but those taxes are a much smaller percentage of their disposable incomes than anyone else’s. And that doesn’t even count those who have no disposable income, those who can hardly stay one paycheck away from homelessness.

    April 16, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  36. David of Alexandria, VA

    Purely campaign optics. The rule is practically inane and the CBO now seems to feel it will add to the deficit. Absent comprehensive tax reform, this is simply one more layer of complexity in our already complex tax code. But if you can't run on your record, it spins the conversation to the populist view. It's a little like making birth control an issue when 90% of the health care plans already covered it and anyone else could get it for free from the national health clinics. A non-issue made an issue and distracting us from the real issues facing the country.

    April 16, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  37. Dave R

    For most of us, our income comes from salaries and wages, what the IRS calls earned income. Millionaires, like Buffet, make most of their income in the form of non-earned income, that is dividends and capital gains. The rate on dividends and capital gains is only 15%, which is less than half the rate they would pay on earned income (salaries and wages).

    April 16, 2012 at 3:09 pm |
  38. Dave - Phx

    Because they are the benefactors of making money off of the workers of this country, they should be the most patriotic and give back when the nation needs help. Or is this just a way of you complaining that you may have to pay more taxes Jack?

    April 16, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
  39. bud rupert

    No point at all Jacak. If they increase the tax rates on the rich they will only find more loop holes to lower their adjusted gross and still pay less. And let's be clear: we all do it!....The tax issue is a political football that both sides use to minipulate the voting public. Get rid of all deductions and have a flat progressive tax on all income. The feds will have more revenue and will illiminate cheating – well to a large degree anyway. Problem is-that will never happen because it takes away the major talking point between the 2 parties.

    April 16, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  40. Jenna Roseville CA

    What's the point of the Buffett Rule if most millionaires already pay higher effective tax rates than almost everyone else?

    Jack the problem is that the wealthy are NOT paying the higher rate because of the Bush Tax Credits and other deductions that middle and poor Americans are not privy to.

    Post Reagan, credits, deductions, etc were written into our tax code by Republicans to protect their base the wealthy.With that said Reagan must be spinning in his grave. He too saw the need for the wealthy to really pay their fair share and the wealthy were still wealthy paying the higher taxes.

    BTW Jack, one of our daughter's pulled in 48K last year and I can tell you should would have LOVED to have only paid 12% in taxes. She paid more than double that in Federal and she also paid a state tax where she lives.

    Jenna
    Roseville CA

    April 16, 2012 at 3:13 pm |
  41. MNResident

    In a word, Mr. Cafferty-POLITICS!!!!!

    April 16, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
  42. John Lake Charles, LA

    It's not the effective tax rate, it's the total taxes they pay or don't pay that matters. As far as I'm concerned, the tax rate for anybody making over $10 million should be 90%. Nobody is worth $10 miilion dollars a year, I don't care what they do for a living.

    April 16, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  43. Pete in Georgia

    Jack, the media mis-information about tax rates of the "Rich" is out there for one reason only : To deceive Americans into supporting income redistribution and class warfare which is the Obama Administration's No. 1 priority. The media knows this but will NEVER..........................EVER talk about it, illustrate the truth of how the wealthy pay MORE than their fair share of taxes, or help educate the public with true factual reports. Hidden agendas everywhere.
    Pathetic.

    April 16, 2012 at 3:15 pm |
  44. Paul in Colorado

    The point is to swing the sucker vote, the folks who, if you repeat something enough times will believe it. The rest of us know, of course, that the Buffet Rule applies only to capital gains windfalls, a relatively small portion of oveall tax revenues. Unfortunately, the sucker vote comprises a relatively large portion of the electorate.

    April 16, 2012 at 3:16 pm |
  45. Karl in Flint, MI

    How about we go back to the Eisenhower tax rates where the top was 90%. We were in great shape and everyone was happy. Now those folks have gone and left their fortunes to their bratty snot nosed kids that have no clue HOW it was made, on who's sweaty brow, to whine that they deserve it all and no one else matters. The GOP/Tea Party in a nutshell.

    April 16, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
  46. Gigi Oregon

    How much did Bushes war cost and is ridding piggy back on President Obama's budget. Money for war is sad. Not just for the waste but for our young men and women who died for the gloating and greed "Of Hawks". It's not the middle class that profits with war. It's the corporate world. Who need to pay 40% tax rate. It's millionaires that grease the palms of Government Representatives. Which heaps the debt on the middle class.

    April 16, 2012 at 3:28 pm |
  47. Larry in Houston

    What's the point of the Buffett Rule if most millionaires already pay higher effective tax rates than almost everyone else?
    "Chump Change" you say ? If you think 5 bil is chump change, wait til after the 3rd year of Romney's regime. By that time, he will finally move around to the middle, and we will be around 18 Trill in hawk. He will end up catering to the tea party and the evangelicals for his first year in office, to satisfy them.
    Vote Democrat – 2012

    April 16, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  48. Paul in NC

    Call it whatever you want but we need to change our tax structure. Obama is using the term "Buffet Rule" because right wingers like simple, bumper sticker slogans. It's something even they can understand. What we really need is to raise the capital gains tax and close real loopholes (not Paul Ryan's mythical ones) so that people like Romney can't eveade taxes in a quasi-legal sense. Add in some sensible spending cuts and voila, the deficit is gone.

    April 16, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  49. Jen -Seattle,Wa.

