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We Know What You Said Last Summer

- April 11, 2012

The White House Is Having Trouble Defining The Buffett Tax As Anything But A Political Tool For Obama’s Campaign

JAY CARNEY INSISTS THE WHITE HOUSE “NEVER MADE THE CASE” THAT THE BUFFETT TAX WOULD “SOLVE OUR DEFICIT AND DEBT CHALLENGES”

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White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Said That The Obama White House Has Never Made The Case That The Buffett Tax Would Solve The Deficit And Debt Problem. WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY: “Let me be just clear. The fact that the money saved by eliminating these tax advantages that the wealthiest have here, or reducing the tax advantages the wealthiest have here, does not by itself reduce the deficit doesn’t make it not worth doing.” CNN’S JESSICA YELLIN: “The question is, the White House position seems to have moved so I’m just trying to …”  CARNEY: “The position is- what we’ve made clear from the beginning is that there’s obviously savings here and that is an aspect of why it is important to do it. We have never made the case that this element of tax reform would by itself solve our deficit and debt challenges. Obviously we never made that case because the president put forward a comprehensive plan to deal with our deficit and debt challenges, of which tax reform was only a part.” (White House Press Briefing, 4/11/12)

  • On Tuesday, Carney Said “No One Ever Suggested That Implementing The Buffett Rule Would Contribute In Large Measure To Reducing The Deficit.” WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY CARNEY:  “I think the money we’re talking about here, $47 billion over 10 years, is nobody’s idea of a small amount, A. B, we never suggested -- the President, no one ever suggested that implementing the Buffett Rule would contribute in large measure to reducing the deficit.  The President has put forward a comprehensive deficit reduction plan that takes a balanced approach, that includes as a principle of tax reform the Buffett Rule, but that does not rely on -- and we never suggested it would rely on -- the Buffett Rule to reduce the deficit by a significant measure.  It is a principle of tax fairness. And $47 billion is money that in a world of finite resources we could be using to invest in the kind of -- in education, in innovation and in infrastructure, the kind of areas where investments are needed to continue to grow the economy in the 21st century -- areas which, by the way, under the Republican budget would be slashed dramatically in order to give more tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires.” (White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, Press Gaggle, 4/10/12)
  • On Monday, The Obama Administration Said The Buffett Tax “Was Never Our Plan To Bring The Deficit Down And Get The Debt Under Control.”  “The Obama administration is emphasizing ‘fairness’ over deficit reduction in its renewed pitch for the ‘Buffett rule’ ahead of next week’s scheduled Senate vote. Introducing a minimum 30 percent income tax on millionaires ‘was never our plan to bring the deficit down and get the debt under control,’ Jason Furman, the principal deputy director of the White House National Economic Council, told reporters on a conference call Monday afternoon. ‘This is not the president’s entire tax plan. We’re not trying to say this solves all our economic problems, all our budget problems.’” (Josh Boak, “W.H.: Buffett Rule Not Answer To Debt,” Politico, 4/10/12)

CARNEY MUST NOT REMEMBER THE TIME OBAMA SAID IT WOULD “STABILIZE OUR DEBT AND DEFICITS FOR THE NEXT DECADE”

September 2011: President Obama Claimed That The Buffett Rule Would “Stabilize Our Debt And Deficits For The Next Decade.” OBAMA: “What I’ve said is this is a very simple principle that everybody should understand: Warren Buffett’s secretary shouldn’t pay a lower [sic] tax rate than Warren Buffett. A teacher making $50,000 a year, or a firefighter making $50,000 a year or $60,000, shouldn’t be paying a higher tax rate than somebody making $50 million a year. And that basic principle of fairness, if applied to our tax code, could raise enough money that not only do we pay for our jobs bill, but we also stabilize our debt and deficits for the next decade. And as I said when I made the announcement, this is not politics; this is math.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks By The President At DNC Event, San Diego, CA, 9/26/11)

  • CNN’s Jessica Yellin: “2011 @BarackObama Said Buffett Rule Will Stabilize Deficit, This Wk WH Said Not Meant 4 Deficit, Now Pres Says It’ll Help Close Deficit.” (Jessica Yellin, Twitter Feed, 4/11/12)
  • The White House Is “Shifting Its Emphasis” On What The Purpose Of The Buffett Tax Is From Debt And Deficits To Fairness. “That effort comes as the White House has shifted its emphasis on the impact of the rule. In September, Obama contended it ‘could raise enough money that not only do we pay for our jobs bill, but we also stabilize our debt and deficits for the next decade.’ Now the emphasis is on fairness, with fewer promises about any real impact on deficits.” (George E. Condon Jr., “Obama Ignores Critics Of ‘Buffett Rule,’ Presses Case On Fairness,” National Journal, 4/11/12)

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