There were several significant developments in the budget debate this morning. House Budget Committee Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., released a budget plan to put America on a sustainable fiscal course. Shortly after, the White House issued a press release blasting the budget. Then, the Associated Press reported that an analysis by the Joint Committee on Taxation -- Congress's scorekeeper on revenue -- confirmed that the "Buffett rule" that President Obama had repeatedly touted in his deficit speeches, was really just a class warfare talking point and not a serious plan to tackle the federal debt.
Obama, relying on the anecdote that billionaire investor Warren Buffett pays a lower effective tax rate than his secretary, had argued that his vision for reducing the deficit involved making sure that the super rich paid their "fair share." Hence, the "Buffett Rule." But the JCT analysis found that a version of the rule introduced by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., would raise just $31 billion over the next 11 years. By contrast, the cumulative deficits in Obama's budget over that time period, 2012 through 2022, are just over $8 trillion. I made a chart below to demonstrate this, though granted, the $31 billion is hard to make out.