[Miami, FL] The junior U.S. Senator from Florida – Marco Rubio – is playing hardball this week against President Obama, who visited the Sunshine State for some good old-fashioned campaign fundraising as well as some official appearances.
On Tuesday, President Obama gave some back at a speech at Florida Atlantic University in which he made his pitch for multi-millionaires and billionaires to pay more in taxes.
“It’s time for us to choose which direction we want to go in as a country,” said Obama. “Do we want to keep giving those tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans like me, or Warren Buffett – he definitely doesn’t need them, or Bill Gates?”
During an interview with CBS 4 Miami, Rubio challenged the President over his push to instate the so-called “Buffett Rule,” which is a popularized catch phrase for Obama’s push for tax policy change aimed at raising the rate on the wealthiest Americans.
Rubio, obviously, doesn’t agree with President Obama’s idea that the wealthier pay more taxes.
“They do pay more — and that’s one of the fundamental misleading things the President is saying,” said Rubio. “Somehow the perception is being created that if your paycheck is a million a year you pay less in taxes. That is not true. What the President is talking about when he talks about the ‘Buffett Rule’ is investment income.”
“We have always wanted Warren Buffett to, instead of putting that money in a coffee can, to take his money and invest it because that created jobs,” said Rubio.
Rubio and his Republican cohorts are dead set against raising rates for the richest Americans, claiming that if the have more money to spend they will create more jobs or “trickle down,” to use a classic GOP phrase. The problem is, as Obama points out, that we tried that way and it didn’t work.
Obama said Republicans are “doubling down on a lot of these broken down theories” that proved to not work under George W. Bush.
An eye-opening study from the Congressional Budget Office shows the wealth gap widening, employee salaries stagnated and income concentrated more and more by those who already have obtained riches. The lowest earners in this country saw their incomes raise by 20% over 30 years.
Sounds good? How about this: The top 1% saw their incomes go through the roof at a staggering rate of 275% over that same three-decade period. It is that kind of hard data that is driving the debate around the water cooler and dinner table and why polls show support for Obama’s position.
And Rubio knows this.
“I understand the polls. I can read a poll just like Barack Obama can,” said Rubio, sounding a bit huffy. Right? That sounded huffy.
“I understand that people look at it and say, ‘Yeah, how come Warren Buffett pays less than his secretary?’. What they need to understand is the reason why he may pay less than his secretary in terms of the rate is that she makes her money on a paycheck and he makes his money on investments,” offered Rubio.
Problem is, we are now competing with countries like Rwanda, Ecuador, Cameroon and Uganda when it comes to the wealth gap, and President Obama is seizing upon that realization in appealing to a population that feels that it has been trickled on enough.
“Here in America we look out for one another. Here in America we help each other get ahead. Here in America we have a sense of common purpose. Here in America we can meet any challenge. Here in America we can seize any moment. We can make this century another great American century,” said Obama, sounding a little bit like candidate-in-chief.
Don’t expect this issue to go away anytime soon as the President will continue to drive this populist message until Republicans are forced to vote on the matter.
By: Mark Christopher/Sunshine Slate
Lead image: Marco Rubio’s YouTube Channel