Of course it’s popular.
In asking the question, Gallup did not actually use the term “Buffett Rule.” Here’s how the question was asked: “Would you favor or oppose Congress passing a new law that would require households earning $1 million a year or more to pay a minimum of 30 percent of their income in taxes?”
That conforms to the way President Obama has been describing the proposal, though the version of the bill set for a Senate vote on Monday is slightly more complicated. It would mandate that income above $2 million would be taxed at least at a 30 percent rate, with a graduated boost in the minimum marginal rates for income between $1 million and $2 million. The GOP-led House is not expected to take up the bill, and it is thus not expected to become law.
What needs to happen is repealing all of the Bush tax cuts across the board, while raising taxes on the top 2%, and lifting the cap on income that could be taxed for Social Security. Consider that a little Harry Truman truth from a liberal not supporting or campaigning for either candidate.
Republicans don’t want to tax the wealthy, even if the Buffet Rule is only expected to produce $47 billion in ten years and is only a beginning of what’s needed. Who can blame voters for siding with Pres. Obama and the Democrats over it?
While partisans bend over backwards to GOTV, the election will be decided by nonpartisans who get a gut feeling about Obama and Romney, with their own pet policy or prejudice weighing the scale down, and then will vote on emotion. The rest will be about whether the race to the bottom on all sides will depress turnout, because the negative ads just sicken everyone to the point of checking out. Young, single, nonpartisan women are particular impacted by ads and pitches that they feel sound biased.
Raising taxes on the wealthiest has been popular for years. It’s just Barack Obama wouldn’t do it without Buffet as his beard, which is meant as a hit on Romney.
Politically, however, it’s the perfect move.
It comes at the same time the New York Times reports the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) will not “put up a fight” over credit card fees, which provides the perfect political bookend. Obama giveth and he taketh away.
The agency, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, introduced a proposal that would make it easier for credit card issuers to charge fees before borrowers’ accounts were officially open.
The Buffet Rule, meant to be seen as the Romney Rule, has been Pres. Obama’s pitch line all week and good for him. It’s about time. But then it’s time for reelection, so of course he’s in fighting mode. Self-preservation does that to politicians.
Who doesn’t remember the lack of economic message during Obama’s entire first term? Until he went populist in Kansas hoping to wake up the base, he was absent on the economy. Obama’s message malaise of the 2010 midterms and the shellacking led him to sign the extension of the Bush tax cuts, adding to an uninspiring economic message from the Democrats.
I also wonder what might have happened if Pres. Obama would have put his bully pulpit behind empowering judges to help homeowners against foreclosure attacks. Eliot Spitzer interviewed Paul Kiel of Propublica on this story this week. Kiel’s incredible reporting on the foreclosure crisis will either make you mad or break your heart, maybe both.
The industry developed tactics of dubious legality — not just robo-signing, which most Americans have heard of by now, but an array of business practices, some dating to the 1990s, that were designed to skirt the law and fatten profits. The federal and state governments largely tolerated these practices until they pushed Ramos into a tent and all of us into the Great Recession.
Even then, the federal government, facing an electorate bitterly divided over how and even whether to help “irresponsible” homeowners, responded in ways that proved ineffective. To be sure, the government’s efforts were unprecedented, as Obama administration officials have repeatedly insisted. But those efforts were also halfhearted. Only recently, after the banks admitted to widespread law-breaking, did the government launch a response that might prove commensurate with the calamity.
This grandmother’s story — outrageous and complex — is our story, the American foreclosure story.
Pres. Obama and his administration deserve a lot of credit for saving this country from true financial calamity. Considering what could have happened, when you look at your average voter peering in at both candidates, it’s hard to blame anyone for thinking Obama did more than Romney would have, because he was against bailing out GM. Mitt Romney’s austerity mindset would be a killer for our economy, the poor and the middle class. (We haven’t even gotten to foreign policy and the gulf between Obama and Romney on the details, which we’ll discuss at another time.) What Obama did for the car industry, complete with feel good ending, is an American success story. The contraceptive mandate for women showed the man has a pulse on what’s important to we girls, though coming after the Stupak Amendment and his cave on Plan B, he owed us, even if it was all about shoring up the women’s vote. How the Republicans explain their opposition to the Ledbetter Act and the fair pay issue, I have no idea. Again, to average voters this makes no sense.
However, the looming possibility of a grand bargain on entitlements, Obama’s deficit talk and tepidness on progressive economics through a rightward leaning economic conservatism has led our country further right and it didn’t have to happen. Considering Barack Obama is a self-described Blue Dog Democrat, which I’ve been writing since 2007, though in different language, no one who’s been reading around here should be surprised.
It’s why for many people who care less about rabid partisanship, most of America, the Obama vs. Romney contest is not one of vast differences. It’s why Obama reelect using the Buffet (Romney) Rule to frame the election could be effective to frame things early, though something in the wider world always knocks our elections for a loop and this year won’t be any different. The Buffet (Romney) Rule sets the candidates in different camps, as does the contraceptive mandate for women, though that is not an issue on which many people will pin their vote. The economy is.
The American foreclosure story further illustrates the paucity of political courage in the face of great need that reveals efforts from our leaders that always resound toward what’s good for the political future of Pres. Obama or Mitt Romney, seen through his never ending pandering, over what’s actually required or needed, even if by doing your job or proposing policies that actually work, it costs you your job.
It’s always about them, the politician and their own self-preservation, election or reelection. They preen that it’s about you, but there’s been no evidence from either Obama or Romney that they’d be willing to put themselves on the line for something they believe in. This cowardice is the cancer on American politics, which money metastasizes.
So, at this point, the only character that needs casting is Mitt Romney’s vice presidential running mate. To properly fill out the roster, even though I believe Chris Christie would be Romney’s best call, I can’t help but sense the moment is ripe for Paul Ryan. A Romney-Ryan ticket would send the perfect Republican message and set up November just right.