Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Time for Warren Buffett and his Secretary to Release Their Personal Tax Returns

The political theater of the Obama Administration continues at this evening’s State of the Union Address. Debbie Bosanek, Warren Buffett’s personal secretary–you know the woman who has become the poster-child for President Obama’s attacks on the “unfairness” of the not progressive enough tax code–will be seated in the First Lady’s box this evening. Buffett has repeatedly lectured to us about a tax code in which his secretary pays a higher tax rate than he does.

Ms. Bosanek, who until recently had only been thrust into the public dialogue over “fairness” and redistribution by her publicity seeking and political favor hunting boss (note how his Burlington Railroad company benefits financially from the President’s decision to halt the Keystone Pipeline) has now thrust herself into the national debate.

Fair enough.

Now that she’s voluntarily participating in the public arena, I call on both Ms. Bosanek and Mr. Buffett to release their own personal tax returns for the past four years. Let’s see what their tax rates really are. This is an important political argument that will be a central theme of the Obama campaign for the rest of the year. Having made the claim on behalf of the Obama campaign, it’s time for Mr. Buffett and Ms. Bosanek to demonstrate its veracity.

I suspect we’ll find that Mr. Buffett has benefited significantly from his own lobbying of Congress. And I’m curious to see exactly how much higher Ms. Bosanek’s tax rate is than Mr. Buffett’s.

The analysis of their personal tax returns is likely to be highly educational for the entire country.

More commentary at Broadside Books' Line of Fire here.

Michael Patrick Leahy is the editor of the Voices of the Tea Party e-book series, co-founder of the Nationwide Tea Party Coalition, and co-organizer of Election Day Tea Party 2012. His new book,Covenant of Liberty: The Ideological Origins of the Tea Party Movement, will be published by Broadside Books in spring, 2012. He can be reached on Twitter at @michaelpleahy .