    The point is the 2 party monopoly plays the lessor of as Capital gains from financial reform still pockets our hard earned money while non working shareholders in wall st abuse work force as class war fare orchestrates a special interest perception that obama is doing anything about moral compass as opposed to his ignoble agenda .The Buffet Rule doesnt adress exxon inflating the rate of oil costs and gettin away with it under obama....We need real financial reform..No Capital gains for consumption malfunction m.p.g. auto imports saturating our country with b*llsh*t advances.No foreign entities skimming our Rental payments to the fuedal landlords of modern time..China should make a Buffert Rule..No more cheap made china cars that he skims off making that have low standards and mass needs for fuel due to low mpg ability and requirements

    April 16, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  50. Jeff In Bishop, Georgia

    Mr. Cafferty, this silly Buffett Rule is a lame attempt by the Obama administration at waging more class warfare. I am continually amazed at the ignorance and stupidity of the supporters of this empty suit. Many millions of citizens will be going to the polls next autumn to cast a vote against our simpleton president... and Governor Romney will be the beneficiary of the anti-vote.

    April 16, 2012 at 3:32 pm |
  51. BILL, WI

    It's an election year, so any political fluff will be used to get out a campaign message. Pres Obama has been in office for three and a half years so why wait until six months to start on something like the Buffett rule. The national debt is now at 15.7 Trillion dollars, and our GDP is now at 15.1 Trillion dollars. Come October the U.S. will still owe something like 500 B dollars on interest payments on the national debt. The time for action is long overdue enought of the simplistic fluff and get to work.

    April 16, 2012 at 3:33 pm |
  52. Sherry from SC

    While this proposal is soundly unpopular with the Republican puppets in Congress, the majority of Americans do favor the idea of fairness. Millionaires pay higher effective tax rates? I doubt that. They do, however, pay high fees to accountants and lawyers in order to take full advantage of hiding as much income as possible. If they pay higher rates, it's certainly a very few morally conscientious ones who choose not to hide income at Romney's bank in Switzerland and Grand Cayman's.

    April 16, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  53. Gary H. Boyd

    The Buffet Rule is a political scam Jack. It's intended to convince the common folks that King Obama is on their side. The fact that the rich already pay a higher percentage in taxes than most others is beside the point. This is an election year and the King wants four more years. Who knows what else he'll dream up between now and November.

    Gary in Scottsdale, Arizona

    April 16, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  54. Kevin SD CA

    The point is so that the Socialist Government can keep generating tax dollars to cover the lies that they continue to shove down our throats!
    The real question is, “Why are so many people paying no taxes while the private sector middle class carries government, social welfare and corporate welfare on their backs!?”

    April 16, 2012 at 3:44 pm |
  55. wayne, va beach, va

    No point whatsoever, Jack. Its just a political gimmick the president thought up in hopes of getting him elected. He's going to find out that the american people are not as stupid and gullible as he thinks they are.

    April 16, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
  56. Susan-NJ

    The idea that most millionaires in this country pay higher taxes than the rest of us is just down right silly. We are lucky if they pay taxes at all. Could it be someone at CNN is a millionaire?

    April 16, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  57. James Rupert

    I'm all for electing Warren Buffett to the White House so he could just put the deficit on his American Express card. (Although, you'd think somebody with his money could afford a decent haircut!) – James Rupert, Lincoln, Nebraska.

    April 16, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  58. bob z. from pa.

    its a stunt for the dem party so they think obama is doing something against the rich who do the hiring in this country

    April 16, 2012 at 3:54 pm |
  59. Mark from New Jersey

    In the fifties, the highest marginal effective tax rate was over 90%... you know, when Eisenhower was president and we actually built things like highways, roads, bridges, dams, and national parks, all of which made this country what it once was... the marvel of the world. The Buffett rule is a reminder of that we were once better than a greedy oligarchy, with bought and paid for legislature and judiciary, and could be that way again. And what's up with your questions lately, Jack? Auditioning for Fox News?

    April 16, 2012 at 3:58 pm |
  60. Greg Turman

    Jack;
    Al-Taqiyya permits lying to deceive non believers & bring world domination. Lying by ommission is the preferred method.
    Gregory Turman
    Noonday,Texas

    April 16, 2012 at 3:59 pm |
  61. Mr. D

    Cough, cough. I can't get my breath in this smokescreen. I guess certain things look good on paper and sound good to the masses during political pontificating. Maybe you can fool all of the people all of the time. We certainly have been "had" before.

    April 16, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  62. Gordo from NJ

    Check your sources jack. You cite the "tax policy center" (all lower case) , but the Tax Policy Center, which is part of the Brookings institute, does not mention this information. Are you sure this isn't a direct feed from some GOP PR guy? I'm paying over 30% and I'm pretty ticked off that Romney skates along at 14%...now that's an "Entitlement" I could use.

    April 16, 2012 at 4:04 pm |
  63. Max Brooks from Florida

    Equality

    April 16, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  64. Mitoosense Ft Lauderdale Florida

    If their were room on Mt. Rushmore we should add Warren Buffet high above Thomas Jefferson trickling down on Tom's head. I don't know who pays how much but, I can see complicated a mile away. Everybody should pay the same flat rate with No Deduction No Exemptions and No double standard for corporations. I've been trickle downed upon long enough and I don't need an accountant to tell me why....

    April 16, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  65. JB from Tennessee

    Class warfare...plain and simple.

