The Candidates and The World

Transition 2012

A guide to foreign policy and the 2012 U.S. presidential transition.

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Weekend Roundup: Tax Debate Still Making Rounds on the Trail

by Newsteam Staff
April 16, 2012

Photo of the Day: President Barack Obama talks with Chile's President Sebastian Pinera as Honduras' Porfirio Lobo, Mexico's Felipe Calderon, and Guatemala's Otto Perez stand near in Cartagena April 15, 2012. (Jose Miguel Gomez/Courtesy Reuters)


According to a new Gallup poll, 60 percent of voters support the proposed Buffett Rule, which would require individuals earning $1 million or more per year to pay at least 30 percent of their income in taxes — a major Obama campaign issue.

Of those surveyed, 74 percent of Democrats and 63 of those self-identifying as independent favor the proposal; 43 percent of Republicans surveyed also support it. Congress is expected to face off on the matter early this week (AP).

Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod said on Fox News Sunday defended the Buffet Rule and the president’s budget and economic record. “Nobody can argue that it makes sense for people who are making $1 million a year or more to pay less than the average middle class worker in this country,” he said. “So, it both helps us stabilize the deficit and ensures amount of fairness in our tax system.”

GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney would continue the Bush-era tax cuts, including those for the richest people, while trimming rates and eliminating estate taxes.

Though he requested an extension to file his taxes, Romney has estimated his tax liability at $3.2 million for last year. The Obamas reported about $790,000 last year (AP), paying more than $160,000 in taxes — around a 20 percent rate.

According to the Boston Globe, Romney is assembling a vast and diverse team of foreign policy advisers, including some experts from the George W. Bush administration, some from Romney’s own 2008 campaign, and still others who have openly disagreed his planned policies, such as Mitchell Reiss, who has suggested negotiating with the Taliban to end the war in Afghanistan.

“Romney has assembled 22 special advisers on foreign policy and working groups organized into regions such as Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and Afghanistan or into issues such as human rights, international assistance, or counterterrorism,” the Globe says. “That compares with four advisers on the economy, suggesting that foreign policy remains an area where he needs more advice.”

Negative campaign rhetoric on China’s currency decisions is unlikely to lighten up (Reuters) even after the weekend’s slight change to yuan trading. China’s move on Saturday to allow the yuan to rise or fall 1 percent from a mid-point every day, from its previous 0.5 percent limit, did little to change the U.S. Treasury’s stance on currency pegging.

“While we welcome the progress to date, the process of correcting the misalignment of China’s exchange rate remains incomplete, and further progress is needed,” the Treasury said.

Romney has said he is prepared to issue an executive order declaring China a currency manipulator and voters remain split on China’s economic impact in the United States.

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