Morning Musings for Wednesday, April 11, 2012 – Warren Buffett Resurrected

Taxes vs. fairness.   Yesterday, the President was on the campaign trail haranguing about fairness and the “Buffet rule.”  Also yesterday, The New York Times’ op-ed picked up the spiel, “Mr. Obama and the ‘Buffett Rule‘.”

The Buffett Rule, which would raise an estimated $50 billion over 10 years, would not make an appreciable dent in the deficit or provide a lot more for essential programs.

The President’s threshold for tax fairness is $250k for married couples, and $200k for individuals.  Who or what determines that “fairness” begins with these income levels has yet to fully explained.  Since we’re talking about Mr. Buffett, let’s return to his August 14, 2011, New York Times op-ed, where he offered a different take on what constitutes “fair.”

But for those making more than $1 million — there were 236,883 such households in 2009 — I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including, of course, dividends and capital gains. And for those who make $10 million or more — there were 8,274 in 2009 — I would suggest an additional increase in rate.

Resurrecting the Buffett Rule for the campaign trail is convenient for the President’s political game, but it doesn’t solve our accumulating trillion dollar deficits.  Instead of concentrating on how to re-employ the 88 million Americans out of work, and therefore increasing the size of the labor pool that pays taxes, he’s instead resorting to the us vs. them strategy that benefits no one.   Remember, 49.5% of Americans do not pay income taxes, so those of us who are thankfully employed, are supporting everyone else.

I wonder if Warren were starting his business today in this environment whether he would be the billionaire he’s become.

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