    April 16, 2012 at 4:23 pm |
  66. Michael Bindner, Alexandria VA

    The Buffett rule is a publicity stunt. Even the higher effective tax rates for millionaires mask the fact that current rates essentially offset the Social Security Cap, making tax collection mostly proportional rather than progressive. The answer is to uncap the employer contribution to Social Security and shifting it from a payroll tax to a VAT while crediting these contributions equally to each worker, regardless of wage. Do that and you need no Buffett Rule.

    April 16, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  67. 1grasshopper

    It would be nice if it were true but they have so many loopholes, subsities, and way to keep from paying that they don't even pay the 1% that they whine about.

    April 16, 2012 at 4:27 pm |
  68. deborah ballweg Seibert, co

    Politics, pure and simple. Democrats have ALWAYS coveted other people's money and property. Hence, death tax.

    April 16, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  69. Bob in Texas

    "The Buffett Rule would add less than $5 billion per year to the national treasury. "

    The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

    April 16, 2012 at 4:29 pm |
  70. joshua

    Let's end this silly debate this week. Pass a flat tax of 15% paid by everyone without exception. Eliminate all deductions and witholdings. You pay on income, capital gains, business profits, everything including welfare, and unemployment. Exclude inheritance since that's already been taxed. This ends the rhetorical bickering and forces the federal government to govern and stop finger pointing. The rich will pay more and the middle class and poor will pay less. You can't get any fairer than that.

    April 16, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  71. Renee, Illinois

    How many times does someone need to point to history? Under Clinton – higher taxes for the wealthy – we had a great economy. Along comes Bush and his tax cuts – the economy sinks into the mud. Enough said?

    April 16, 2012 at 4:37 pm |
  72. Dan in Albuquerque

    The president already said it's not to bring in a lot of money. Instead, it is to make a point that the one-percenters are taking in obscene amounts of money by paying fewer taxes, which is totally unfair to the other 99% Republicans don't really understand the meaning of the word fairness. Their motto is:"Share and share alone.". Change the tax laws, cut some spending and add some income. You don't cure credit problems by asking your boss to reduce your income. Lower taxes on the rich never caused them to be job creators...it just makes them richer.

    April 16, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  73. calaurore9

    Effective tax rate is not the issue. It's perception of proportional pain. This is a symbolic fairness gesture toward overhauling the tax code.

    Carol in Northampton, Ma

    April 16, 2012 at 4:42 pm |
  74. H.R

    The wealthy need to start paying taxes on ALL of their earnings like the rest of us do. Why should they be previliged? They have been tax free for a long time and still do not create any jobs. Any company that does business outside the USA should py big time. Mitt Romney has money in Swiss banks and Cayman Island accounts plus several other hidden accounts and pays VERY LITTLE tax. He hires big time lawyers and still can't hide stuff quick enough to get his taxes filed by the deadline. I guess it is a good thing he is only a stay at home husband. Not good material for President.

    April 16, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
  75. Dan from Stewartstown PA

    The point is to start to make our tax system fair and equitable. Even though I pay taxes on my income, I must pay the same rate to the IRS on the interest or dividends from my savings. Those funds are enabling my credit union and bank to lend money to stimulate our local and state economies. The wealthy have bought politicians so they can have loophole that enable them to basically save the same as I do, but they get to call it by a fancier term and are taxed at a much lower rate, if at all. The rich pay 45% of all taxes. Boo, hoo! They control 95% of the wealth and should pay 95% of the taxes.

    April 16, 2012 at 4:59 pm |
  76. Cliff Glass - Rego Park, New York

    The Buffett rule is a distraction. The only discussion should be to return the top tax rates to the level they were in year 2000 – 39.6% – when a budget surplus was handed over from President Clinton to President Bush unless anyone can point to the robust economic growth this country experienced since the rates were cut. The silence is deafening

    April 16, 2012 at 5:03 pm |
  77. Ed in California

    Jack, the fact that the Buffett Rule would only raise 1/2 of 1 percent of the budget deficit would seem to indicate that it is not all that important. Unless, you consider that our President leader wants Congress to vote it down so he can use it as a campaign plank. They are already crying for "fair share" in taxes while not mentioning that half the households in this country pay no personal income tax.

    Logic and reason are out the door this time around, its all about demons and angels. Though honestly they both look the same to me!!!

    Ed in Sacramento

    April 16, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  78. Jennifer M in Winnipeg

    The millionaires only do the 'effective tax rate' on that part of the tax return ... but after you deduct all the 'tax shelters' that the millionaires are afforded, the bottome line rate is a significantly lower number. And then there are the millions of dollars that are socked away in off-shore and numbered Swiss accounts that don't even enter into the tax return. They don't pay a nickel on that money. These guys just love to 'best' the IRS. They spend more money on lawyers and accountants to make sure they don't pay much income tax, than they pay in actual taxes.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:17 pm |
  79. Randy

    The same point in having a house larger than a grocery store. The same point in having two Cadillac SUV's. The same point in being able to write a Ten million dollar check to a presidential candidate who has no chance of winning. The same point in having an elevator for your cars. Etc., etc. Anybody who REALLY worked for their money wouldn't spend it on the foolishness today's rich spend their money on. I say since they take in 80% of the income they should pay 80% of the taxes.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
  80. Ralph Nelson

    Census figures that show the wealth of an individual making $300,000 in 1980 has tripled to $900,000 in 2010; making $200,000 in 1980 has doubled to $400,000 in 2010, but if you made $80,000 in 1980, you are still making $80,000 today. That in 1980 the richest owned 22% of American wealth, today 42%. In 1980 the middle class owned 41% of American wealth, today 22%. It's called supply-side economics and if continued if will continue. The 30% rule for millionaires and billionaires is a start toward restoring this country, to making America not the fourth worst country in the world in income inequality behind Mexico..

