The Buffett Rule Act Of 2012

Congress seems to be throwing around the name Warren Buffett left and right these days.

Recently, Mister Buffett mentioned that he shouldn’t have to pay a lower tax rate than his secretary.

When this happened, many congressional Democrats, as well as President Barack Obama, jumped upon this opportunity to propose a minimum federal tax rate for the top earners in the nation. They came up with a very catchy title, and called it “the Buffett rule,” which they named after the CEO and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway.

Not to be outdone, the U.S. House of Representative Republicans came up with their own tax proposal yesterday, and the not so coincidental title is called “The Buffett Rule Act of 2012.”

The bill passed the house by voice vote, and it’s going to make it more simple to give money to the United States government by allowing individuals to make voluntary contributions by adding in a place on tax returns. This will help our country pay down the national debt.

According to Representative Sander Levin of Michigan, who is a top Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee, he said that “there’s nothing wrong with this bill except the label. This bill has nothing – zero – to do with the Buffett rule.”

The Democrats were not able to stop the Republicans from borrowing their catch phrase, so they have made it a point to remind their constituents that not all “Buffett rules” are equal.

It is already possible for members of the public to help lower the United States national debt by making a donation online through a credit card, savings account or checking account. It is also possible for you to mail a check into the Bureau of Public Debt. The bill brought forth by the Republicans provides an added opportunity to donate more money on federal income tax forms.

Tax Forms

The proposal said that our federal income tax forms will include the following dialogue and a checkbox that you can fill out. The dialogue is “By checking here, I signify that in addition to my tax liability (if any), I would like to donate the included payment to be used exclusively for the purpose of paying down the national debt.”

This bill will make sure that every donation made would be deposited into the general fund created by the U.S. Treasury, and then it will be transferred to an account that is specifically designed to receive gifts that were donated to help reduce the national debt. This is going to take effect during the 2012 tax year, and every time you make a donation in this vein, it will be tax-deductible.

“If Warren Buffett wants to give, then H.R. 6410 allows him to give to his heart’s content,” stated David Camp who is the Ways and Means Committee Chairman. The Republican out of Michigan also stated that the bill “makes it easy for those who want to donate money to the Treasury for debt reduction to voluntarily do so, without raising taxes on entrepreneurs and job creators.”

The Author of the Bill

Steve Scalise, the Louisiana Republican that also authored this legislation, lets us know that this bill serves two different purposes. It makes voluntary debt reduction contributions very simple and easy just like the one dollar donation to presidential campaign funds, and it also lets the House of Representatives respond to Obama, who brought Debbie Bosanek, the secretary of Warren Buffett, to his State of the Union address in 2012. The President of the United States of America “has used Warren Buffett as the poster child for his class welfare scheme because Buffett complains that he doesn’t pay enough in taxes,” mentioned Scalise in an e-mail that he sent prior to the house vote.

Right after Warren Buffett made his comments in August of 2011 about the things he considers unfair tax rates, the “Buffett rule” concept was proposed just one month later. Scalise didn’t introduce his version of the first form of this bill, having Warren Buffett’s name in the title, until last October.

Senate Measure 

Sheldon Whitehouse, the Rhode Island Democratic Senator, is the main sponsor of a new legislation that will set a 30% minimum federal tax rate on all households that have an adjusted gross income of at least $2 million per year.

On April 16, there was a procedural vote which only received 51 supporters out of the needed 60, in the Democratic-controlled chamber.

By implementing the Scalise bill, revenue will increase by $135 million from the years 2013 through 2022. This is according to an estimate by the nonpartisan congressional Joint Committee on Taxation. In contrast, the measure that Whitehouse put forth would boost the revenue by $47 billion over the next 10 years, which we also learned through the Joint Committee on Taxation.

The bills being discussed are H.R. 3099, H.R. 6410 and S. 2230.

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