The Washington Post

CAP: Why we need the Buffett Rule

Over the past few months, President Obama has championed what he calls the “Buffett Rule,” following the disclosure that billionaire Warren Buffett pays a lower federal tax rate than his secretary.

“The Buffett Rule is a principle of basic fairness — it’s the principle that millionaires shouldn’t be paying a smaller share of their income in taxes than people below them on the income scale,” says Seth Hanlon of the Center for American Progress.

This month, Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) introduced the Paying a Fair Share Act of 2012, which would turn the idea behind the Buffett Rule into part of the U.S. tax code, requiring all households with incomes above $1 million to pay a minimum 30 percent tax rate.

Hanlon argues that implementing the Buffett Rule would help address the long-term budget challenges the United States faces — by asking the wealthy to contribute rather than by simply relying on budget cuts — and he points out that millionaires can afford it. Doing so, he argues, would go a long way to restoring the faith of American people that the tax system is more fair than not.

(See the seven reasons Hanlon cites for implementing the Buffett Rule.)

Allen McDuffee writes about politics and policy and covered think tanks for The Washington Post from 2011 to 2013. He freelances and hosts a podcast at and is currently working on a book about the influence of think tanks in Washington.


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