    April 16, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  81. Mark in BC NV

    The Buffet rule is a distraction by the Obama administration and his Main-Stream-Media cohorts. Even if the rich paid 70% of their fortune to taxes, we'd still be hurting. Here is a novel idea, why not cut spending without raising taxes. I'm so tired of this Federal government that thinks they're above the people of this country. It's revolution time, peacefully or not.
    Mark in BC NV

    April 16, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
  82. Patrick J Carey Jr

    Chump change??? I suppose you throw away pennies too.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:24 pm |
  83. Susan

    Oh come on. We make less than a million in this house and are high enough to pay a much higher percentage than Romeny. You totally rigged that report to read like this isn't going on when it is. Besides the fact we've always had a progressive tax structure. And arguing they are but a drop in the bucket while fussing about "Obama's debt" (ignoring how a recession is the biggest reason) is bogus as well. The super wealthy have all sorts of ways to hide income and this entire piece is bunk.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  84. stevea66

    The POINT has never been to solve all our economic woes, Mr. Cafferty. I know $5 billion a year is chump change, but if you parse out every measure we could take to solve our problems, NONE of them will do it alone.

    The POINT is that the tax code allows many millionaires to pay ZERO taxes. There are over 40,000 millionaires in this country who pay a lower tax rate than people making $40k.

    The POINT is fairness. I guess that simple thing just doesn’t register these days, eh?

    April 16, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  85. Larry -- Minnesota

    Jack, there is no point until we get rid of the Federal Reserve debt which is where almost all of our money goes.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
  86. Lisa Illinois

    Most money made by Millionaires & Billionaires is earned off the backs of the middle & lower class workers. TAX THEM MORE!!!!

    April 16, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
  87. jim

    Because they can and should for the good of the counrty that gives them the opportunity to make that kind of money.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  88. Diane

    When is enough enough? Let's just say we're all "members" of the US kind of like "members" of a health club or gym. The US should have a flat fee for it's members the same way a health club or gym does and balance this countries budget the same way a health club business would have to.

    Why do some members of the US have to pay such elevated member fees and yet others complain that they're still not paying enough. Balance the budget and charge the fees to run a budget.... Kind of the way businesses do or supposed to to run successfully.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  89. Jim Broadway

    Jim in Klamath Falls, OR – If passed, the only benefit it will provide to any of us is that it will give the other 99 percent of us a 'Sense of Well Being'.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:27 pm |
  90. Rachel

    I think the importance is in image. Obama is about to run for re-election against candidates who champion lowering the deficit directly through cutting spending and indirectly by lowering taxes to stimulate income growth. As a liberal, neither of these options are available to Obama, but lowering the deficit remains the most important issue to many Americans, so he must be seen to be doing something. The recent financial crisis, which was indeed started by irresponsible practices of mega-wealthy investment bankers makes these mega-wealthy individuals a good target as they are easy to brand as irresponsible, greedy and selfish. The Republicans support their agenda by saying they are promoting "American" policies like shrinking government and promoting personal prosperity. Obama, however, has opted to attack something fundamentally "Unamerican," namely dramatic wealth disparities. These are simply two different political strategies, and they have exactly the same goal – election.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  91. Pat in Rutherfordton, NC

    Look at it this way, Jack. The guy making a million and paying 18%, still has $820 grand to pay other taxes and live. The guy making $60 grand may only pay 3.2%, but he's left with only $58,080. Under this example, I'd take the 18% any day.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  92. Michael in Albuquerque, NM

    The Buffet Rule, originally the Reagan Rule, is for BILLIONAIRES. The investment class.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  93. John Green Valley AZ

    The country started running deficits when taxes were cut on the rich and W started two unfunded wars. Now if cutting taxes on the rich caused the deficits how smart do you have to be to figure out a solution.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  94. Richard Texas

    It is an election year Jack and the country is broke. They have to come up with some money somewhere and they figure most voters will not have a problem with the government taxing the rich because there are fewer of them and they will only lose a handful of votes. They would not dare to tax the middle class any money or they would be sure to lose the election. In the end the Senate will vote it down anyway so it is all for not. Just more political games.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:28 pm |
  95. martin

    These wealthy men and women can afford to fund the super pac could be the reason why they are being forced to pay more. Koch brothers and other wealthy individuals i presume are the key targets. They can afford to influence the voters at the booth and by forcing them to pay more they will spend the excessive cash on creating jobs.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  96. Joseph Mandracchia

    I wonder if it's a fair comparison when you use the $40M -$50M earner and not the $100M – $500M owner. Or even better the $10M earner vs the $20M earner???

    April 16, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  97. pat in FL

    These highly paid executives and the people recieving their from investments should be paying higher tax rates. They are among the fotrunate few. It is beyond me how they can purchase $25.000 watches, $100,000 cars and own multiple residences and yet refuse to support the government so that we can provide adequate health care, food and shelter for all our citizens as well as maintain our infrastructure. How do they think they were able to become wealthy.
    No one "earns" a million dollars a year.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  98. Peter in Toronto

    There are two points to this:
    1. Political: to make it crystal clear to more people once and for all who the Republican Party is really looking after. Hint: it's not the middle class.
    2. Financial: if it was to pass you are right–it doesn't raise that much more revenue. But there is no single policy change that will act as a magic bullet. The US gov't needs to find dozens of these smaller measures to help restore the budget balance. This could be one of them, and every single billion dollars you can find here and there is needed. I mean, people are in a lather over about a million in questionable spending by the GSA, and now you're pooh-poohing a few billion dollars?

