Conservative columnist and commentator Charles Krauthammer summed up President Barack Obama’s so-called Buffett Rule with one simple phrase Friday: “A shiny object.”
“It’s literally incredible,” Krauthammer said on Fox News’ “Hannity.” “It’s almost an embarrassment, it’s so shameless. If you were to collect the Buffett tax for the next 250 years — that’s longer than the life of this republic — you will not have covered the deficit, Obama’s deficit for 2011. You collect it for another 250 years, so we’re now in the year 2612, and you’ve covered 2011 and 2012 and you need to cover only 498 other years of deficits.”
The Buffett Rule, which would have forced millionaires to pay at least 30 percent of their income in taxes, was derailed Monday in the Senate.
“This is a preposterous statement and he know it is,” Krauthammer continued. “On growth, it’s equally deceptive. What the tax is, it’s a doubling of the capital gains tax. It’s disguised, but that’s the reason why the Buffett rates are lower, it’s the capital gains rate and it’s lower than the rate for normal income. So he doubles it. Now the reason that’s not a good idea is because when you double the rate, you actually decrease the amount that the Treasury receives. And you decrease the growth because you are shrinking the pool of capital that’s out there that people can invest and hire other people.
Referring to a 2008 presidential debate in which candidate Obama said he would look at raising the capital gains tax “for purposes of fairness” — despite historical evidence that cutting the tax increased revenue — Krauthammer said Obama has an “abstraction” about taking money from the rich and distributing it elsewhere to affect the general economy.
“It makes no sense,” Krauthammer said. “It’s a misdirection play, it’s a way to have a shiny object.”
“He doesn’t want to talk about what he’s done,” he added. “He’s had the longest over 8 percent unemployment since the Great Depression, he has had the slowest and most anemic recovery of any recession since the second World War. And he’s accumulated in one term the greatest amount of debt, $5 trillion in galactic history. He can’t run on that so instead he’s going to hold the ball over there, a shiny ball and say ‘look over here’ so he doesn’t have to speak about a record which has been an economic disaster.”