At the annual prayer breakfast this morning, President Obama suggested that his proposed tax increases on the wealthy are in accordance with the teachings of Jesus Christ.
“In a time when many folks are struggling and at a time when we have enormous deficits, it’s hard for me to ask seniors on a fixed income or young people with student loans or middle-class families who can barely pay the bills to shoulder the burden alone,” he said. “And I think to myself, if I’m willing to give something up as somebody who’s been extraordinarily blessed and give up some of the tax breaks that I enjoy, I actually thinks that’s going to make economic sense.”
The president continued: “But for me as a Christian, it also coincides with Jesus’ teaching that, from to whom much is given, much shall be required.”
He added that the principle also “mirrors the Islamic belief that though who’ve been blessed have an obligation to use those blessings to help others; or the Jewish doctrine of moderation and consideration for others.”
Starting with his State of the Union address, President Obama has been making tax increases on wealthier Americans a major part of his policy and reelection campaign. He and his team cite the so-called “Buffett Rule” – a principle named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett – as a centerpiece of this policy push. The Buffett Rule would require that millionaires and billionaires pay at least 30% of their income in taxes, even if their income comes from investments and therefore is currently taxed at a lower rate.
On Capitol Hill, members of the president’s party have introduced legislation that would raise taxes on people making more than $1 million per year.
The issue of government support for the poor has been a hot topic on the campaign trail lately. When GOP front-runner Mitt Romney said yesterday that his campaign was focused on the middle class, and not on the “very poor”, for whom there is a social safety net in place, it was seized by Democrats seeking to paint the Republican frontrunner as an out-of-touch, heartless robber baron with no concern for the poor.
The annual prayer breakfast, held at the Washington Hilton, began in 1953.
The president also mentioned how the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives had partnered with Catholic Charities to help the poor, but he made no mention of how leaders of the Catholic Church are currently irate about the recent Obama administration rule requiring every health insurance program to include contraception, even though Catholic dogma opposes many forms of birth control and considers some of them – including birth controls pills – the taking of human life.