    A minimum tax rate on the very wealthy is just about the lowest hanging fruit out there. If they can't even agree on this, then I hope you're very religious because a literal miracle is going to be required.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  99. Chuck in Texas

    Why all the indignation over an $800k convention if we are going to thumb our nose at an additional $5 billion a year? Either every dollar matters or it doesnt, whats it gonna be?

    April 16, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  100. Spencer, MN

    Your numbers reveal the worst of American politics, an absence of a middle. It reflects the biggest earners, and the lowest earners. The ones who have the attorneys and accountants to get around the tax code, and the ones who can't make the ends meat to pay any more then that rate. But what I wonder is the ever so neglected middle class. They're are our most vital resource, the ones who need the tax help, the ones who actually pay their taxes.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  101. Jim Roker Tucson Az

    Jack

    It's called a progressive tax rate.

    While you ask about the tax rate for various groups, ask what the percentage of their total income goes to living expenses. (You, food, housing, gas...) I am sure those are minor expenses to someone with a salary and investments like you, but at 40,000 there is NOTHING left over to pay taxes with, let alone actually take a few days vacation, or see a movie.

    By the way, nice job perpetuating the big lie.

    The Buffet rule would only add 5 Billion in income, IF THE BUSH TAX CUTS END. Other wise 30% of the deficit and growing is caused by those3 tax cuts. I know the press doing its job instead of reporting Republican talking points is not the norm, but at least pretending to report honestly once in a while would be refreshing.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:29 pm |
  102. Mom in Haverford

    Politics – Why isn't Buffet leading by example, or how about Obama making a contribution from his 2010 return? This such a transparent ploy, I find it hard to believe that so many Americans are taking the bait. No wonder our country is financially strapped. American's are an easy sell....

    April 16, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  103. AB

    Jack, the point of the Buffet Rule is to ensure that everyone who wealthy pay his/her fair share of taxes, including Warren Buffet who pays less federal income taxes than his secretary and Mitt Romney who also pays less federal income taxes than other wealthy people. This is no brainer Jack!!

    April 16, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  104. WR Jones, New Port Richey, FL

    President Obama is the most divisive president this country has ever seen. He uses race, class, sex and age to divide the American people in effort to get reelected, this newest plan to embarrass Republicans is one in a long line of policies created to be used as a hammer to hit Republicans over the head.
    The sad part is the majority of the American people seem gullible enough to believe the president is sincere and not acting like all the others who have lied to gain elected office. In a time that even the president admits is so important to Americas future, he still plays games with policy, ignoring his own dire warnings.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  105. Gary Cranberry Twp., PA

    It's not about solving the deficit, alone Jack in raising taxes on those making over $1million. Rather, it's about making them accountable, proportionately, and having them share in the austerity sacrifice.
    However, the approximate $5 billion that would be raised, ain't exactly "chump change" when it comes to current cutbacks in this country by the NeoiCons!

    April 16, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  106. Gary Cranberry Twp., PA

    It's not about solving the deficit, alone Jack in raising taxes on those making over $1million. Rather, it's about making them accountable, proportionately, and having them share in the austerity sacrifice.
    However, the approximate $5 billion that would be raised, ain't exactly "chump change" when it comes to current cutbacks in this country by the NeoCons!

    April 16, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  107. Dan in CA

    That's funny that while you were doing all that math, Jack, you didn't include what their "effective tax rate" is when you include capital gains, which like you said is only 15%. Or all the tax shelters and loop holes, which the Buffet rule is trying to eliminate. Try comparing the taxes of the rich to someone like me who makes about 80K and is paying 25%. Don't you have anything better to do than protect the pocket books of the rich?

    April 16, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  108. helspawn

    Jack, I used to admire you but you seem to have gone over to the dark side. But having said that..I'm sure that there actually are honest millionaires that pay the higher rate. But lets face it..there aren't many of those. It should be a set rate no matter how the income is gained so that we all have an even playing field. Swing back to the left dude..you used to actually make sense.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  109. Sam

    Your question is ridiculousness on the face of it. If one person doesn't pay a fair share then why should; I why should anyone. if its chump change for millionaires to pay then its certainly chump change for me and everyone would feel the same. The entire system falls apart. The only chump that needs changing is the questioner.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:30 pm |
  110. A.M. Deist

    The question shouldn't be about fairness, but what kind of tax system will help our economy grow. We already know that cutting taxes hasn't created any jobs. We have lots of companies sitting on billions of dollars, and very few of them are taking those dollars and hiring. As a matter of fact, two companies that are cash rich, Nokia and Yahoo are laying people off. Since most Americans are capitalists, they are going to put their money where they either make the most or get taxed the least. If we shut down deductions for charitable contributions, then there will be a corresponding decrease in charitable contributions. If we tax capital gains from investments at the same rate as earned income, we will have less investments. We need to have an intelligent converation about how can we structure our tax system so people and companies with lots of money are motivated to hire Americans. We should also look to make it painful for companies who take their production overseas to sell in America. All legislation should be aimed at helping Americans. Right now, almost all legislation is helping everyone but Americans

    April 16, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  111. Maria Richison

    Finally someone got it right! There is NO POINT in the Buffet rule, only rhetoric. I'm so dissatisfied with this administration, thinking that we are stupid enough to buy into the idea that the rich have to pay more to have equality. I am a teacher, work hard for my money. What we should be looking at is at all the people that DON'T pay any taxes, yet receive EIC and therefore receive thousands (my friend received 11k back) of dollars they DIDN'T pay into the system. What's the motivation for the poor to find employment, get educated, if we reward underachievement and punish those who are successful. What a shame!

