Floor Updates

Thune, Baucus, Barrasso

Buffett Rule bill (S. 2230)

Apr 16 2012

03:48 PM

Senator Thune: (3:13 PM)
  • Spoke on the Buffett Rule.
    • SUMMARY "President Obama has been flying around the country touting the importance of a proposal that if enacted would raise about half of one day's worth of federal spending. So between now and this time tomorrow, we will actually spend more federal tax dollars than what this would bring in an entire year. In an entire year. Put another way, the revenue this legislation would generate each year amounts to .003% of the national debt. .003% of the federal debt. This bill would raise less than 1% of the $1.4 trillion in deficits projected under the Obama administration's budget. It's not about deficit reduction or taking meaningful action to get our fiscal house in order. What then is this legislation about? The President and men and women democrat members of congress stated they believe the Buffett Rule is about quote tax fairness end quote. This view is wealthy Americans are not paying "their fair share." The facts simply don't support that view. According to the organization for economic cooperation and development, the United States already has the most progressive income tax system among its 34 member nations. In fact, in 2009 the top 1% of taxpayers by adjusted gross income paid 37% of all income taxes even though accounted for 17% of all income. The top 5% of taxpayers paid nearly 60% of all income taxes even though they only accounted for about 32% of all income. In 2009, taxpayers with over a million dollars in adjusted gross income accounted for 10% of income reported but paid 20% of income taxes. In terms of effective income taxes rates Congressional Research Service recently reported that the effective tax rate among millionaires is already 30%. It's true some millionaires like Warren Buffett pay a lower rate because they get a large percentage of their income from education and dividends. It isn't a tax loophole. It's the result of a deliberate policy by Congress and past Presidents to encourage new investments in our economy. Had, in fact, if 1997 a Democrat President Bill Clinton signed into law a reduction in the capital gains doubled over the next three years. Unemployment fell below 4%. The increased federal revenue from capital gains helped achieve a federal budget surplus the Buffett tax would take us in the opposite direction. The Buffett tax is nothing more than more than a back door tax on the capital gains that is earned by upper-income taxpayers."

Senator Baucus: (3:27 PM)
  • Honored Montana's soldiers serving in the military.

Senator Barrasso: (3:33 PM)
  • Spoke on the Buffett Rule.
    • SUMMARY "This tax will take money from the pockets of small businesses that they would use to create jobs. More than a third of all business income reported on individual returns would be hit by this tax increase. Back in September, President Obama said that this tax hike on American families would raise enough money not only to pay for his increased spending but he said, "to stabilize our debt and deficits for the next decade." He said back then, he said, "This is not politics." He said, "This is math." Well, of course we now know that the Buffett tax is about only one thing - politics. The increased tax revenue would amount to about $5 billion this year, which is about the same amount of money that Washington will borrow over the next day and a half. The President would have to collect his so-called Buffett tax for more than 200 years just to cover the Obama deficit from last year alone. That's not just my math. That's the math from the Joint Committee on Taxation. The Buffett tax won't fix Washington's debt because Washington doesn't have a revenue problem, it has a spending problem. Even one of President Obama's top economic advisors finally admits that the Buffett tax will not "bring the deficit down and the debt under control." Based on his record, it is clear that the President would not put a single dollar raised by his new tax toward the debt. He will just spend it. So the President has now changed his story once again. Now he says that this is no longer a way to pay down the deficit. Now he says it's just a matter of fairness. Well, President Obama has been using the word "fair" in quite a few of his campaign speeches lately. It's a word of great appeal to most people. Just like hope and change, the buzz words of the 2008 Presidential campaign, people can interpret it to fit their own meaning. President Obama's idea of fairness doesn't match up with the American people's idea of fairness ... Today the Obama administration is trying to make Washington irreplaceable in the lives of Americans. The great irony, the great tragedy is that no one is more trapped by this failed redistribution than the poorest. The people that the president so often claims to be trying to help. That's part of the downside to the culture of dependency. It's why Washington company never provide for people as well as people could and should provide for themselves. President Obama is focusing on fixing all the faults he sees in the American people. Republicans are focusing on giving the American people the opportunity to succeed using their talents and their hard work."