President Obama is urging Congress to pass the “Buffett Rule,” saying lawmakers who oppose it will have to “go on record” and explain to the American people where they are getting the money to keep funding tax breaks for the wealthy.
“We have to make choices. When it comes to paying down the deficit and investing in our future, should we ask middle-class Americans to pay even more at a time when their budgets are already stretched to the breaking point? Or should we ask some of the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share?” Obama said in his weekly address.
The president’s proposal would require those making more than $1 million a year to pay at least the same tax rate as middle-class families. The rule is named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who has said publicly that he should not pay a lower tax rate than his secretary.
“Some people call this class warfare. But I think asking a billionaire to pay at least the same tax rate as his secretary is just common sense. We don’t envy success in this country. We aspire to it. But we also believe that anyone who does well for themselves should do their fair share in return, so that more people have the opportunity to get ahead – not just a few,” the president said.
Obama, who has positioned himself to run against the “do-nothing Congress,” said if lawmakers “vote to keep giving tax breaks to people like me – tax breaks our country can’t afford – then they’re going to have to explain to you where that money comes from.”
“Either it’s going to add to our deficit, or it’s going to come out of your pocket. Seniors will have to pay more for their Medicare benefits. Students will see their interest rates go up at a time when they can’t afford it. Families who are scraping by will have to do more because the richest Americans are doing less,” he said. “That’s not right. That’s not who we are. In America, our story has never been about what we can do by ourselves – it’s about what we can do together.”