With the economy still the top issue in the 2012 campaign, both President Barack Obama and GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney are making much of changes to the tax code as significant for economic recovery. But Obama’s attempt to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans was thwarted in the Senate (WashPost), which failed to take up consideration of the Buffett Rule Monday.
In a statement following the failed vote to consider a 30 percent tax rate minimum tax rate on those making more than $1 million per year, Obama said he would continue to push Congress on economic security for the middle class and said the Buffett Rule was about “common sense” and “basic fairness.”
Campaigning at a Tea Party event in Philadelphia, Romney criticized the change (AP), saying revenue from the Buffett Rule would bring in enough revenue to run the federal government for about eleven hours. Romney has said he would continue the Bush-era tax cuts, instead trimming spending and making other changes.
The House Republican counter proposal — an effort to cut taxes by 20 percent for businesses with 500 or fewer employees — is expected to come to a vote later this week.
Though a majority of voters said they supported the Buffett Rule, only about half of those polled think they are paying an appropriate amount of taxes, according to a new Gallup poll. Of those polled, 47 percent said they consider the amount they pay in federal income tax is “about right” and 46 percent said it is too high; 3 percent consider their taxes too low.
Gallup says low-income Americans have grown increasingly discontented with the amount and fairness of their tax rate, perhaps because of the slow-to-recover economy or the campaign emphasis on the low tax rates for millionaires.
Even with renewed violence in Afghanistan this spring, Romney remains adamant that the time for the United States to negotiate with the Taliban is long past (ABC), especially in light of prior failed discussions.
“I don’t think we’re in a position to advance our interests or the interests of the Karzai government or for that matter for the people of Afghanistan,” Romney told Diane Sawyer. “The time to negotiate is when people are concerned that if they don’t negotiate they might lose something,” and knowing the allies’ planned date of withdrawal means they only have to bide their time, he said.
Political correspondent Byron York asks whether Romney will align with his own party since a new Washington Post poll shows 52 percent of GOP voters now believe the war is not worth fighting.
“While he has accused Barack Obama of hurrying to the exits, Romney himself has not committed to any particular strategy and has adopted a position that could justify virtually any policy option,” York writes.
The Republican Party is maneuvering to better appeal to Latino voters (HuffPo), focusing on the fact that Latinos have been hit hard by the economic recession and the president’s failure to deliver on comprehensive immigration reform.
The Obama campaign is also beginning to actively court Latinos in states like Arizona (NYT).
— Gayle S. Putrich, Contributing Editor