“Tax reform will be a long and difficult process, and so we think it’s appropriate not to wait to complete every aspect of reforming the tax system before locking in what should be the most simple, common-sense element of any tax reform, which is that no one who makes over $1 million per year is paying less than the middle class,” said Jason Furman, principal deputy director of the National Economic Council, during a conference call with reporters Monday.
In addition to raising taxes on some millionaires, the Buffett rule would achieve two other tax-reform goals of Democrats.
First, it would blunt the impact of a full extension of the Bush-era tax rates. If Republicans succeed in maintaining the Bush tax cuts for all taxpayers, the Buffett rule would nonetheless ensure that wealthy Americans pay more – $162 billion more over 10 years, according to the congressional Joint Committee on Taxation. And if Congress lets the Bush tax cuts expire, most Americans' income-tax rates would go up, but under the Buffett rule it will go up more for the wealthy than it would otherwise, to the tune of $47 billion over a decade.
Republicans criticize the Obama administration for proposing a tax increase during a period of slow economic growth. But Obama officials argue that such a change results in greater economic efficiency.