President Obama made a startling exclamation Wednesday at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building by suggesting that his new Buffett rule -- increased taxes for the highest income earners -- was the same "concept" as what Ronald Reagan would have "called for." He also went on to jokingly call the conservative hero a "wild-eyed socialist."
The President made the comparison while asking Congress to approve the Buffett rule, a law that would increase taxes on millions of what he calls the "wealthiest" Americans. At the Press Conference, he was flanked by a small group of millionaires and their assistants, who were lobbying to pay their "fair share."
"I'm not the first president to call for this idea that everyone has to do their fair share," the president noted. Quoting one Reagan speech, Obama insisted the 40th President would consider our tax loopholes today "crazy."
"He thought that in America the wealthiest should pay their fair share and he said so," Obama assured.
He then went on to call the Reagan "That wild eyed, socialist, tax-hiking, class warrior" in a sarcastic reference to some of the titles that Obama himself has accumulated.
Obama also mused that Reagan would not have been accepted in today's Republican Party.
"That position might disqualify him from the Republican primaries these days, but what Ronald Reagan was calling for then is the same thing we're calling for -- a return to basic fairness and responsibility."
The President ended his comparison, "If it will help convince folks in Congress to make the right choice, we could call it the Reagan rule instead of the Buffett rule."
Seconds before his comparison to Reagan, Obama noted "Wealth in America has never just trickled down." An odd statement, as Reagan and his economics team were champions of trickledown economics.
You can see the entire speech via Politico:
The comparison is equally confounding when you consider President Reagan's historic tax reform:
"Obama's assertion that the 40th president would back his tax plan comes just days before the Senate prepares for a vote next week on the Buffett rule, which famously takes its name from billionaire investor Warren Buffett," Politico reports.
By the way, Politico notes the "millionaires and their assistant's" who joined Obama on stage:
Abigail Disney, President of the Daphne Foundation
Celine Justice, Assistant to Abigail Disney
Whitney Tilson, Managing Partner of T2 Partners LLC
Kelli Alires, Assistant to Whitney Tilson
Frank Jernigan, Google Retiree
Teresa Gardiner, Assistant to Frank Jernigan
Lawrence Benenson, Partner of Benenson Capital
Carmen Peterson, Assistant to Lawrence Benenson