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April 15, 2012 - 9:56 am

Time to call his bluff.

Obama is still harping on the so-called “Buffett Rule” as some sort of miraculous tax hike, despite the fact that it would only pay off 1% of the debt that Obama has added since he became president.

When Obama first proposed the Buffett Rule last year, I made a post called Voluntary Tax Rates and Personalized Earmarks: How to Solve the Debate over Taxes as the true version of the Buffett Rule. Because, you see, Buffett originally didn’t call for a higher tax rate on the wealthy in general; instead he said that he himself wanted to pay more taxes. Sure, he was just using himself as a personal example, but I thought: Hey, he could be on to something here. Why don’t we all decide at what rate we individually pay taxes? That‘s the Buffett Rule: You want to pay more taxes? Fine — pay ‘em. And if you don’t want to pay more, or even want to pay less — well, we have an option for that too.

To that end, I produced a new version of the IRS’s 1040 form which featured (exactly as the post’s title implied) “voluntary tax rates and personalized earmarks.” But that was last August. Who, after all these months, remembered to use those new forms now that Tax Day has rolled around again?

So I have now updated the revised 1040 form for 2011 and am offering it for download today, April 15, for your convenience.

Obama wants a Buffett Rule? OK, fine — let’s call him on his bluff. Download this “Buffett Rule”-adapted 1040 form, and integrate it into the rest of your IRS forms. As I noted in my original post, this new 1040 form makes everybody happy, because not only can you (like Warren Buffett) pay whatever tax rate you prefer, but you can allocate those taxes to whichever part of government expenses you want.

Two final points for you to ponder:

When I first posted these forms, some naysayers claimed it would never work “because everybody would choose to pay 0% in taxes.” To which I replied: If everybody wants to pay less (or no) taxes, then doesn’t that prove that the Tea Party was right all along? And if we all want to pay less taxes resulting in a much smaller federal government, then we’ve all gotten what we wanted — right?

Which brings us to the second point: If low-tax advocates choose to pay fewer taxes under this scheme, but high-tax advocates choose to pay more, then those high-tax advocates will be the ones allocating most of their payments to the federal programs of their choice — which could lead to a federal bureaucracy slanted toward liberal causes, while things like defense would go unfunded. To counter this, people who might otherwise choose to pay less taxes would voluntary pay more, if only to allocate all of it to those portions of the government they wish to see funded. This could escalate into a “tax arms race,” with each ideological side paying more and more to their chosen aspect of government — leading to even greater revenue for the IRS.

Something to ponder, at least.

So, let’s get to it: Download this 2011 “Buffett Rule” 1040 form, and call the president’s bluff:

(The top image shows the front page of the 1040 form with the two new sections in situ; and the bottom image shows just the newly added sections, for extra clarity. In each case, simply click on the image to see a much larger and clearer version of the amended form.)

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…and, for the record, here’s the same new revision, all by itself (click to enlarge):



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