Obama Renews Call for Higher Taxes on Millionaires

President Barack Obama speaks at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, April 10, 2012.
President Barack Obama speaks at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida, April 10, 2012.
Kent Klein

U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday renewed his call for Congress to pass the so-called "Buffett Rule," which would raise income taxes on the wealthiest Americans. The president is highlighting his differences with leading Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, in an appeal to middle class voters.

At a university in Florida, Obama said the growing financial divide between rich and middle class Americans needs to be addressed.

"What drags our entire economy down is when the benefits of economic growth and productivity go only to the few, which is what has been happening for over a decade now, and the gap between those at the very, very top and everybody else keeps growing wider and wider and wider and wider," said Obama.

The president again called on the Senate to pass what he calls the "Buffett Rule," named for billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who has said that he pays too little in taxes, while middle class Americans pay too much.

The Democratic-led Senate is expected to vote on the bill in the coming days, but analysts say the legislation likely will not pass the Republican-led House of Representatives.

Republicans say the Buffett Rule would raise taxes on small businesses and discourage job creation. They also say it would do very little to shrink the government's huge budget deficit.

Obama is proposing that people who earn at least $1 million a year should pay at least 30 percent of their income in taxes.

At Florida Atlantic University, the president also campaigned for other parts of his economic plan, including government projects for education and infrastructure.

"They have not been made as some grand scheme to redistribute wealth from one group to another. This is not some socialist dream.  They have been made by Democrats and Republicans for generations because they benefit all of us," he said.

A new Washington Post-ABC News public opinion poll shows that Obama leads likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney, 51 to 43 percent.  But more than half of the voters surveyed say they disapprove of the president’s handling of the economy.

Obama is stressing middle class issues, to draw a contrast with the wealthy former Massachusetts governor.

Romney's path to the Republican Party nomination became clearer Tuesday, when his main rival, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum, announced that he was suspending his campaign because his daughter suffers from a rare illness.

In addition to his speech at the university, the president attended three campaign fund-raising events in Florida.

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Jose
April 11, 2012 8:52 AM
wah wah wah we are to greedy to pay taxes, the rich should'nt have to pay taxes because they are more important than other people, they love money more than their country, i am taxed on what i earn and they should be taxed on what they earn, guess they don't make enough to live on!

by: Bruce
April 10, 2012 6:10 PM
I can't express how much I hate this fraud, and how disgusted I am with my fellow Americans that are so greedy that they elected this guy in the hopes that he will steal money from those that earned it and buy their votes with it.

by: C. Nerlson
April 10, 2012 2:42 PM
The President's continued harping on the "Buffett Rule" is blatant populist campaign rhetoric and is proof of his lack of a genuine concern with the issues of spending control and deficit reduction. Even if passed, this "rule" would have little effect on the deficit. It is a cheap reelection campaign theme, appealing to class envy and the unhealthy desire to punish those who have been more fortunate or more successful. It is a divisive distraction. The President should be ashamed.

by: Joe Oberman
April 10, 2012 2:31 PM
Greed has overtaken common sense to do the right things, back when businesses paid taxes... Politicians are blind when towns and other states give big businesses property tax breaks for 5 to 10 years just to acquire them. That is morally wrong and should be illegal. Tax breaks for big businesses needs to be outlaw by every State in the Union. This is the only way to break the ‘No Tax Cycle’ of big businesses, which are financially hurting states and towns with their perfected method!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs