Friday, April 20, 2012

The "Buffett Rule" Rule

I would like to humbly propose a new political rule, which I am dubbing the "Buffett Rule" rule. Given all the whining from Republicans, such as Mitt Romney, about how "little" money the Buffett Rule would raise by taxing the very rich--$46.7 billion over 10 years--here is the new rule: Anyone who opposes the Buffett Rule on the grounds that it doesn't raise a significant amount of money and is therefore a "political gimmick" must henceforth be forbidden from complaining about any government expenditure less than $4.67 billion per year (the 10 year figure divided by 10). If this simple rule of argumentative consistency is observed, it should save us all a lot of conservative whining. To be sure, the Buffett Rule is only a small start in improving the fairness of our tax system. I am no great fan of the Obama Administration's timid approach to policy. The Buffett Rule is really the bare minimum we should be doing. I don't see how anyone who claims to be concerned about the long-term budget deficit could possibly oppose raising $46.7 billion over ten years from the people most able to afford it. But, even if this timid yet sensible proposal fails (which it seems destined to do, at least in the short term) from now on I hope we can enforce the "Buffett Rule" rule against anyone who claims $46.7 billion is a gimmicky, insignificant sum.