On Wednesday the U.S. House of Representatives passed by voice vote the Buffett Rule Act of 2012 (HR 6410) to amend the tax code to allow taxpayers to donate additional money to pay down the national debt. Congressman Tim Huelskamp of Kansas is an original sponsor of the legislation that is now headed to the Senate for consideration. In 2011, Warren Buffett publicly complained that he was being taxed too little because the tax code favors wealthy Americans like himself. Congressman Tim Huelskamp called on Warren Buffett to release his tax returns in order to demonstrate that Warren Buffett was misleading the American people about his tax burden. Mr. Buffett refused to release all of the details of his returns.
If the Senate passes the legislation, individual tax forms will now include the following text:"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."
"Warren Buffett wants to pay more in taxes, and now he has an accessible, no-excuses option for doing so," Congressman Huelskamp said after the bill passed. "Passage of this legislation provides Buffett with an easy way of paying the additional taxes he feels he owes. I hope Mr. Buffett will be pleased with this new option, exercise his right to it, and encourage his friends to do the same."
"But, even if Buffett and friends generously donate more to Washington, Washington's problem is still that it spends too much -- not that it taxes too little. Four years of trillion-dollar deficits and $16 trillion in debt -- more than $5 trillion of which has been accumulated over the past four years -- show that Washington's priority should be to get its expenses under control. Raising taxes to pay for even more spending will not bring about the fiscal responsibility so desperately needed in Washington right now. But, raising taxes with the fiscal cliff looming -- as President Obama wants to do -- certainly will kill nearly all prospects for economic recovery."