Tax Carnival #101: Deadline Taxes
Bush tax cuts: Would a tax break by any other name be less contentious?

Buffett Rule gets support from Reagan

President Obama is in Florida today, launching his full-fledged campaign for including the Buffett Rule in any tax reform. And yes, it also is a key part of the prez's campaign to keep working in the Oval Office.

The Buffett Rule proposal would institute a 30 percent minimum tax rate on individuals who make $1 million or more a year.

The proposed tax law's name, as everyone knows by now, comes from the Oracle of Omaha Warren Buffett, who started the wealthy tax rate debate last August when he pointed out that under the current tax system he pays a lower tax rate than does his secretary.

Since then, members of Congress, political pundits, ostensible news organizations, other wealthy taxpayers (here and abroad) and politicians at every level of government have chimed in on whether the tax system is fair.

We've even heard from a respected, and in some circles idolized, former U.S. president.

Ronald Reagan, the man heralded with pushing through the historic Tax Reform Act of 1986 and the patron political saint of the GOP, has called for an end to crazy tax loopholes that let millionaires pay less in taxes than bus drivers.

No, we didn't need a Ouija board to hear from Ronnie. We just needed the miracle of videotape.

Impending Buffett Rule vote: Despite the Gipper's recorded support for making sure the truly wealthy pay their fair share (Reagan's words; check the videotape), I doubt many -- OK any -- Senate Republicans will vote next week for a bill that would codify the Buffett Rule.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and seven colleagues, six other Democrats and an Independent, introduced the Paying a Fair Share Act of 2012.

On Monday, April 16, as many of us will be finishing up our 2011 tax returns (or Form 4868 for a filing extension) so they can be on their way to the Internal Revenue Service by this year's April 17 deadline, the Senate will vote on Whitehouse's version of the Buffett Rule.

Anti-Buffett online petition: Meanwhile, the conservative American Crossroads Super PAC has created an online petition to counter calls for the Buffett Rule.

The Facebook page calls on Obama and Buffett to "put their money where their mouths are" and pay more taxes voluntarily instead of advocating a tax law requirement for higher taxes.

The online effort echoes legislation introduced by Republicans in the House and Senate last October, the Buffett Rule Act of 2011, which would add a line on 1040s so that taxpayers could more easily donate money to Uncle Sam.

And so it goes, with procedural tax votes that will fail and social media showmanship. Get ready for it to continue for the next six-plus months.

Stay tuned for more and tougher tax talk as November nears.

Only after the polls close and votes are finalized, will we have an idea of whether the Buffett Rule has any chance and just what kind of tax reform we might eventually get.

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Comments

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Darren E

Interesting! With all this hype around Obama's new platform, I wonder if he'll gain any traction from advocating an actual increase in taxes - won't he be alienating his rich supporters?

Jim Howard

Of course Reagan actually did simply the tax code, where as Obama is all about 'targeted tax cuts', which is his word for 'loopholes for my contributors.

When Reagan was governor of California he raised taxes slightly and actually cut the size of government, igniting an economic boom.

These attempts to infer that Reagan would agree with Obama's bugetless tax, spend, and regulate policies is pathetic beyond worlds.

Ryan Ellis

Did you just forget to leave out the part about Reagan lowering tax rates in exchange for getting rid of loopholes?

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