Senate rejects Warren Buffett tax rule

John Dimsdale Apr 17, 2012

Bob Moon: The Senate yesterday rejected the so-called Warren Buffett rule, a minimum tax on millionaires. It was a mostly party-line vote: Democrats saying “aye,” Republicans “nay.”

Our D.C. bureau chief John Dimsdale reports that’s likely to stay the pattern the rest of this election year.

John Dimsdale: The two parties have different definitions of tax reform. Democrats stress fairness and raising more revenue for government services. Republicans want tax cuts for businesses that create jobs. That’s why, later this week, the Republican majority in the House is expected to approve a 20 percent one-time income tax break for small companies with fewer than five hundred employees. That will go nowhere in the Senate, tho, because it adds to the deficit.

Howard Gleckman at the Tax Policy Center says the small business tax break and the Buffett Rule are all about politics.

Howard Gleckman: They were never intended to become law. They were intended to send a political message to stake out a position for the campaign and they’ll generate lots of good campaign ads but not very good tax policy.

Which means don’t look for any substantive tax reform — like lowering rates and eliminating loopholes — until after the election.

In Washington, I’m John Dimsdale for Marketplace.

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