Washington, D.C. — Today, new video footage unearthed by the Center for American Progress shows that years before President Barack Obama’s “Buffett Rule” principle—the idea that middle-class Americans should not pay higher tax rates than millionaires—the conservative icon, President Ronald Reagan, advocated for the same belief. President Reagan repeatedly argued against tax loopholes allowing millionaires to pay lower tax rates than middle-class Americans or even nothing at all.
In a June 6, 1985, speech at an Atlanta high school, President Reagan explained that tax loopholes allowing a millionaire to pay lower taxes than a bus driver were “crazy” because they allowed the “truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share”:
We’re going to close the unproductive tax loopholes that have allowed some of the truly wealthy to avoid paying their fair share. In theory, some of those loopholes were understandable, but in practice they sometimes made it possible for millionaires to pay nothing, while a bus driver was paying 10 percent of his salary, and that’s crazy. It’s time we stopped it.
Today’s congressional Republican leadership is so extreme that they are out of touch not only with the 73 percent of Americans—including 66 percent of Republicans—who support the Buffett Rule but also with one of their party’s most revered figures.
The Center for American Progress also released a column today entitled “Ronald Reagan, Father of the ‘Buffett Rule.’” The column’s authors, Seth Hanlon and Michael Linden, state that “in calling for the ‘Buffett Rule,’ Obama is merely calling for a return to basic fairness. He is echoing the very same call that Ronald Reagan made 25 years ago. Given the history, maybe we should be calling it the ‘Reagan Rule.’”
The following CAP experts will be available for comment:
Read Seth Hanlon and Michael Linden’s column: "Ronald Reagan, Father of the ‘Buffett Rule’"
Watch the video from CAP Action’s ThinkProgress: "Reagan Called For An End To ‘Crazy’ Tax Loopholes That Let Millionaires Pay Less Than Bus Drivers"
To speak with CAP’s experts on this topic, please contact Katie Peters at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202.741.6285.