He has wiggled and wobbled on the nation's finances over the years. First, he spent money that he did not have. Then he threatened to raise taxes on the rich to pay for it. Then again he spent money that he did not have. Now, he is getting very serious about the budget, which means that the budget deficit is so large you do not even want to think about it. So he is back to taxing the rich again, which eventually means you and me.
Obama has announced a strategy to cut the deficit by $4.4 trillion over the next 10 years. He is going to get $1.1 trillion of it back from winding down our war effort. He accounts for another $1.2 trillion from cuts that have already been enacted; he thought we would not notice. Then there is $430 billion from lower interest payments, which he assures us are coming from lower debt payments that he says are coming. Finally, there is the federal income tax. He will have the rich pay as high a tax rate as the middle class by raising their taxes $450 billion, using the "Buffett Rule." The rule is Warren Buffett's proclamation that millionaires and billionaires pay taxes at a lower rate than the middle class.
Unfortunately, for the president, the Buffett Rule is like much else in his administration. It is a hoax. Buffett is wrong, and the president did not check Buffett's numbers or, if he did, he did not think we would check the numbers. Sources as diverse as The Wall Street Journal and the Associated Press have demonstrated that millionaires and billionaires pay taxes -- as you would expect -- at a higher rate than the middle class. How could Obama, the smartest policy wonk of all, get things so wrong?