Morning Examiner: Obama's Buffett rule farce

Politics,Beltway Confidential,Conn Carroll

President Obama previewed the centerpiece of his reelection campaign when he delivered his State of the Union this January: “Tax reform should follow the Buffett Rule. If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes. … Now, you can call this class warfare all you want. But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes? Most Americans would call that common sense.”

But since Obama’s State of the Union, the president and his press secretary Jay Carney, have been extremely vague about how the Buffett Rule should be implemented. After yesterday, we now know why.

Last month, Sen. Sheldon Whithouse, D-R.I., introduced a bill that actually did translate Obama’s Buffett rule into law, requiring a minimum 30 percent tax rate for the highest U.S. earners. Yesterday, the Joint Committee on Taxation released two revenue estimates of the legislation. The first found that over 11 years Obama’s Buffett rule would raise just $31 billion. JTC was then asked to re-score the bill. They did, with more favorable assumptions about how much income wealthy individuals would shield from taxation. The new verdict: the bill would raise $47 billion over 11 years.

How much is $47 billion over 11 years? Well, in FY 2012 the federal government is expected to spend $3.63 trillion dollars, otherwise known as $9.9 billion a day. In other words, the center piece of Obama’s wealth redistributing tax plan would take 11 years to pay for less than 5 days of federal government spending.

At $47 billion over 11 years, it is clear that the Buffett rule has nothing to do with fairness, common sense, or reducing the debt. Thanks to Sen. Whitehouse and the JTC we now know it is nothing more than election year class warfare rhetoric.

Campaign 2012
Illinois: Mitt Romney won 47 percent of the votes cast in yesterday’s Illinois primary, beating Rick Santorum’s 35 percent by 12 points.=. Ron Paul was in third with 9 percent, and Newt Gingrich in fourth with 8 percent. Romney will get at least 41 delegates from the state, Santorum only 10.

Illinois 16: Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.)-backed Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) defeated Tea Party-backed candidate Rep. Don Manzullo (R-Ill.) in Tuesday’s Illinois’ 16th congressional district primary.

Louisiana: According to a survey conducted by by Republican pollster Magellan Strategies, Santorum leads Romney by 13 points — 37 percent to 24 percent, in Saturday’s Louisiana primary.

Obama: Obama’s reelection campaign raised about $9 million in January giving them $85 million cash on hand. That is more than the entire GOP field combined.

Nebraska Senate: The Nebraska Republican Party will challenge former-Gov. Bob Kerrey’s voter registration in court in order to prevent him entering the Democratic primary for Senate. Kerrey has lived in New York since 2001 and state law requires candidates to be residents of the county in which they register to vote.

Around the Bigs
The Hill, ‘We have the votes’ to pass budget in House, says the GOP’s Paul Ryan: Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, predicted House Budget Committee Paul Ryan’s budget would receive “a strong vote of support” when it hits the House floor next week.

The New York Times, Bill Meant to Help Start-Ups Hits Roadblocks in the Senate: Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., pulled the House Republican JOBS Act from the floor after conservative Republicans defeated a Democratic amendment to include reauthorization of the Export-Import Bank to the bill.

The Los Angeles Times, Obama healthcare law not yet resonating with public: As Obama and his allies gear up to defend the Obamacare on its two-year anniversary Friday, they confront an unforgiving math problem: Just a tiny fraction of Americans has experienced a major benefit from the law. At the same time, tens of millions have continued to see insurance premiums and medical bills rise as they did before the legislation was signed.

The Wall Street Journal, Questions Arise on Gasoline Data: The Energy Information Administration may be under reporting gasoline consumption in the United States due to a flaw in the way their model measures exports.

The Washington Post, Geithner defends IMF euro-loans: Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner defended efforts to bail out Greece and other indebted European countries on Tuesday against House Financial Services Committee charges that International Monetary Fund programs have put U.S. taxpayers at risk.

The Wall Street Journal, Banks Seek Delay on ‘Volcker Rule’: Senators from both parties are working to give regulators more time to write the Volcker rule, which restricts banks’ ability to trade with their own money. The law is set to take effect July 21st but regulators haven’t finished writing it yet.

The Wall Street Journal, General Backs Gradual Afghan Exit: Marine Gen. John Allen, in testimony before the House Armed Services Committee, told Congress that decisions about U.S. troop withdrawals—beyond a current plan to reduce the force to 68,000—wouldn’t come until after the presidential election in November.

Righty Playbook
The Heritage Foundation‘s Lachlan Markay reports that stimulus dollars disproportionately went to states represented by Dems.

Commentary‘s Seth Mandel advises Romney to adopt Ryan’s budget as his campaign message.

In The Wall Street Journal, FreedomWorks’ Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe make the case for Tea Party insurgents in Republican Senate primaries.

Lefty Playbook
The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein says Ryan’s budget forces the poor to pay for deficit reduction.

Slate‘s Matt Yglesias says Ryan wants to destroy the safety net.

The New Republic‘s Jonathan Cohn predicts Chief Justice John Roberts will vote to uphold Obamacare.

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