US President Barack Obama urged Congress Saturday to pass the “Buffett Rule” tax plan, which is designed to increase the tax rate on the wealthiest Americans.
The US tax system had to require the richest to pay their fair share, while protecting 98 percent of Americans from seeing their taxes go up, Obama said in his weekly radio and online address, reported Xinhua.
The “Buffett Rule” plan, scheduled for a Senate vote on April 16, was proposed by Obama last September to reform the nation’s tax system.
Under the plan, named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett, Americans making more than one million dollars a year should pay at least the same percentage of their income in taxes as middle class families.
The renowned investor last year urged the wealthiest Americans to pay more income tax and make sacrifices to put the nation’s fiscal house in order, saying his tax rate was even lower than other staff members in his company.
With the nation’s debt surging to an unsustainable level, experts say super-rich Americans are not contributing enough to the nation’s austerity efforts, with many allowed to classify a major chunk of their income as “carried interest” which attracts only a 15 percent tax rate.
“Today, the wealthiest Americans are paying taxes at one of the lowest rates in 50 years,” said Obama, adding the tax rates for middle class families had barely budged in the past 30 years.
“That’s not fair. It doesn’t make any sense. Do we want to keep giving tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans like me, or Warren Buffett, or Bill Gates – people who don’t need them and never asked for them? ” he said.
However, the proposal has little chance of winning Congressional approval due to strong opposition from Republicans, especially in this election season.