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'Buffett rule' revenue now put at $47B

However President Obama's proposed tax on millionaires is estimated, it's small compared with the federal budget deficit.

By Teresa Mears Mar 21, 2012 11:14PM

President Barack Obama's proposed "Buffett rule" to raise taxes on the rich would generate about $47 billion over the next decade -- more than estimated earlier this week but still not much, the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation indicates.


However you figure it, the revenue would be dwarfed by a budget deficit of about $1 trillion a year.


The committee had initially set the figure at $31 billion but then revised its figures, citing an error in economic modeling. Neither number would be enough to raise what would be lost if the alternative minimum tax were repealed, as Obama has suggested.


"The President's so-called Buffett Rule is a dog that just won't hunt. It was designed for no other reason than politics -- there is no economic rationale for it," Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, who requested the committee analysis, said in a statement."It would do little to bring down the debt, wouldn't come close to getting rid of the alternative minimum tax (AMT) and would make our tax code even more complex than it already is." (Post continues after video.)

The committee analysis assumes that Bush-era tax cuts, scheduled to expire at the end of the year, will not be renewed.


Other organizations have projected higher revenue from Obama's proposal to require those making more than $1 million a year to pay at least 30% of their income in federal income tax.


The Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center estimated the plan would raise about $114 billion between 2012 and 2022. That still wouldn't be enough to replace the AMT revenue. The Hill has more analysis.


Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democrat from Rhode Island, has proposed that the Buffett rule be phased in for taxpayers making between $1 million and $2 million because "it's simply the right thing to do."


"No matter how you slice it, that’s real money that could help bring down our deficit," Whitehouse said in a statement.


One reason the measure wouldn't raise more is that many millionaires would find ways around the tax, John D. McKinnon reported in The Wall Street Journal. He wrote:

One problem, according to congressional estimators, is that many millionaires would find ways to avoid the new rule, mostly by cutting back on stock sales and other transactions that produce capital gains. Capital-gains income is taxed at relatively low rates, so a lot of capital-gains income would tend to force wealthy people into the proposed minimum tax . . . .Wealthy people also could speed up asset sales so that they would occur before the new minimum tax goes into effect.

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Mar 22, 2012 8:52AM

The bottom line is our goverment needs to cut waste... Too many check drawers that are milking the system, no check and balance system to make sure the ones getting a check really deserve it. Lets face it... we see on the news about how the goverment has released money for utilities in the summer to help some woman with 3 kids keep the a/c on... Well where is the dad to these kids??  Its not my or your place to give this woman anything for having these kids.... We all know people who have kids just for the check.. the couple wont marry to keep the checks coming in and they have 3 or 4 kids and we keep them up... I have a good job making a little over $ 50,000 a year.. I cant afford a kit after the taxes, utilities, gas, food etc so why should I keep up someone that wont work shops at  a drug store ??  IF IT WERE SET UP ONLY A AMERICAN CITIZEN GETS ANYTHING FROM GOVERMENT WOULD BE A GOOD START.. NEXT ONLY ONE KID CAN GET GOVERMENT ASSISTANCE FROM ANY WOMAN... YOU WILL SEE THE CYCLE START TO BREAK... WE ARE OVER TAXED FOR THESE PILL HEADS THAT WONT WORK... THOSE THAT NEED IT AND ACTUALLY ENTITLED TO IT..  I HAVE NO PROBLEM.. BUT WHEN A FRIEND OF MINE IS IN A WHEEL CHAIR CAN HOLD DOWN A JOB ... I DONT SEE WHY SOMEONE THAT CAN WALK .. TALK .. ETC CANT.... CUT THE WASTE AND CUT MY TAXES.... I WORK FOR MY MONEY.... I WANT TO SPEND IT HOW I WANT...

Mar 22, 2012 9:56AM
Over a TRILLION dollar deficit EVERY year under Obama. TRILLIONS in debt. And the Obama answer is taxing the rich! Taxing the rich which will net $47 Billion (not TRILLION) over A DECADE mean only $4.7 Billion per year. Lets see here WHITE HOUSE projected 2012 deficit = $1.33 TRILLION - $4.7 Billion for taxing the rich = a 2012 deficit of $1.325 TRILLION...

$1.33 TRILLION vs $1.325 TRILLION. That is your "answer" to the problem? Really?

