Reader Meter: Bureaucrats and the ‘Buffett rule’

Sometimes it’s difficult to identify trends in e-mail and phone calls. Not because we aren’t receiving them — believe me, we are — but because the topics readers are concerned about vary.

But leave it to a good government scandal to get people riled up. Namely, a 2010 Las Vegas conference of the General Services Administration (GSA), a government agency that is supposed to ensure that government purchases are given to the lowest bidders and taxpayer funds are not wasted. GSA spent more than $800,000 on its conference in Sin City, which included a mind reader, a clown and the purchase of bicycles for a team building activity.

Reader reaction differed. Some wrote in to vent while others criticized The Posts’s coverage and treatment of the scandal. Either way, our readers reminded us that they are also taxpayers, and the perceived misuse of their money isn’t something they take lightly.

Surprisingly, we haven’t received much regarding the Secret Service incident with prostitutes in Colombia.

Then there’s President Obama’s recent tax proposal to make sure that taxpayers who earn most of their income from interest and dividends pay an equivalent tax rate to wage earners — otherwise known as the “Buffett rule,” named for billionaire financier and major shareholder in The Washington Post Company Warren E. Buffett — which has also provoked reader response.

Most of the feedback we received from readers was critical of the Buffett rule, including this from a writer in Texas:

“The jobs creators come from the high income and high taxpaying people. The Buffett Rule seeks to punish this group. It might sound good for those jealous of ‘rich’ people to have them pay more, even though the top 10 percent pay about 50 percent of all federal income taxes.

More important than that, if Obama takes this money, who will create those sorely needed jobs? We are hurting ourselves by aligning with the left wing punishers. Think again. If you need a job or want our economy to improve, don’t take the tools (money) from those who use it to create those jobs.”

Bureaucrats partying in Las Vegas, Secret Service agents soliciting in Colombia and more debate on taxing the rich — with seven months to go it’s already shaping up to be a rather lively election season.

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