While discussing President Obama's proposal to make sure that the ultra-rich pay some sort of minimum tax rate or as it's been described, "the Buffett rule", George Will offered up this explanation, which is one I usually hear repeated day in and day out of Fox, as to why it would apparently in Will's world, just be a horrible waste of time to raise taxes on the rich.
AMANPOUR: A centerpiece of the president's new -- new proposals is this so-called Buffett rule. This is what Warren Buffett had to say about it this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BUFFETT: Well, it isn't to have the rich pay more taxes. It's to have the ultra-rich, who are paying very low tax rates, pay more taxes. Now, there's all kinds of ultra-rich who pay normal taxes, but there are -- there's a small segment -- but you can find them very easily -- who pay very low taxes, including me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
AMANPOUR: Jake, how's this been received in the White House?
TAPPER: Well, they're pretending that there's no daylight between what Mr. Buffett said and what -- and what they laid out. The truth is that there is. Warren Buffett said that there's about 500,000 ultra-rich who would be hit by his -- what he actually conceived. Now, the White House, when they introduced their Buffett rule a few weeks ago, said the number was closer to 450,000. The idea is the same, that those who are very wealthy and are paying taxes below, say, 20 percent -- because they're paying the capital gains rate or whatever -- they should have -- there should be a minimum requirement that they pay. But there is a big difference there.
WILL: In 1916, before we entered World War I and federal spending exploded, the richest man in America, John D. Rockefeller, could have written a personal check and retired our national debt. Today the richest man in America, Bill Gates, could write a personal check of his entire net worth and pay two months' interest on the national debt.
AMANPOUR: Take this conversation into the green room, it's very important.
Yeah, why raise their taxes? It's not going to make any difference anyway, so just let them keep paying lower rates than those in the middle class. I hate to break it to Will, but saying we need to do more than just raising taxes on the rich to get our economic problems solved doesn't mean he and his ilk shouldn't be paying their fair share. We should still have a progressive rather than a regressive tax code in the United States -- and right now it's anything but that.