Home > A3, Learning > Possible Influence of the Buffett Rule

Possible Influence of the Buffett Rule

Lately in the News I’ve been following an idea that has been floating around Congress known as the Buffett Rule. It is called the Buffett Rule because Warren Buffett himself gave rise to the taxing issue by originally saying, “Debbie [his secretary] works just as hard as I do and she pays twice the rate I do.”  Debbie Bosanek pays a tax rate of 35.8 percent of income, while Warren Buffett pays a rate at 17.4 percent. The principle behind this rule is that no household making more than $1 million each year should pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than a middle class family pays. To be more specific, Buffett is proposing that the minimum tax rate for the super wealthy be 30%. While this is a major change, the national debt is rising and this is a possible way to bring in more money to the government. Buffett has received much criticism for this idea. The main goal Buffett has in mind is fairness for every taxpayer, not to start class warfare.

While this is still only an idea, it has the potential to turn into a bill. From Government class I have learned the specific process that a bill must undergo before getting past. First and most obvious a bill has to be drafted, or created. Then it is referred to a standing committee in either the House or Senate, depending on the bill. When a bill reaches the committee it can be referred to a subcommittee or reviewed by the committee as a whole. If the committee does not act on a bill, it is the equivalent of killing it. If a bill is passed through the subcommittee a publication of a written report is produced. The report describes the impact on existing laws and programs along with views of disagreeing members of the committee. After doing so the bill has to be scheduled for what order it will come up in. After a bill is scheduled it is debated and voted on. A majority of “Yes” votes out of all the votes being cast is required to pass a bill. If passed a bill is then sent to the President. The President can either sign the bill, making it law, or veto the bill. Congress has the power to override a Presidential veto if they can get a 2/3 vote in the house and senate.

This class has been a major influence on me now being able to formulate my own opinions. For this subject, I happen to agree with Buffett. It seems to be fair if the wealthy pay more because their life is usually more stable than those below. If the Buffett rule doesn’t pass, I still believe change needs to happen. I think Taxes should be a flat rate for everyone, which is 100% fair for everyone, or have the wealthy pay more, which is what the Buffett rule proposes. It is not fair that about 55,000 millionaires pay a lower effective tax rate than millions of middle- income Americans.

  1. May 21, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Well done, sir!

    I’m curious about a sentence you’ve written at the end of paragraph #1: “The main goal Buffett has in mind is fairness for every taxpayer, not to start class warfare.” That phrase “class warfare” has some strong connotations to political leaders – what does the phrase mean to you? Is ‘class warfare’ an example of “truthiness” : if enough political leaders use the phrase, then it becomes “true” even if there’s no evidence (see Stephen Colbert)? Or do leaders who use this phrase have something important to say when they criticize President Obama’s ideas about tax policy? Or… does it mean something else entirely??

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