Boehner: Obama Should Contribute 10% More of His Income to the Government

Thomas Cloud | April 17, 2012 | 12:49pm EDT
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( – House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said on Tuesday that President Barack Obama should voluntarily contribute 10 percent more of his income to the federal government to match the 30-percent rate of taxation the president believes wealthier people like him should pay.

In 2011, Obama paid only slightly more than 20 percent of his income in federal taxes.

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President Obama has been pushing his “Buffett Rule” tax proposal since last fall, which would mandate that people making $1 million a year (or more) pay a tax rate of at least 30 percent.

On Jan. 19 this year, Obama said, “Let me be absolutely clear: I should pay more taxes, and folks in my income bracket should pay more taxes, and certainly folks who are making billions of dollars should pay more taxes, not because I want to take their money and just give it to somebody else.”

Then on Apr. 11, Obama said, “I’d just point out that the Buffett Rule is something that will get us moving in the right direction towards fairness, towards economic growth.  It will help us close our deficit and it’s a lot more specific than anything that the other side has proposed so far.”

In this Feb. 15, 2010, file photo President Barack Obama congratulates Warren Buffett after presenting him with a 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom in an East Room ceremony at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

At a Capitol Hill press conference on Tuesday, asked Speaker Boehner,  “President Obama paid about 20 percent in taxes, should he voluntarily contribute an extra 10 percent to reach the 30 percent?”

Boehner said, “Sure, sure.”

According to his publicly disclosed tax returns, President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle had an adjusted gross income in 2011 of $789,674 and they paid 20.5 percent in federal taxes on that income. That income puts the Obamas in the top 1 percent of taxpayers in the United States.

In his April 11 remarks, Obama noted, as he has frequently in the past, that the billionaire investor Warren Buffett paid a tax rate lower than his secretary’s rate. (Buffett reportedly paid a rate based on dividend income while his secretary paid a rate based on personal income.)

After the Obamas 2011 tax returns were released, the White House announced on April 13 that the president’s own secretary, Anita Decker, who makes $95,000 a year, paid a tax rate “slightly higher” than that of the president.

White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage said this “is exactly why we need to reform our tax code and ask the wealthiest to pay their fair share.”

American citizens can voluntarily make donations to the U.S. Treasury online at “TreasuryDirect” to “help reduce the public debt.”  Donations can be made from a checking account or with a credit card.

A vote to end a Republican-led filibuster on the "Buffett Rule" in the Senate on April 16 was defeated 51-45, short of the 60 votes need to end the filibuster.

Michael W. Chapman contributed to this report.

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