    April 16, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  112. John Swenson

    How about $348 billion NOW vs. a paltry $48 Billion over 10 years? That's the official IRS estimate of uncollected taxes owing as attributed to deliberate non-filers, tax cheats, fraud, mistakes due to complexity of the tax code, etc. Yes, that's $348 BILLION available, but the IRS budget has been steadily cut for 3 years and enforcement has since suffered. Why do no politicians talk about COLLECTING what's already owed? HELL-OH? Obama? Congress?

    April 16, 2012 at 5:32 pm |
  113. Paul from New Jersey

    Jack, you're missing the point of the Buffet Rule. Few are arguing that the rich aren't paying their fair share of taxes on income earned. Where the rich have it made is by their capital gains, taxed at a mere 15%, as well as off shore bank accounts and other tax shelter investments. For many of the rich, their income earned on the job is a drop in the bucket when comapred against what they are raking in from these other sources. It is in this area where the rich need to pay up.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  114. Andre (Lockhart, TX)

    Let's just do a little math and make all things equal where everyone is paying the same rate. 20% of 40k is $8000 leaving them $32000. 20% of $1000000 is $200000 leaving them $800000. $32000 is 25% of 800000. The millionaire still makes an astonishing salary even after taxes while the lower income is making barely enough. The rich can cut back on their fancy million dollar homes and costly Jaguars to help under tough economic times while the lower income crowd is cutting back on already hungry bellies and such.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  115. Cheryl Lake Tahoe

    This is just another log on the fire fueling Occupy Wall Street. Instead of focusing on income tax, how about looking at all the other taxes. I pay a 12% gas tax, 10% telephone tax, if fact, every bill I pay has a tax tacked on but where does the money go? Our roads are in gross disrepair. Let's get some accounting. I'm sure we'll find it's not just the GAO going to Las Vegas.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:33 pm |
  116. Jim Peterson

    Churches and the Red Cross will be happy because I understand there are no limits on charity. I am
    sure they would rather just take a large deduction than pay taxes.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  117. Mel in Potomac, MD

    The point may be that after showing that more is being asked and received from ultra-high earners, more can be asked of the rest of us in terms of higher taxes and lower entitlements.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  118. TDMLIBRA

    the point of the Buffet rule is to make things fair like the President says, If God can get 10% from everyone why can't the gavernment get the same. Everyone is required to pay 10% in tithes, why not equal amount in Taxes

    April 16, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  119. john smith

    Hey Jack,
    What is wrong with you? Asking this question so dumb. How about this? Let's just cut and cut taxes for everyone, so pretty soon there's no money for anything. In case you aren't aware, that's basically what Republicans and Libertarians want. Is that who you are?
    The progressive tax structure where those in top tiers have always paid considerably more (because they can), has served us well for many decades. The whole disparity between the haves and the have-nots, really began widening in the 80's. Wages for average folks have not risen much in the past 3 decades (adjusted for inflation), while earnings for those at the top have skyrocketed. This is all basic math, based on statistics that are public record, and most people "get it."

    And, those earning millions can easily afford to pay 30% or more – a lot more. Folks earning $50k can hardly afford to pay the 12% the study shows they pay. If I'm a family earing $50k, then after living expenses, how much is really left? Conversely, if I earn say, $1.2M in a given year, and my taxes are 50% (Fed and State), then guess what? I still have $600k left over. If we don't collect a decent tax rate from those who can most easily afford it, what is the alternative? So yeah, fairness.

    I think the bible said it best, and I'm paraphrasing, "to those who have been given much, much is expected" – right? And for anyone foolish enough to think they "made it on their own" – I doubt it. Did they build and pay for the infrastructure needed, the eductaion needed, to get where they've gotten? No. I thought we lived in a progressive society, where we try to keep improving, and try to leave a better future (and planet) for those who come next.

    The kind of "capitalism" the Republican's seem to love, is based on GREED, one of the seven deadly sins. Irony, anyone?

    April 16, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  120. Ann Utah

    Millionaires have the resources to hide their earnings – investments or other – middle income and poor don't Its unethical and hiding money in offshore accounts is unconscienable! - most particularly for anyone running for public office. Fix the loopholes!

    April 16, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  121. Sam

    Why doe Apple, and Google get away with paying just 2%? Why is there not an alternative minimum tax for companies doing business in the USA? Why do we allow them to loop hole us to debt?

    April 16, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  122. Angela University Place wa

    We just completed our taxes it never looks good apparently, the term "most is not enough...

    April 16, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  123. Faith

    I would like to know how all these million dollar plus income earners pay such little effective federal tax rates (average of 20%, I wish!). I had an effective federal tax rate of 37% in 2011 based on an adjusted income of around $850K. It is more than the 35% highest rate because of payroll taxes which I pay both sides of because I am a business owner. Add to that the fact that my partners and I are taxed on income we do not take home (becase it stays in the business as working capital) and our effective tax rate is in fact over 50%. To be honest it is killing us. We would expand much faster if we could reinvest more of our earnings in the business without having to pay taxes on it until we take it out.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  124. Robert Williams

    Jack its because no one needs that much money to live a good life....I am 69 years old and have lived my entire life on about one million dollars. Surely the spoiled rich can live damn good on five million....Surely they would not be foolish enough to leave there millions to their children....or would they? "After all a real man or woman will get out and make their own way in life"....and not rely on their parents.....

