Democrat-Led Senate Planning Buffett Rule Vote

Posted: Apr 16, 2012 6:34 AM
Congress comes back today after a two week recess to a whole host of business on taxes. A whole host of expiring policies is leading to what many are calling "taxmageddon" at the end of the year, so politicians have a big problem on their hands to fix.

Instead, Democrats in the Senate think the biggest item of business is the Buffett Rule, which could come up for a vote as soon as today. The Senate's bill is sponsored by Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and, as much discussed, would hit multimillionaires with a minimum 30% income tax rate. Despite the rhetoric coming out of the White House, this would be inconsequential to the deficit - raising just $47 billion over ten years - and would hit some small business owners with a massive tax increase.

The Buffett Rule moves the tax code in the opposite direction from what real tax reform would accomplish: lowering rates, broadening the base, and simplifying the massively complicated tax code.

Republicans this week will bring up a plan that will lower taxes for small business owners in an attempt to spur growth.

The GOP-run House plans a Thursday vote on legislation providing a 20 percent tax deduction for businesses that employ fewer than 500 workers, which covers 99.9 percent of all companies. The proposal, sponsored by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., seems certain to pass, but fail in the Senate.

Rep. Dave Camp, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said the business tax cut bill would show that Republicans are trying to spark job growth. He also said he would welcome Democratic opposition to any votes this year, should they occur, on renewing Bush's tax cuts.

"If the Democrats want to have all those taxes go up, let them," said Camp, R-Mich.

Tomorrow is tax day, and taxes will rightly weigh heavily on legislators' minds during this election year. Coming at the end of the year will be what the Washington Post termed "taxmageddon": the expiration of the Bush tax cuts, a hike in the payroll tax, the elimination of some deductions, and even the return of the "marriage penalty." Don't hold your breath for real tax reform, but hopefully the politicians in the Capitol will be able to get their act together to do something about this looming tax disaster.

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Mike Adams

Of course, Democrats will be all too happy just to play Buffett Rule-style class warfare games.