Vote on the Buffett Rule
April 11, 2012 8:41 am ET
SUMMARY: Next Monday, the day before Tax Day, the Senate will vote on the "Buffett Rule" -- here's how to make the case for it and discredit the other side.
Middle-class families shouldn't pay higher taxes than millionaires.
Connect: Middle-class Americans pay their taxes, so it isn't right when millionaires and billionaires don't pay their fair share.
Define: The "Buffett Rule" simply says that in America, middle-class families shouldn't pay higher taxes than millionaires and billionaires.
Illustrate: It means that Wall Street CEOs and Big Oil executives will have to pay their fair share -- and firefighters and teachers won't continue to pay higher taxes than millionaires.
Contrast: Washington Republicans want a different America than the rest of us -- one where working families sacrifice more so the 1% can pay less.
Discredit: It's unbelievable that Republicans would dare oppose the Buffett Rule, but that's what happens when politicians put donors over voters.
Offer solutions: The truth is that we can invest in America's future and pay down the debt if millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share. Let's start with the Buffett Rule.
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ATTACKS AND RESPONSES
MYTH: "Half of Americans don't pay taxes -- low-income people aren't paying their fair share."
- Actually, all Americans pay taxes. Even those who don't make enough money to pay taxes on their income still pay taxes like payroll, property or sales tax, or taxes on everyday things like gas for their cars.
- Struggling families would be happy to be paying more taxes if it meant they made as much money as millionaires do.
- The richest few are doing better than ever while so many working families are struggling -- let's restore the tax rates we had when millionaires paid their fair share and our economy flourished.
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. President Reagan got it. President Obama gets it. Americans get it. It's time for Republicans in Congress to get it, too.
MYTH: "We can't raise taxes on millionaires because they're our job creators."
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.
- 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 -- even though their average income has skyrocketed over the last generation.
- The "Buffett Rule" proposal that will be voted on in the Senate would require that taxpayers with annual income above $1 million pay a tax rate of at least 30 percent.
- Three-fourths of Americans, including nearly 70% of Republicans, and President Obama support the "Buffett Rule" -- the simple idea that millionaires shouldn't pay lower taxes than working American families.
- 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.
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