    April 16, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  125. Patrick

    We were wondering how long it would take for media millionaires like you to take a side. The Buffet Rule is about fairness. Since implementation of the Bush tax cuts the gap between percent of disposable income of the middle class and the wealthy has increased dramatically. That's why some people can afford garages with car elevators and some people can afford to live in a garage. And it's silly to suggest that increasing revenue by 4 or 6 percent isn't worth it because it doesn't account for the whole deficit but then call for an end to funding for public broadcasing when it only acounts for less a tenth of a percent of the deficit. We expect better of you Jack.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:34 pm |
  126. Joe C. Ithac NY

    What is fair you ask, about the most wealthy among us paying a higher percentage? Well, its rather simple 30% of someones income that makes 60k a year, is much more important and necessary to carry on social reproduction compared to 30% of someones income that makes millions a year. Can anyone else see this? 30% to someone who makes 60k can be the difference of their kids going to college or not, eating red meat twice a week, taking a vacation every three years, or having a worth while 401k. Please tell me the sacrifices the millionaire has to make because I don't know one to ask? Also, please stop with the rich create jobs, like I said I don't know a millionaire and everyone i know has a job, hired by middle class. In case anyone hasn't noticed the vast majority of consumers are middle class, demand creates jobs, not wealthy people driving up commodity costs on Wall St.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:35 pm |
  127. Brian Samuels (Chicago)

    You drank the kool-aid Jack. Most tax breaks and loop holes are designed around how the rich make their money anyway. Their taxes on their income doesn't matter is they can negate them with tax breaks and a flimsy 15% on capital gains. And Romney gamed the system by making all his $18 million on Capital Gains and only paid 13%.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  128. Scott

    Jack. Shame on you for drinking the cool aid. Millionaires receive tax breaks and shelters that lower their rates greatly. You should know better. Stick to a topic that you can be objective and not misinform. I know you are protecting Wolfe and others who make a millionaire and more. Stop it. I just paid 26000 on an adjusted gross salary of 172000. Your figures are really off

    April 16, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  129. Dan Shea

    Five billion dollars is "chump change"??? Jack, you have to start somewhere if we are serious about reducing the federal deficit. Having millionaires who benefited the most when the President Bush's tax cuts were were implemented (which by the way are one of the major reasons we have a deficit) pay a bit more makes it a little more palatable to the average person when the federal services start to be cut.
    It is a matter of fairness!

    April 16, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  130. Steve, Clifton, Virginia

    The buffet rule nothing more than a ploy to reverse the ill advised Bush Tax Cuts

    April 16, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  131. Bryan

    The point is "fairness". I pay around 30% of my income and I'm middle class. It's unfair that someone who makes most of his money, not working at a job but just managing his investments, can get away with less than 20%. I don't understand what Cafferty is talking about...most of us are paying 12%. I know I'm not...I'm paying 30%.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  132. Mike in Florida

    It's not surprising that a majority if in favor of taxing the wealthy more with the Buffet Plan. What is a surprise is that 33% support the 1% and say no to it.
    It's not hard to be for something if someone else has to pay for it. It can be difficult to see what really is fair with all the spin by Obama.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  133. Jonathan in Eugene Oregon

    You've left a large income gap out of your argument–the large group of Americans that make above $50,000 a year but far less than a million. I know from personal experience that the tax rate for this income bracket far far-exceeds 20%. My question is: why the bell curve? I can understand why those with less money should be allowed to retain a larger portion of their income as a higher tax rate may directly effect their living conditions. This same argument does not make sense for millionaires. Even if it did not have a massive effect on the deficit I would still support the Buffet
    Rule because it supports both LOGICALITY and FAIRNESS!

    April 16, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  134. Dave K

    Warren is a political curmudgeon. Before the next election, every American should read an excerpt from the book, "The Clash of Generations" by Laurence Kotlikoff and Scott Burns. Once they read a few pieces that book, it will scare the crap out of them. Jack, as you state, the Buffet rule is "chump change" being pursued by a bunch of chumps rather than pursue solutions to America's toughest issues - that of creating jobs and balancing the national budget. I am sick and tired of both parties and their partisan politics for partisan purposes. The are all "chumps"!

    April 16, 2012 at 5:37 pm |
  135. steve

    Whats the point?? can you say Politics with a capital P–Obama seeks to stir up his base and what better way to play " The Rich Have it TOO good Card" and tying this to Romney and his wealth is brilliant if not ridiculously obvious

    April 16, 2012 at 5:38 pm |
  136. rogedjohn

    The Buffet rule is lot to do and say about nothing. This is just a feel good attmept by Pres. O'B and will have no real effect on the real problem in this country, ie ... the deficit. Only a plan such as president Regan's tax decreases and a president who is not so intent on running this country into the ground by overspending will focus efforts on the real problem.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  137. tk

    Shows president knows nothing about economics, tax policy or business. He only knows Chicago style politics.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  138. Alan NYC

