In recent days, President Barack Obama has spoken about the importance of implementing the Buffett rule—which would ensure shared sacrifice for all Americans by adjusting tax rates so that the wealthiest Americans pay their fair share. When speaking about the Buffett rule yesterday, Obama said:
America has always been a place where anybody who’s willing to work and play by the rules can make it. A place where prosperity doesn’t trickle down from the top, it grows from the bottom; it grows outward from the heart of a vibrant middle class….
In the next few weeks, we’re going to vote on something called the Buffett Rule—very simple: If you make more than $1 million a year ... what the rule says is you should pay the same percentage of your income in taxes as middle-class families do. You shouldn’t get special tax breaks. You shouldn’t be able to get special loopholes.
And if we do that, then it makes it affordable for us to be able to say for those people who make under $250,000 a year—like 98 percent of American families do—then your taxes don’t go up. And we can still make those investments in things like student loans and college and science and infrastructure and all the things that make this country great.
Last week, the Public Religion Research Institute conducted a poll of Jewish voters in which they found overwhelming support from American Jews for the principles embodied in the Buffett rule:
* 73% of respondents agreed that “The economic system in this country unfairly favors the wealthy.”
* 81% of respondents favor “Increasing the tax rate on Americans earning more than $1 million a year.”
This tremendous support by American Jews for the core values surrounding the Buffett rule is not surprising, given the deep support among Jews for ideals such as tikkun olam (repairing the world) and helping the needy.
On this issue of basic fairness, as with so many others, it is clear that the Democratic Party is the true political home for most American Jews.