Finally someone ran the numbers and proved what Republicans have been saying, taxing the rich isn't the answer. It would make such a small dent in the deficit it is a joke. The only thing taxing the rich does is buy the votes of stupid and/or poor people that really think taxing those horrible rich people is the answer and put a smile on the face of jealous people. I'm far from rich but I have no desire to punish those with more than me with higher taxes.

Mar 22, 2012 3:06PM
It's been well established that 500 billion was taken out of Medicare and Medicare Advantage plans to fund HCR. Shouldn't be any dispute about that. It's also well known that last year's payroll tax cut and this one are monies headed for SS that didn't quite get there. The cost of healthcare reform was just raised from 900 billion to 1.6 trillion over 10 years. Who's BS- ing who here? In Jan., 2013, the GWB tax cuts expire and the general public, all of us, will get a BIG tax increase. Even with that, we're not going to balance the scales. Fact is, we're not even putting back what's being spent-----just more borrowed money. We came within inches of defaulting on our debt for the 1st time in history. We had our credit rating lowered for the first time ever. Giving congress more money is just giving them more to spend. They won't shrink the deficit, They'll find new play toys. It'll take a BIG cut in spending to get close not counting the accrued debt already. 
A person making a million a year legally most likely earned that money and deserves to live on $850,000 a year.  Same as someone making $10 million and living on $8,500,000.  Those making $10,000 deserve to live on their $8,500 but can have some supplements until they get a chance to get a better education or job.   That is their lot in life which they should try to improve upon.   Getting the free handout forever doesn't do anything for their betterment in life.
Just as those making $50,000 today would have to live on $42,500.   If you don't like living on $8,500 or $42,500, you can always better your education and get a better job.  Going to a trade school improves your lot in life at a very minimal cost.   Investing in the stock market is a good way to increase your wealth over time by investing small amounts..
Why should the person making a million a year have to live on less just so someone making less can have more?   Life doesn't have to be a fair one to one ratio.  
Hypothetically then, if you make more than I do, you would gladly share with me?   If you said yes, I wouldn't want it anyway.   
I do not begrudge anyone making more than I do and think that what I make is what I earned.    If I want more, I will find a way to legally make more so I can live better.  I would most likely find a second job before I would take away from you and yours. 

Most of the People I know are the same type.   They work and manage their lives on what they make or they try to make more by doing something else.   Handouts and taking more from those that earned their money are not the answer to our problems.   Living within our means and getting better at what we do are some good answers to some of our problems. 
Mar 22, 2012 2:55PM
Tax the slackers that pay nothing or next to nothing. 47% pay $0.00, 20% pay almost nothing, the top 1% pay 1/3 of the total income taxes while the top 25% pay 85% of the total. Liberals have never been very good at math or economics but are very good at whining.  And these slugs still think it's the guys actually paying taxes that aren't paying their share.

The Federal Gov't was designed to represent the collective states in International Affairs like wars and commerce, only with the ratification by the states.  


It should go back to that function instead of trying to run the lives of the individual person in all the different states.  


Our country is not "America" run by a President, it is a Republic called, The United States of America, a group of now, 50 states with 50 different Governors and Legislatures who are represented in the World 's Affairs by a President elected by all 50 states in a Electoral college so not one state has more power than another.


Mar 22, 2012 3:14PM

The whole fair tax argument is not exactly fair.  A person making a $1,000,000, for them to live on $850,000 is a whole different story than person who makes $10,000 trying to live on $8,500.  Is that fair?  Not at all.  Our tax system is progressive, meaning the more you make, the more you get taxed.  What most people don't know is that when Buffet talks about paying a lower % than his secretary, that is because of his income is from capital gains and capital gains are taxed at 15%.  It's really not fair for him to say that, just makes for good headlines.


It's all the deductions and write offs that allow folks to get out of paying more taxes.  I think most of us here that post use those deductions and write offs legally.  Businesses do to.  We need to bark up that tree and not the "tax the millionaires" tree.

Mar 23, 2012 11:40AM

So we robbed the rich for another $47 billion. So that reduced our $1.3 trillion deficit spending to $1.253 trillion deficit spending.


O' but wait, the CBO came out and said O'bummer care will cost another $900 billion over 10 years which for you math impared is $90 billion a year.


Seems to me the black hole just keeps getting deeper and deeper.


Thank God I don't have a Liberal balancing my checkbook!!!


We need a President with enough savvy to reduce the deficit so what we pay in taxes is sufficient to pay off the burden of the Federal Gov't.   Everyone should pay some form of a percentage of what they earn so they can say they support their Gov't.    Taxing everyone at the same rate will make the buying of votes before every election un-necessary. 


