Paying a Fair Share or the Buffett Rule

I’ve gotten several email recently from the President, from Elizabeth Warren and from other progressive organizations about the Senate vote on the Buffett rule.  Since I’m pretty sure that Senator John Kerry will vote for the bill and Senator Scott Brown will vote against it, I haven’t called, emailed or written either of them about it.

I have, however,  wondered what the bill actually does.  So thank you to Ezra Klein’s Wonkblog in the Washington Post this morning for his explanation.  The big vote everyone is talking about is actually a bill introduced by Senator Sheldon Whitehouse from Rhode Island.  He explained the bill to Ezra who explains it to us.

In other words: The “Paying a Fair Share Act” doesn’t mean someone making $1,500,000 will pay at least the same percentage of his income in taxes as the average middle-class family. It means he would pay a somewhat higher marginal rate on the income he earns over $1 million — in this case, on the excess $500,000.

Moreover, that higher marginal rate would only reach 30 percent on income over $2 million. Between $1 million and $2 million, the Buffett rule phases in so as to avoid a sharp “tax cliff” at the million-dollar mark.

But would it still raise money to help ease the deficit?

Another misconception: The proposal doesn’t raise $47 billion over 10 years. Or, rather, it does, but only if you use the “current law baseline” that assumes the full expiration of the Bush tax cuts. No one really uses that baseline. If you look at Paul Ryan’s budget, for instance, its appendix tables use a “current policy baseline,” which assumes, among other things, that the Bush tax cuts are extended.

Compared with that baseline, the Paying a Fair Share Act actually raises about $160 billion. Still not enough to solve our deficit problems on its own, but nothing to sneeze at.

So as usual it is a little more complicated than the President makes it sound, but still a good thing to support.



Warren Buffet and Boston Speed Dog

There is someone in this universe who doesn’t know who Warren Buffet is.  That someone is Greg Dale the owner of Speed Dog, the Boston food truck.

According to the Boston Globe

The billionaire investor was in Boston this week for a meeting with execs at Yale Electric. Afterward, we’re told, Buffett, his burly bodyguard, and a few folks from the Dorchester-based home appliance store headed over to Boston Speed Dog, the food truck in Roxbury that sells the most scrumptious hot dogs. Not surprisingly, Buffett loved the dog and joked that he wanted to buy the truck. When we asked Speed Dog co-owner Greg Gale about his brush with fame, he was confused. “Really? He was here? I didn’t even know,” Gale said. “I love his music.” No, we explained, it was Warren Buffett, not Jimmy Buffett. He’s an older guy with grey hair and glasses, we said. “Oh yeah,” replied Gale. “Now that you mention it, I did talk to him. He said he wanted to buy the place, and I told him, ‘You don’t have enough money.’”

Recording artist Jimmy Buffett looks up to spe...

Image via Wikipedia






Warren Buffett speaking to a group of students...

Image via Wikipedia




There is some resemblance.  I wonder if Warren can sing.