No wonder President Obama is so keen on passing the Buffett Rule -- it wouldn't have affected his tax rate this year!
Yes, that's right: the Obamas raked in less than $1 million this year. Therefore, in a "Buffett Rule" world, they wouldn't have to pay their "fair share."
President Obama earned $789,674 in 2011, the White House announced on Friday. However, with this income, he does not even qualify for the so-called Buffett Rule that he has promoted relentlessly and the Senate will take up on Monday.
The Buffett Rule calls for those making over $1 million a year to pay a minimum tax rate, named after billionaire Warren Buffett. The president did earn over $1 million in previous years--$1.7 million in 2010 and $5.5 million in 2009.
The president paid $162,074 in taxes with an effective federal income tax rate of 20.5 percent, according to the returns.
The Obamas adjusted gross income was their lowest income since 2004 when he wrote his best-selling memoir, “Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.” This was the first year since 2006 that the Obama family income dipped below $1 million. In 2010, his adjusted gross income was $1.7 million; in 2009, it was $5.5 million.
It's all so ironic. Even though the Obamas' income didn't break $1 million this year, they still rank among the top 0.5-1% of earners in the world (that link also has a screenshot of the Obamas' tax return, FYI). And to his credit, the president always lumped himself in with those who would pay more on his campaign for the Buffett Rule. He's all about lecturing the wealthy on how they have a social responsibility to use their good fortune for the betterment of society, but at least he includes himself in that number. It's a great pitch: "Hey, guys like me, we can afford to give a little more!" Except, apparently he's not one of them. Not this year, at least.
Of course, none of that really matters, does it? The Buffett Rule has already been proven to be nothing more than a politicized crock of a policy, which would raise up to $30 billion over ten years from about 22,000 earners. Yes, it's a great idea that will totally help us get out from under our $15 trillion -- that's trillion with a T -- debt! As Guy pointed out, they're more interested in putting on a show of fairness than actually solving the revenue and spending crisis we face. Heck, even Dana Milbank, the Washington Post's liberal pundit extraordinaire, thinks it's a gimmick.
So all these "patriotic billionaires" and millionaires keep coming forward, begging for the government to take a greater cut of their dough. Guy's point about pageantry, however, is proven by the fact that so many of them balk at the idea of sending checks to the governmet voluntarily -- and this includes Obama himself:
Press Secretary Jay Carney said it's not "classy" to propose such voluntary checks. "Another real classy charge is the idea that, well, wealthy Americans who feel like paying their fair share . . . have the option of doing it themselves by writing a check,"he said derisively to reporters last week. "Think what that says to middle-class American families who are trying to get by, who are paying their taxes and paying at a rate higher than Warren Buffett."
Carney indicated today that Obama is not, in his opinion, paying his fair share. "The President believes we must reform our tax system which is why he has proposed policies like the Buffett Rule that would ask the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share," Carney wrote on the White House blog today. "Under the President’s own tax proposals . . he would pay more in taxes while ensuring we cut taxes for the middle class and those trying to get in it."
So everyone must be forced to pay their "fair share" to the government, or Obama won't do it? Yes, he sure does seem interested in actually solving our debt/revenue/spending crisis. Prevention of economic doom be damned. Give me fairness or give me death, I say!
Indeed, these millionaires and billionaires subscribe to the misguided notion that, by paying a higher tax rate, they're somehow fulfilling their moral obligation to make the world a better place.
Except, look at what gets done with taxpayer money. Just this week, it was revealed that the GSA blew more money than the Obamas made this year on foolish, wasteful expenses like clowns, and dinners, and conventions in Las Vegas.
Really? Giving more money to these people is the answer to all our woes?
The day the president volunteers to cut a personal check to those erstwhile public employees, I'll believe him. Oh, is that not a classy request, Jay Carney? Well, neither is paying a clown on the taxpayers' dime, so I think I'll call us even.