The NY Times describes the latest Obama financial gambit with yet another smiley-face headline:
Obama Tax Plan Would Ask More of Millionaires
"Ask"? Can they really refuse? Geez, this may be a breakthough approach for the IRS - maybe we can put Jerry Lewis in charge of an April 15 telethon.
But no; the text indicates that the same coercive approach we have seen for decades will be employed:
WASHINGTON — President Obama on Monday will call for a new minimum tax rate for individuals making more than $1 million a year to ensure that they pay at least the same percentage of their earnings as middle-income taxpayers, according to administration officials.
Team Obama has already prepared the spin:
Mr. Obama, in a bit of political salesmanship, will call his proposal the “Buffett Rule,” in a reference to Warren E. Buffett, the billionaire investor who has complained repeatedly that the richest Americans generally pay a smaller share of their income in federal taxes than do middle-income workers, because investment gains are taxed at a lower rate than wages.
Billionaire, millionaire, whatever. Bill Clinton set his "millionaires tax" threshold at $250,000, so at least we are a baby step closer to matching rhetoric and reality. Of course, if Warren Buffet really wanted to pay more taxes, he could simply write a bigger check. Evidently, he wants other high-earners to write bigger checks as well, although his motive is murky (maybe he just wants to preserve his relative standing?)
Team Obama is offering just rhetoric at this point:
Mr. Obama will not specify a rate or other details, and it is unclear how much revenue his plan would raise. But his idea of a millionaires’ minimum tax will be prominent in the broad plan for long-term deficit reduction that he will outline at the White House on Monday.
In other words, they have no idea how much it will raise but they know it sounds good talking about it. Wow. Who can fail to be impressed by their careful planning and attention to detail?