A person making $10,000 a year taxed at 15% pays in $1,500.    A person making  $1,000,000 a year pays in $150,000.   Now who can say that is not a fair share?  Some of that $150,000 can go to supplement the person who is making $10,000 a year until such time they can increase their income by getting a better job.    Sometimes people may just need a hand up and not a hand out.    

Mar 25, 2012 10:52AM

Taxes aren't fair, life isn't fair but then where is our constitution does it guarantee fairness. Bottom line we've been spending more than we take in.

Has to be a two part solution.


Cut spending and waste

Increase taxes for everyone


I am a conservative by nature; our tax rates are simply too low... and yea I will probably get one of the biggest hits "yet the writing is on the wall" so my defense is it isn't fair ... immature unrealistic response.


What really kills me is the disconnect between the parties.... thats not fair whannn





Mar 22, 2012 1:25PM
Federal expenditures are now over 25% of GDP, used to run 20% plus. or minus 2%.  First objective: get spending under control and back to 20%.  Federal expenditure consist basically of two self funded programs: Social Security and Medicare.  Their shortfalls get subsidized by the general budget and their annual surpluses are stolen by the government for other purposes.  Second objective: Reform those programs to make them solidly self funded and insulated from raids by general government (Privatizing them over time in a sensible way should be seriously considered.  Administration by the government has been terribly destructive--the "raids" mentioned above, and the abuses in handing out disability pensions).  The rest of the budget consist of various welfare programs (Medicaid, unemployment, aid to families, etc.), defense (18% of the budget excluding wars), and general operations and other (10% or so.  Yes welfare programs including ss and medicare total 70% of the budget. Third objective: limit welfare programs to the truly needy and deserving with sunset provisions for those capable of achieving independence (this should include a cap as a % of the total budget and rules that limit programs to the bottom 10% of the population).  Fourth objective: provide for a funding mechanism which goes on and off with wars (such as a tax surcharge which goes on when war is declared and off when we win or turn tail).  Fifth objective: tax everybody on a progressive basis with a bottom rate of at least 1% and a hard cap on the top rate at say 25%, eliminating tax preferences, "loopholes" , etc (including mortgage interest deduction, charitable deductions, etc,--we should not be forced to subsidize other peoples' wet dreams). 
Mar 22, 2012 11:36AM
Wait a week!! We don't know how big this thing is going to get!!!!!
Mar 28, 2012 6:40PM

The problem with just going out to further your education is not always that simple for all.  This remark is based on the assumption that everyone has the capacity to be educated.  In addition, if I am not mistaken, we have a good number of college educated young people that can't pay for their school loans due to the fact that they cannot find a job in their field. Tax everyone equally, and tie up the loop holes so the rich can't find a way around it.  If you love this country and want it to survive then do your part, and that goes for everyone!!!!!! Bring manufacturing jobs back to the USA, we need to have jobs  available to the masses, not just the college educated to drive this economy.  Simply stated, greed is the downfall of this country.

Mar 27, 2012 8:57PM
The problem with the tax system much like the appropriations system is that each was  established to consolidate political power. With the wealthy it is designed to compel campaign donations for the lower middle and down it is designed to secure votes. Fair is an exercise to wind up the middle educated class by mass media to generate revenue. The Country is perhaps irreparably broken and we can look in the mirror for the reason.
Don't you just love all this crap about Buffett and taxes. IMO it is time to ask Buffett to pay his back taxes. Google "Buffett owes IRS back taxes". You will see he owes IRS over One Billion Dollars. Is it possible that he is supporting Obama so The President and his TurboTax Sec. of Treasury wil call the IRS off his case?
Mar 22, 2012 1:03PM

thnkbtt2 - Taxing those with income > $1,000,000 is not intended to eliminate the deficit.

I think the issue is that those of us making thousands of dollars per year are contributing a larger piece of our income than those who are making millions of dollars per year.

Mar 22, 2012 5:10PM
Everybody pays taxes,  get a clue. The poor pay proportionately higher taxes compared to income. Gas tax, sales tax, phone and tv tax, etc, etc, etc.. So get a grip. The poor pay plenty compared to what they make. Try and think for once.
Mar 22, 2012 10:32AM
The  right idea is to not tax anybody that makes over $1 Million. Apparently they will find a way to avoid any tax. So why try. This is some kind of Dr Evil logic. $47 Billion isn't enough so why bother. What kind of stupid propaganda is this?
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