For an ineffectual class warfare ploy to "work" politically, its ineffectuality must stay hidden to most. The Associated Press, aka the Administration's Press, is doing its part to keep the utter immateriality of President Obama's Buffett Rule designed to go after certain high-income taxpayers hidden.
In the five relevant articles found in a search on the Omaha billionaire's last name at the wire service's national site at 10:30 a.m. ET, only one (the latest) mentions that it might raise $47 billion over 10 years, i.e., the paltry $5 billion per year cited at media outlets ranging from CNNMoney.com to Rush Limbaugh that the rule might raise. Beyond that, if the rule is couple with permanent Alternative Minimum Tax repeal, as is being proposed (HT American Thinker) by Congressional Democrats, the federal treasury will be out hundreds of billions of dollars. None of the AP reports mentions that. Brief excerpts from the five examples follow.
April 10, Ken Thomas ("Who's the Rich Guy? Obama, Romney duel over status") --
Obama, making a middle-class pitch in wealthy Florida enclaves, opened a new push by Democrats on Tuesday to increase taxes on millionaires, emphasizing a fight with Republicans. The proposal stands little chance of passing in Congress but serves as a stark general election contrast with Romney.
April 11, unbylined ("Obama to press 'Buffett Rule' tax pitch") --
President Barack Obama is pressing his pitch for the so-called Buffett Rule.
The president is scheduled to deliver a morning statement on the rule named for billionaire investor Warren Buffett. It argues that wealthy taxpayers should not pay taxes at a lower rate than middle-class wage-earners.
April 12, Holly Ramer and Brian Bakst ("Biden: Romney is out of step with American values") --
Biden also opened a new line of attack, introducing the "Romney rule" and contrasting it with President Barack Obama's push for the so-called "Buffet rule" to force rich people to pay more of their income in taxes.
The measure, named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett, says the wealthy should not pay taxes at a lower rate than middle-class wage-earners. In contrast, Biden said Romney not only wants to make Bush-era tax cuts permanent but also would give the wealthy additional yearly tax cuts worth more than the annual income of a typical middle-class family.
"It amazes me. He offers this prescription as if it is somehow a new idea - like it's something that we haven't seen," Biden said. "Folks, you've seen the movie. It doesn't end well. Where has he been? Could it be he's out of touch?"
Biden said Romney wants to take the nation down the same road that led to economic recession.
April 14, unbylined ("Obama says US can't afford tax cuts for richest") --
President Barack Obama says the nation can't afford to keep giving tax cuts to the wealthiest, "who don't need them and didn't even ask for them."
... Obama is using his weekly radio and Internet address to urge Americans to ask their member of Congress to support the "Buffett Rule," which is named after billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who says he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.
The plan would require that people earning at least $1 million annually, whether in salary or from investments, pay at least 30 percent of their incomes in taxes.
April 15, Alan Fram ("Long political fights ahead over dueling tax plans") --
Senate Democrats later this year may hold votes tied to President Barack Obama's "Buffett rule," using his idea of a minimum 30 percent tax on the wealthiest to raise money for proposal to create jobs and keep student loan rates from rising.
With trillions in tax cuts dating from President George W. Bush set to expire in January, House and Senate leaders also are considering campaign-season votes on extending popular parts of those reductions, such as preventing the $1,000 child tax credit from being cut in half.
... Yet the measure would raise just $47 billion over a decade, a smidgen of the $7 trillion in federal deficits expected during that time.
Summarizing each of the five items above in separate sentences:
- (April 10) The Buffett Rule is an election year gimmick whose sole intent is to contrast regular guy Obama with rich, out-of-touch guy Romney.
- (April 11) The bill is an "argument," and not something serious.
- (April 12) The Buffett Rule will continue to distract attention from the fact that the recession was caused by a two decades in the making housing and home-lending crackup created by HUD, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac which involved granting mortgage loans to borrowers who couldn't afford to repay them coupled with massive deceptions of the bond markets and ratings agencies as to the quality of loans repackaged for securitization.
- (April 14) Legislation which if passed would raise a paltry and undisclosed $5 billion a year would all of a sudden move the federal government into a position where it can suddenly "afford" to spend 35% more than it was spending just five years ago indefinitely.
- (April 15) We at the AP will never, ever tell you that those "trillions in tax cuts" enabled the federal budget to get to within $163 billion of balancing in fiscal 2007, the last year of a budget passed by a GOP-controlled Congress, because tax receipts increased dramatically after the tax cuts of 2001 and 2003, especially 2003, took full effect.
$5 billion is less than two days of Uncle Sam's $1 trillion-plus annual budget deficits of the past four fiscal years (including fiscal 2012, which will end on September 30), and less than 12 hours of government spending calculated on a 24-7-365 basis.
Note that AP waited until Sunday morning to mention the trivial impact of the Buffett Rule. Now they can say "we reported it." It will be old news by tomorrow when the work week begins.
Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.