While most of the media continue to obsess about millionaires supposedly not paying their "fair share" of taxes, the liberal Brookings Institution has let the cat out of the bag concerning just how absurd this whole thing is.
According to the Washington Post's Dana Milbank, he discussed this issue with Brookings' William Gale, and disclosed his findings to Chris Matthews on MSNBC's "Hardball" Wednesday (video follows with transcript and commentary):
DANA MILBANK, WASHINGTON POST: I think the interesting thing about this is you see Obama talking about the “Buffett Rule” and the millionaire tax.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: I like the “Buffett Rule.”
MILBANK: How many people are going to be affected by this? I asked an expert at Brookings. A few thousand, maybe as few as 1,000 people in the country would be affected by this.
CHRIS MATTHEWS, HOST: Who pay a lower tax rate than the poor people.
MILBANK: Than their secretaries or the equivalent to that.
Milbank was referring to his Wednesday column at the Post (emphasis added):
“It’s a good example of the murkiness of what we mean by small business and the connection to jobs,” William Gale, co-director of the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution’s Tax Policy Center, told me...That’s even more so with Obama’s “Buffett Rule,” under which millionaires would have to pay a higher tax rate than a typical middle-class worker. As a practical matter, most already do. Gale said the rule would raise the taxes on only a few thousand people, perhaps as few as 1,000.
Most already do? That's putting it mildly.
According to the Internal Revenue Service, almost 237,000 people filed returns in 2009 with adjusted gross incomes of $1 million or more.
If Brookings is right, that means that as little as 0.4 percent of these folks paid less percentage tax than "their secretaries or the equivalent to that." That means as much as 99.6 percent paid more, which of course goes hand-in-hand with what NewsBusters reported Monday.
With this in mind, the President is making an Everest-sized mountain out of the tiniest molehill ever observed in nature, and the media have largely been assisting him in stoking a populist rage based on practically nothing.
But let's give the current White House resident credit for naming this new tax the "Buffett Rule" as the Oracle of Omaha appears to be one of a select few it would affect if enacted.
Maybe the President should give him another Medal of Freedom.