President Obama used last week’s State of the Union address to call for a society in which “we all pay our fair share.”
“We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by. Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules,” he told a joint session of Congress gathered in the chambers of the House of Representatives. “What’s at stake are not Democratic values or Republican values, but American values. We have to reclaim them.”
To sell this “fair share” bit, the president had billionaire Warren Buffett’s secretary up in the audience. She allegedly pays a lower tax rate than her boss, who has been calling for his own tax rate to be increased. There’s nothing stopping Buffett from paying more than he owes in taxes, of course, any time he wants to. Just write a big check, big guy, and the IRS will say “Thankyouverymuch.” A lot of folks decided to figure out just how much the secretary must be making to have to pay a higher rate than a billionaire. Buffett’s response: You’re all guessing wrong but we’re not gonna tell you what she makes. This information is not public, and not yours.
Even though the secretary and her boss have made her income and her taxes a high profile part of the public’s dialog on taxes and “fairness.”
Meanwhile Buffett, the president’s mascot for taxing the rich, through his company owes a massive tax bill going back to 2002. Buffett reportedly owes about $1 billion in back taxes.
Related: In a time of economic strain and austerity in millions of American households, the First Lady shuts down Madison Avenue to go on a $50,000 shopping spree in a lingerie store.
Setting aside the policy for a second, how dumb must the president be to have signed off on using Buffett and his secretary when Buffett is such a terrible representation of the policy the president wants to push? President Fair Share’s poster boy for taxing the rich and leveling the playing field is a billionaire who owes a billion in taxes and is still running free. How out of touch must Obama be to allow his wife to go off on so many trips and shopping sprees that earn her comparisons to Marie Antoinette? A good, smart politician would not do what Obama keeps doing.