Obama calls for higher tax rates for rich

2012-03-31 14:40

Washington - US President Barack Obama called on Saturday for higher tax rates on wealthy Americans, saying the current system of tax breaks for top income earners was unfair.

"Today, the wealthiest Americans are paying taxes at one of the lowest rates in 50 years," the president said in his weekly radio and Internet address.

He pointed out that under the current system people like billionaire investor Warren Buffett or Microsoft founder Bill Gates were paying a lower rate than their secretaries.

"That's not fair. It doesn't make any sense," Obama said. "Do we want to keep giving tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans like me, or Warren Buffett, or Bill Gates - people who don't need them and never asked for them? Or do we want to keep investing in things that will grow our economy and keep us secure?Because we can't afford to do both."

The comments came as Congress prepares to consider a proposal that would increase tax rates for people making more than $1m a year while keeping then unchanged for those making under $250 000 a year.

Obama urged Americans to call their members of Congress and ask them to support the bill.

"Call them up, write them a letter, pay them a visit, and tell them to stop giving tax breaks to people who don't need them and start investing in the things that will help our economy grow and put people back to work," he said.

"That's how we'll make this country a little fairer, a little more just, and a whole lot stronger."

  • robqb - 2012-03-31 16:49

    At last the plight of the "poor" is being seen. It's about time we had another "Robin Hood" in our midst.

      Denny - 2012-03-31 18:35

      No, it isn't. The plight of poor people can never be helped by simply "transferring" wealth to them. Oh, sure - it might be nice for them in the short term but in the long term they will be back to where they were. More often than not you are simply transferring money from wealth creation to wealth destruction. Punishing work (i.e. taxing it) and encouraging non-work (i.e. grants) can only ever be self defeating.

      goyougoodthing - 2012-03-31 19:40

      He isn't Robin Hood, not at all. He is looking for the most votes. As a president he has done less than nothing, locally and abroad. Unless you count killing 100 000 women and children in the middle east as progress, which I do not, I call it murder.

      amanda.victor2 - 2012-04-01 02:54

      Plight of the poor? Since when is wasting taxes and then increasing taxes on only a certain sector looking after the poor? Obama wasted $500million on Solyndra alone and now the rich must pay for his mistakes? Get a life. This class warfare and jealousy does no one good. How about governments look after our money that we work for and pay them? There's an idea.

      bluzulu - 2012-04-01 07:36

      Admiral Tax regime for the rich HOWEVER CHANGE YOUR FOREIGN POLICIES,

      WarrenStylin - 2012-06-05 14:25

      @goyougoodthing - Didn't the war start in Bush's administration? Didn't the recession start it Bush's administration. If I give you a ship with a hole in the Hull. Is it your fault that the ship sank?

  • Mark - 2012-03-31 16:55

    Obama is an idiot - 10% of Americans pay 70% of the tax and he wants them to pay more , 50% of Americans pay nothing and receive more than pay.

      WarrenStylin - 2012-06-05 14:47

      Taxing the richer people helps the low income households survive. You eat 3 meals a day, where a lot of people find it a luxury eating 1 meal a day. Those 10% have more money than the rest of the world combined.

  • johan.vanhoff - 2012-03-31 17:05


  • Patiwe - 2012-03-31 17:10

    Hope all these so-called leaders can see the tax regime through the eyes of Obama, and not serve the rich only.

      amanda.victor2 - 2012-04-01 02:55

      How about you work to get rich instead of being envious of what others have?

      bluzulu - 2012-04-01 07:37

      @amanda, Thats exactly what the ANC government is doing by levelling the playing field so that all can prosper in RSA.

  • Denny - 2012-03-31 18:23

    Ever wonder why politicians always talk about rates and not actual monetary values? Let's say you walk into a store and buy a loaf of bread. The shopkeeper charges you R50 for it. After grumbling about the cost you reluctantly shell out the money and take your bread. As you turn to leave you notice the guy behind is also about to buy a similar loaf of bread. Would you be outraged if he was only charged R10 because the shopkeeper thought he earned less money than you? This is exactly what happens here except worse - in the analogy above you could decide to go to another shop. Taxation is forcible legislated theft. Wake up people. Look at what government is actually doing with the money it is STEALING from you before demanding some people should have more stolen from them than from yourselves. The rich ALREADY pay FAR more tax than the poor/middle class. That is not equality by any sane definition. We should be focusing on ways to reduce government expenditure (hah!) and reducing tax rates for everyone. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it!

      piet.strydom - 2012-03-31 18:49

      Did you even read the article? It is about billionaires paying tax at a lower rate than their secretaries! So where does that leave your argument?

      Denny - 2012-03-31 19:06

      Hi Piet. My point is that focusing on rate alone is very misleading. If you earn R10mil per year and pay 10% tax you are paying R1 000 000 in tax. If I (as your secretary) earn R200 000 per year and pay 15% tax I am R30000 tax. R1 000 000 (R50 for the bread in my analogy) is more than R30000 (R10 in my analogy). Discussing matters purely in terms of rates is misleading. Hope this clear things up :) Have a great evening.

      Denny - 2012-03-31 19:08

      *If I (as your secretary) earn R200 000 per year and pay 15% tax I am R30000 tax* should be: If I (as your secretary) earn R200 000 per year and pay 15% tax I am *paying* R30000 tax Poor proof reading. Oops.

      Denny - 2012-03-31 21:48

      Further to the above - as mentioned my post was focused on why rates can be deceptive. I've just uploaded an article (presumably soon to be attached to my profile) on *how* effective rates can end up lower for rich people (and the rationale/consequences thereof). Check it out if you are curious ;)

      Africa21stcentury - 2012-04-01 05:19

      Don't worry Danny, it is all clear to me ; I go and buy a loaf of bread, and pay R50.-, than I pay 15% tax on it, but I earn R 200 000.-, so in fact I pay R 30.000, but I should only pay R10.- for the bread, but I lied and am earning R 250 000 ,but I don't pay any tax, so in fact I have saved R 40.- on a loaf of bread, so if I buy 5 loaves of bread, i would have made R 200,- minus R50, is R350.- Got it !! I am definatelly going to buy 5 loaves of bread tin the morning !!! As a matter of fact, I am going to send my secretary to the shop !!!

      Mark - 2012-04-01 10:29

      @ Piet.Strydom = idiot

  • Ben - 2012-04-01 07:45

    If you are in government and pay yourself more than what you earn, you are in fact recovering your tax which was paid to SARS. Then you should be locked up and will be free of the tax burden.

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