Monday, April 16, 2012

Ron Johnson votes "no" on the Buffett rule

Millionaire senator votes to protect his own assets over desires of the people

It comes as no surprise, but Wisconsin's Republican Sen. Ron Johnson, himself a wealthy millionaire, voted against a tax proposal that would ensure all millionaires paid a reasonable tax in this country.

As it stands right now, millionaires like Johnson oftentimes only pay effective tax rates that are near or around 25 percent of their incomes -- about the same rate as what middle class Americans pay. What's more, as incomes get higher, it seems that the rich are paying less proportionally in taxes.

Nearly 100,000 millionaires pay LESS than what the middle class pays as a percentage of income. And in 2009, nearly 1,500 Americans earning more than $1 million paid NO taxes on that income whatsoever.

The Buffett rule would have changed that, requiring millionaires (who comprise about 0.3 percent of the U.S. population) to pay an effective tax rate of 30 percent.

The notion that the rich should pay a higher rate than the poor and middle classes isn't a notion that solely exists within the Democratic Party's minds -- it was also a notion shared by former President Ronald Reagan:
We’re going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that allow some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share. In theory, some of those loopholes were understandable, but in practice they sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying ten percent of his salary, and that’s crazy. [...] Do you think the millionaire ought to pay more in taxes than the bus driver or less?
A rather amusing notion to take note of, considering that those very views might force Reagan out of his own party were he to express them today.

Sen. Ron Johnson's "no" vote today symbolizes the current Republican Party's reluctance to realize the people of this country WANT this rule in place, in fact desire a truly fair tax plan. Whether that reluctance comes from the fact that millionaires are funding their campaigns, or that nearly half of Congress are themselves millionaires, it isn't quite clear.

Yet when it comes to our own senator who voted against the rule, it shouldn't be forgotten that, come Ron Johnson's re-election, when it truly mattered, the millionaire senator voted to protect his own interests over those of his constituents.

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