As Warren Buffett engages in his annual exercise of volunteering “the rich” for a minimum tax they couldn’t escape unless they decided to stop earning reportable income (which many would do), Mark Steyn, guest hosting for Rush Limbaugh yesterday, pointed out how futile the exercise would be:
If you took every single penny that Warren Buffett has, it’d pay for 4-1/2 days of the US government. This tax-the-rich won’t work. The problem here is (that) the government is way bigger than even the capacity of the rich to sustain it.
Estimates for how much “the Buffett Rule” requiring a minimum tax on incomes above certain levels would raise about. Six months ago, a Washington Post item cited a Joint Committee on Taxation estimate of $5.1 billion in the first year and $47 billion over ten. Steyn’s post at Rush Limbaugh has an estimate of $3.2 billion.
Using a $4 billion midpoint and an estimate of the current fiscal year’s budget deficit coming in at $1 trillion, the Buffett Rule, if enacted retroactive to October 1, would reduce the deficit by 0.4%. And this assumes that “the rich” would just keep on generating reportable income as always, which simply would not be the case.