September 18, 2011; Source: New York Times | Although there were few details available at press time, President Barack Obama was scheduled today to propose $3 trillion in total deficit reduction measures over the next 10 years. Aides told the New York Times that Obama wants to see $1.5 trillion in tax hikes, mostly on the wealthy, come out of the “Super Committee” process that must deliver a deficit reduction plan by November 23. In particular, the aides said, Obama will propose a so-called “Buffett Rule,” named for investor and tax-equity advocate Warren Buffett, that would ensure that individuals earning more than $1 million annually will pay taxes at a higher rate than those making less than $250,000. Buffett recently published an op-ed in the Times urging Congress to raise taxes on the rich. According to this Times article, Obama will pledge to veto any plan that fails to include tax hikes. Republicans are reportedly readying themselves for a fight based on their no-new-taxes agenda.
Obama’s announcement comes in the wake of Census figures released last week that showed rising poverty and lower incomes for the middle class, and job creation during the 10 years since the first round of Bush tax cuts has been anemic at best. Given that, the American people might (we hope) have a hard time swallowing a plan that asks nothing of the nation’s wealthiest citizens.—Ruth McCambridge