Robert Meyer
"Buffet Rule" recipe for economic envy
By Robert Meyer
April 24, 2012

While the U. S. Senate lacked the votes to pass the "Buffet Rule," it turns out that Obama, like Warren Buffet, probably paid a lower percentage on his federal income taxes than his secretary.

The Obama's just released their tax return last week. Their AGI is $789,674, but the taxable income was $496,376 and the Federal Tax was $162,074. So the tax rate on the taxable income is not 20.5% but 32.65%. And of course, taxable income is never the category considered when we make comparisons between the percentage of tax people are paying. If we use AGI, rather than taxable income to determine payment rates, then I must confess that even as a taxpayer claiming the standard deduction, I paid less than 5% to the federal government — a smaller percentage than Mr. Buffet or his secretary.

Obama reduced his taxable income through substantial charitable contributions. Good for him. I have finally found a reason to praise Obama. Why are someone's charitable deductions never viewed as part of the equation when we decide whether someone is paying their fair share? While its certainly true that not all charitable contributions are for feeding people and providing sustenance, when they are, it should be noted that such philanthropy takes the place of federal taxation for the same purpose. In fact, money given to a well run, fiscally efficient charity, is more effectual than money taxed by the government for the same, or similar purposes.

Nothing prevented either Warren Buffet or Obama from paying 30% of their income if they believed their tax rate was too low. But neither of them did. In fact they took advantage of the loopholes available to them to decrease their taxable income. This is all done to manufacture yet another divisive class warfare issue. Had the "Buffet Rule" passed, it wouldn't have meant millionaires would all be paying 30% of their income to the feds, only that they would try harder to shelter income, or evade taxation. It is likely Buffet has much of his wealth in trust funds, which makes tax rates irrelevant.

It seems that Buffett's own company, Berkshire Hathaway, could have contributed more taxes over the last decade. Instead, it's been involved in a long-running legal battle with the Internal Revenue Service to avoid responsibility for a bill that some estimate as close to $1 billion. Yes, do as he says, not as he does. Warren Buffett complains that the rich aren't paying their fair share, yet his own company has been fighting to avoid paying a larger share at the current rate, which is much less 30%.

What constitutes a fair share? Nobody seems capable of defining that ethereal concept. What makes for good rhetoric often makes for poor logic and worse policy. Obama knows taxing the rich at higher rates will barely put a dent in the national debt. It will make some people feel better that the rich are being targeted by Obama's quest for "fairness" though. This is another psychological gambit of class warfare.

Then of course there is always the religious argument evoked during a discussion of this topic. It is a cruel irony indeed. How often do we hear about the need for a secular society — that we must have absolute separation of church and state. No religious precepts influencing public policy. The same people who tell us that religion and the Bible must be kept out of the schools and government as it pertains to moral strictures, are quick to reference Jesus when it comes to needing an advocate for government wealth redistribution policies. The funny thing about it is that Jesus never conflated charity with government programs. My good friend Dr. Jake Jacobs calls the people responsible for such deconstructive comparisons "Red Letter Marxists."

Jesus speaks in Matthew 25:35-36

35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; 36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.

Notice all the uses of the personal pronoun "You." That sure ain't the federal government he's taking about. In other words, we as individuals, or collectively as a church body, are personally responsible for these mandates. Shifting all these duties to government negates personal responsibility and confuses compassion with coercion. Of course, liberals are afraid need would never be met if it were dependent voluntary and not forced.

I guess they have no faith that mankind is basically good when it's all said and done.

© Robert Meyer


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Robert Meyer

Robert Meyer is a hardy soul who hails from the Cheesehead country of the upper midwest... (more)


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