Cloaking himself in the language of class warfare, he calls on a hostile Congress to end wasteful tax breaks for the rich. "We're going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that allow some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share," he thunders to a crowd in Georgia. Such tax loopholes, he adds, "sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his salary – and that's crazy."
Preacherlike, the president draws the crowd into a call-and-response. "Do you think the millionaire ought to pay more in taxes than the bus driver," he demands, "or less?"
The crowd, sounding every bit like the protesters from Occupy Wall Street, roars back: "MORE!"
The year was 1985 and if you guessed Ronald Reagan you'd be right.
Fast forward to today and the
Do we want to keep giving tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans like me, or Warren Buffett, or Bill Gates -- people who don't need them and never asked for them? Or do we want to keep investing in things that will grow our economy and keep us secure? Because we can't afford to do both.
Now, some people call this class warfare. But I think asking a billionaire to pay at least the same tax rate as his secretary is just common sense. We don't envy success in this country. We aspire to it. But we also believe that anyone who does well for themselves should do their fair share in return, so that more people have the opportunity to get ahead – not just a few.
On April 16th the Senate will vote on the "Buffett Rule" and we'll find out whether or not they'll join Presidents Reagan and Obama in favor of fairness.