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The tax proposal is dubbed the Buffett Rule, named for its main backer, billionaire Warren Buffett, who says it is unfair that he pays a lower effective tax rate than his secretary. The Buffett Rule ensures millionaires and billionaires do not pay lower percentages of their income than middle-class citizens.
U.S. President Barack Obama, on a campaign fund raising trip, spoke in favor of the Buffett Rule yesterday (Tuesday) in Florida. Democrats are now working on a bill that would incorporate the Buffett Rule into the current tax code, with support from the White House.
The proposal is set for a vote next week in the Senate, and the president has made it a principal element of his plan for deficit reduction.
The White House says the Buffett Rule would make it more difficult for the nation's wealthiest to lower their tax bills and would ultimately make the tax code fairer for everyone.
Critics, however, say it is nothing more than a political ploy in the months leading up to the 2012 presidential election.
The Buffett Rule: Key Campaign Tool in Election 2012The Buffett Rule is a key theme in President Obama's re-election campaign.
Republicans object to the Buffet Rule as a punitive tax hike on rich that will have little impact on the federal deficit. If the GOP succeeds in blocking passage of the Buffett Rule, the president can paint the Republicans as advocates of an unfair tax policy that benefits only the country's most prosperous citizens.
White House officials acknowledged Monday that the controversial Buffett Rule would yield just $47 billion in additional tax revenue over a decade. That amounts to a paltry 0.6% of the $7 trillion in federal deficits projected for that 10-year period.