Third time may be the charm: In this morning’s New York Times, readers are given two separate accounts of the Buffett Rule. See our earlier post.
Since the rule will soon be voted on, it might be time to figure out what the heck it is. According to Salon’s Andrew Leonard, this is the formulation which will be voted on:
LEONARD (4/11/12): The Paying A Fair Share Act of 2012 would create “a minimum effective tax rate for high-income taxpayers.” Regardless of whether their income derived from long term capital gains, dividends, wages, or salary, Americans earning over $2 million a year would be required to pay a tax rate equal to 30 percent of their total income. Americans earning between $1-2 million would pay a graduated rate approaching 30 percent.Leonard even offers a link to the legislation. For the sake of argument, we will assume he’s right.
Having made that assumption, who was right in this morning’s Times—the editors or reporter Jackie Calmes?
If Leonard is right, they both were wrong. (You could argue that Calmes’ account was technically accurate though grossly misleading.) Meanwhile, Leonard offers a range of estimates of how much revenue the act would produce: $47 billion to $160 billion in new revenue over ten years, he says. This morning, the editors kept it simple; “an estimated $50 billion,” they said.
What are the chances of passage? “Zero,” Leonard reports.