We hear from rich liberals all the time that they ought to be taxed more to reduce the budget deficit. The math of it – that even if we confiscated all the wealth of all the millionaires and billionaires in America we still couldn’t pay off the deficit – doesn’t matter. They want taxes raised because, they claim, they want to pay more in taxes.
Well House Republicans are happy to help them out. Not by raising taxes, mind you, but by passing a law giving them the opportunity to voluntarily pay more in taxes right on their tax returns.
The House on Wednesday passed Republicans’ own version of the Buffett Rule, which allows wealthy Americans to voluntarily pony up to reduce the deficit.
The bill, labeled the Buffett Rule Act, passed by voice vote, meaning Democrats and Republicans agreed with it. Under the legislation, which would still need Senate approval, taxpayers could check a box on their taxes and send in a check for more than they owe to the IRS.
“If Warren Buffett and others like him truly feel they’re not paying enough in taxes, they can use the Buffett Rule Act to put their money where their mouth is and voluntarily send in more to pay down the national debt, rather than changing the entire tax code to inflict more job-killing tax hikes on hard-working Americans,” said Rep. Steve Scalise, the Louisiana Republican who wrote the bill.
President Obama and Democrats had proposed a Buffett Rule tax, based on billionaire investor Warren Buffett’s statement that he shouldn’t pay a lower rate on his income than his secretary.
Investments are taxed at a lower rate than salary or wage income under the theory that they are spurring economic growth, so wealthy investors usually pay less as a percentage, though they end up paying far more in real dollar terms.
Democrats said there should be a minimum tax for the wealthy, which would mean investors would pay more. They proposed a 30 percent tax on those with incomes higher than $1 million a year.
Some states like Massachusetts and Virginia already have voluntary check-offs on their tax returns in case some citizens want to contribute more to their government. Unfortunately for the spendthrifts in government, not very many people opt to use it.
Which is telling isn’t it? Those who scream the loudest for higher taxes really aren’t so much demanding higher taxes for themselves, but higher taxes for everyone else.