    Thanks Jack for an honest appraisal of the reality of this political slight of hand by Pres Obama & his 24/7 re-election campaign. Pres Obama, David Axellrod & the DNC have been singing this mantra to raise a false sense of unfairness in tax payments and subtly lay the groundwork to attack Mitt Romney for his success. No claims of tax evasion by Romney but an implied claim that something has to be wrong or worse illegal for him to make as much as he does & pay the tax rate he does. What we haven't gotten from the administrative is a serious plan to cut federal spending and close tax loop holes. But of course they are focused on re-election & don't want to offend their base.So politics trumps meaningful reform & the public interest.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  139. Pruitt Holcombe, Tuscaloosa Alabama

    It's just a political point. Anyone who examines the issue will see that the Buffet Rule won't have much of an effect on the deficit. It's just good for votes to say "I want to raise the taxes on the wealthy, instead of the rest of you". It's deliberately divisive language and I don't like it.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  140. Troy

    all I know is that when I lost my home to foreclosure, my taxes went from 16% (on top of the 20% they take out for payroll taxes) to 32%. After the 20% they want 12% more from me at the end of the year, which I don't have. With the Healthcare bill they would want another 12%! Why isn't anyone talking about this? I'm a Progressive, but I don't support Obama and his continuation of so many bad Bush policies. Everything he does is for show while he serves the elites behind closed doors.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  141. Dan Lavry

    Jack,
    The problem at hand is the huge (and growing) wealth discrepancy.

    The issue is NOT the tax rates paid by the super-rich, the middle class and the poor. The tax rate is only one of the TOOLS to fix lop sided wealth distribution. The rates should be altered and adjusted to fix the end goal which is wealth distribution based on real contribution to society.

    Talking about tax rate without reference to wealth distribution is a diversionary tactic used by the super-rich and their representatives.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
  142. Brian Samuels (Chicago)

    Because when you make more money, by definition, your gonna pay more taxes on those earnings. Furthermore, when your income increases 275%, you should to pay more taxes proportionately. Conservatives are trying to cap the tax liability with the Bush tax cuts. As far as I know, our tax code doesn't have caps. So, the 275%rs need to pay accordingly.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  143. James, Denver, CO

    The point is simply to win votes. The president wants the middle class to think he's on their side. A higher tax rate on cap gains will decrease investment/savings. And how can anyone consider it "fair" that dividends are taxed twice? The CEO/secretary dichotomy is a great way to stoke the flames of a class war, but would the average American feel as bad for Buffet's secretary if they knew she probably makes well over $100k?

    April 16, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  144. Susan

    "With the Healthcare bill they would want another 12%! "........ What are you talking about?

    April 16, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  145. Jon Bohanan

    It's clear that if you take into account the total tax burden, most everyone is paying, they’re paying surprisingly similar effective rates but it’s also very easy to understand why someone struggling to make it on $30,000 a year would chafe at paying 25 percent to the tax man compared to the person cruising along at $1,500,000 who wouldn’t. Let me explain it another way – the janitor would work 4 months to pay his effective tax while the corporate magnate might only work a few hours or days to pay their tax. Please recall Leona Helmsley who famously said "the little people pay taxes we don't". Enough said!

    April 16, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  146. Chagres Girl

    Chump change is better than no change at all. There is no single thing that can pay down the deficit. By your 'argument', there is no place to begin. The GOP want to cut many programs that benefit all Americans (education, health care, etc.). I say get some of the money from those who cannot even count their wealth and apply it where needed. Be positive – not negative – and we can get this done.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  147. Lance, Chicago

    Jack, you conveniently ignored the effective tax rates for people who earn between 75,000-100,000 and upwards upto, say, 150,000-200,000. How could one sensibly compare tax rates for those making 40,000-50,000 and those making over a million. Isn't there anything between 50,000 and a million ? For example, for those making between 150,00-175,000, the effective tax rate is around 30%. This should be the basis for discussing the Buffet Rule.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
  148. Gary Degelo

    5,000,000,000.00 is chump change!!! Can you spare any change, chump?

    April 16, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
  149. Timothy Krueger from Culpeper, Va.

    This is very simple, President Obama does not want the American People to dwell to long on the fact that the economy stinks, gas price's are going up and up, He (President Obama) is spending our hard earned tax dollars on companies that fail, We are in a war he said he would get us out of and on and on and on. So now lets make up another war, War on the Rich. All I know is I never got a job from a poor man. Jack can you get me a job with GSA?

    April 16, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
  150. Natasha

    I guess what you're omitting is the tax breaks, the loop holes, etc. According to the proponents of the Buffet Rule, many households that made more than $1 million in 2009 paid less than 15 percent of their income in income taxes — and 1,470 managed to pay no federal income taxes on their million-plus-dollar incomes, according to the IRS.
    To call the additional estimated $5 billion that this proposal will generate 'chump change' is insulting to those of us who will never see anywhere near that amount of money. That money could be used to provide services for the elderly, improve education, take care of our veterans, etc. I don't think I ever heard President Obama or any proponent of the bill suggest that it was a cure-all to the deficit. On the contrary, it's an incremental step in the right direction. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Passing this bill would be a just one bite out of the (deficit) elephant.

    April 16, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
  151. Jane - WI

    The point of the Buffett rule is purely political. As pointed out, most millionaires already pay a large percentage in federal taxes. The Buffett rule will raise very little money. If Democrats really are about tax "fairness", then they should start to address the 47% who currently pay NO federal income tax. Now that is patently "unfair".

    April 16, 2012 at 5:51 pm |