President Obama is taking more and more criticism over the gimmicky tax hike, the Buffett Tax, he’s been pushing all week. Of course, the tax would barely make a dent in the massive Obama deficits, will do absolutely nothing to help with high gas prices and certainly “won’t get you a job,” as a National Journal analysis piece declared. But today, more observers are calling out the president for how his Buffett Tax is far more politics than substance.
In a blistering column, The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, certainly not someone considered a conservative flatly declares the Buffett Tax “a gimmick.” He writes, “President Obama admits it: His proposed ‘Buffett Rule’ tax on millionaires is a gimmick. ‘There are others who are saying: “Well, this is just a gimmick. Just taxing millionaires and billionaires, just imposing the Buffett Rule, won’t do enough to close the deficit,”’ Obama declared Wednesday. ‘Well, I agree.’ Actually, the gimmick was apparent even without the president’s acknowledgment. He gave his remarks in a room in the White House complex adorned with campaign-style photos of his factory tours. On stage with him were eight props: four millionaires, each paired with a middle-class assistant. . . . And if that’s not enough evidence of gimmickry, after his speech Obama’s reelection campaign unveiled an online tax calculator ‘to see how your tax rate stacks up against Mitt Romney’s — and then see what the Buffett Rule would do.’”
Appearing on MSNBC this morning, Politico’s Jim VandeHei didn’t mince words: “It’s total gimmickry. It’s 1% of what you need to actually take care of the deficit. There’s a big danger for President Obama in that they become so insanely political in an insanely political culture. Almost everything they do now is … targeted at a very specific subset of voters that they want to win.”
The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel editorializes today, “Obama’s Buffett Rule is a political gimmick. . . . [T]he Buffett Rule is more likely to spawn a new generation of tax dodges than to usher in a new era of tax fairness. It is, in fact, nothing more than a smoke screen that obscures the possibility of real tax reform.” The New Hampshire Union Leader blasts the tax, calling it “a total sham” and writing, “The Buffett Rule is not about math or fairness or shared sacrifice. It is simply a cynical ploy . . . .”
Indeed, as Milbank writes, “The politics of the Buffett Rule — it has no chance of passing when the Senate takes it up next week — are so overt that Obama’s remarks Wednesday were virtually indistinguishable from a section of his campaign speech in Florida on Tuesday.”
Finally, most of the commenters point out that it’s particularly unfortunate that President Obama is pushing this tax hike as “a political gimmick” and “a cynical ploy” instead of taking up a serious tax reform. Milbank explains, “Three years into his presidency, Obama has not introduced a plan for comprehensive tax reform — arguably the most important vehicle for fixing the nation’s finances and boosting long-term economic growth.” VandeHei added, “He’s not offered tax reform when he could have offered tax reform. Did not offer budgets when he could’ve offered budgets.” And the Journal-Sentinel notes, “The Buffett Rule also would make the tax code more complicated. A better solution is a broad plan that would clean up the tax code by lowering rates for everyone and eliminating loopholes. . . . Obama has had several chances to show leadership on the tax issue, and, so far, has failed to do so.”