What the Buffett Rule Vote Means
Romney Republicans to America's middle class: You should pay higher taxes than millionaires.
Connect: Working families shouldn't pay higher taxes than trust fund kids.
What happened: Tonight, Washington Republicans defeated the Buffett Rule, ensuring that millionaires and billionaires continue to pay lower taxes than secretaries and bus drivers.
What it means: Their message to America's working families? Millionaires and billionaires are worth more to them.
Discredit: It's unbelievable that Republicans would dare oppose the Buffett Rule, but that's what happens when politicians put their donors over working families.
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ATTACKS AND RESPONSES
- If Republican politicians think oil companies need more subsidies, why don't they volunteer to pay more at the pump? If they want bigger bonuses for Wall Street CEOs, why don't they write them a check?
- This is about a rigged tax code that President Obama is trying to change. This is about everyone playing by the same rules, including the President.
- The difference between Obama and the politicians and special interest groups attacking him is that they're trying to make our rigged tax system even worse. Obama's been saying all along that rich Americans like him should be paying higher taxes because it's the right thing to do for our country.
- Republicans can't make up their mind about how to smear the Buffett Rule. They're attacking it for raising taxes on millionaires -- but also for not raising their taxes enough. That's like complaining the food is terrible and they didn't bring you seconds!
- But that's exactly what we'd expect from the politicians who so easily doubled the national debt and fought for the wasteful tax giveaways behind today's record deficits.
- All of America does better when everyone pays their fair share, everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone plays by the same rules. The Buffett Rule is the right start.
ATTACK: "Obama is waging class warfare."
- As Warren Buffett tells it, the only class warfare in America is being waged by his class -- and they're winning.
- Middle-class families shouldn't have to pay higher taxes than any millionaire. That's not class warfare. That's a basic American value.
- The Buffett Rule is simple. It's about doing what works. President Reagan got it. President Obama gets it. Americans get it. It's time for Republicans in Congress to get it, too.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
- Many millionaires and billionaires -- approximately 55,000 -- are paying lower taxes than millions of middle-class Americans. In fact, in 2009, 1,500 millionaires managed to pay no federal income taxes on their millions.
- The incomes of the richest 1% have nearly quadrupled in just one generation, leaving middle-class incomes far behind. At the same time, the average tax rate paid by the richest of the richest few -- the wealthiest 0.1% -- is at nearly the lowest rate in over 50 years.
- Poll after poll shows that most Americans support the Buffett Rule proposal to enact a minimum effective tax rate for millionaires, including most Independents.
- Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Mike Bloomberg, and hundreds of "patriotic millionaires" say the wealthiest Americans like them should do what's right and pay higher taxes.
- "Trickle down" tax giveaways for the richest few don't create jobs -- job growth was actually the fastest in years with relatively high tax rates for the richest Americans.
We develop messaging by aggregating, analyzing and distilling polling, tested messaging, and expert recommendations, and monitoring the media to identify what is and isn't working. See here for some of the experts and organizations we draw on.