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August 29, 2014, 2:14 pm

Democrats defend tax reform

‘Buffet Rule’ would close loopholes, raise taxes on wealthy


The Pennsylvania Obama for America Campaign held a conference call featuring Pennsylvania Democratic Chairman Jim Burn and Pennsylvania State Sen. Vincent Hughes.

Both argued in favor of a new tax plan the Obama administration has been pushing called the “Buffet Rule,” named for billionaire Warren Buffett, who has criticized the current tax code that allows him to pay a lower rate than his secretary. The plan would essentially close tax loopholes for the rich, and require a 30 percent mandatory tax rate on millionaires.

“We’re taking about the concept of fairness when it comes to the Buffett Rule, and we’re asking everyone to do their part,” Burn said. “When it comes to investing in the future, should we ask middle class Americans to pay even more in a time when their budgets are already stretched, or should we ask some of the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share?”

In a town-hall event in Warwick, R.I., Mitt Romney addressed the crowd by talking about his displeasure with the Buffett Rule, according to the Boston Globe.

“The new source of division is to say, ‘Let’s find the most successful in our country and say they’re bad guys. Go after them. And let’s divide America,’” Romney said. “Look, this nation is one nation under God. Dividing America is not going to work out.”

Hughes addressed Romney’s stand on the Buffet Rule by stating that the rule the president is proposing is fair and will help America return to prosperity.

“We have to balance the tax code,” he said. “We just can’t cut our way to prosperity — we also need to balance the tax budget. Everybody’s got to help out. Gov. Romney’s tax plan doesn’t ask millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share. His program gives every millionaire a $250,000 tax cut while raising taxes on hardworking families making less than $40,000 a year.

“Romney’s program won’t secure economic security for the middle class — in fact, he will let Wall Street write its on rules again and return to the same policy that led us to the economic crisis in the first place. President Obama will cut the deficit and strengthen the middle class.”

On the campaign trail, Romney promises that under his administration taxes will go down, defense spending will go up, and senior programs won’t change for this generation of retirees. Romney also promises that he will pay for his tax cuts, pay for his defense spending, and reduce total federal spending by more than $6 trillion over the next 10 years.

Hughes, however, doesn’t agree. He stated that the only way Romney can cut the country’s deficit is if he makes deep cuts in programs like Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid.

“Because Romney has chosen to favor the wealthy, it affects the investment in the middle class, which has a real impact in Pennsylvania,” he said. “Under a plan like Romney’s, social security benefits would be cut by 40 percent for current workers. Cost of prescriptions drugs will go up for Pennsylvania seniors. His program will balance the budget by cutting programs by 35 percent. President Obama’s Buffett Rule will show all Americans that they can play by the same set of rules in order to get a fair shot at success.”