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Scott Brown Must Decide: Romney v. Buffett

[Cross-posted on Blue Mass Group.]

Our Republican junior Senator, Scott Brown, has a very simple decision before him: raise taxes on lower-income Americans and give the wealthiest Americans even more tax cuts (the Romney Plan), or increase tax fairness and make sure that millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share (the Buffett Rule).

As a reminder, this is the impact of the Romney Plan:

Mitt Romney's new tax plan strongly favors the wealthiest Americans, offering earners in the top 20 percent an average tax cut of more than $16,000 while raising taxes on the bottom 20 percent of earners, according to an analysis from a non-partisan Washington think tank.

The analysis out Thursday from the Tax Policy Center, a joint venture of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution think tanks, finds that under Romney's plan the bottom 20 percent would see their average federal tax rate increase $149, or 1.3 percent.

The top 20 percent, meanwhile, would see an average tax cut of $16,134 -- a 5.4 percent reduction in their tax rate. The top one percent of earners would see their average tax rate fall by nearly $150,000 per year, and the top 0.1 percent would see a reduction of more than $725,000.

Again, to make it crystal clear, the tax plan laid out by the candidate for President endorsed by Scott Brown actually raises taxes on lower-income Americans.

An alternative tax structure to Mitt Romney's is the Buffett Rule.  As a refresher, here is the clear and simple explanation of the Buffett rule:

President Obama sought Wednesday to expand his push for the so-called Buffett Rule by highlighting its support among corporate chieftains and even Republicans.

Flanked by a group of millionaires and their secretaries, Obama hit for another consecutive day on themes of fairness and the need for this rule, which would see million dollar household subjected to a minimum effective tax rate of 30 percent.

"Most Americans agree with me, so do most millionaires.  One survey found that two-thirds of millionaires support this idea.  So do nearly half of all Republicans across America," Obama said, speaking to an audience of millionaires and their secretaries, intended to personify Warren Buffett's contention that millionaires should pay at least the same tax rates as their secretaries.

The Buffett rule, plainly and simply, makes sure that millionaires and billionaires pay a 30% tax rate.  I can understand that perturbing Mitt Romney, since he only paid a tax rate of 13.9%, probably a lower rate than you paid.  The bottom line is that the Buffett Rule would most definitely increase tax fairness.

That's the decision Scott Brown has to make when the U.S. Senate votes on the Buffett Rule this Monday.  Will he side with Mitt Romney's tax plan, raising taxes on lower-income Americans and further slashing taxes for the wealthiest Americans; or, will he vote for the Buffett Rule to make our tax system fairer and have millionaires and billionaires pay their fair share?

The early indications are that Scott Brown will side with Mitt Romney.  After all, it was Scott Brown who said at the 2010 Conservative Political Action Conference, "Let me give you a piece of advice.  And it's something that I think of regularly when I think of my challenges here in Washington.  If you want to fix something that's broken, especially dealing with economic policies, you have to listen to Governor Mitt Romney."

Further, it was Scott Brown who told CNN's Piers Morgan less than a month ago, on March 19, "I know that when it comes to dealing with the economic issues, there's no one I would trust more than Governor Romney."

Scott Brown has made it very clear that he will side with Mitt Romney on economic policy up and down the line, even if it means raising taxes on lower-income Americans.

American Bridge 21st Century puts it succinctly:

Scott Brown ignores Massachusetts families to express concern for the wealthy, like hedge fund managers and Wall Street executives, once again. It is the same thing he did when he weakened Wall Street reform, helping out his buddies at the expense of American families.

As such, if Scott Brown votes with his Republican colleagues against the Buffett Rule - or, more likely, votes with his Republican colleagues to filibuster the Buffett Rule and obstruct it from even getting an up-or-down vote - then Scott Brown will have cast a vote against tax fairness and once again supported raising taxes on lower-income Americans via the Romney Plan.

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