Calling it a matter of fairness, President Barack Obama called on Congress to pass the so-called Buffett Rule in his weekly address today.
Named for billionaire Warren Buffett, the proposal would require households with adjusted gross incomes of more than $2 million a year to pay a minimum tax rate of 30 percent.
In the address, which aired the weekend before federal income taxes are due, Obama again noted that Buffett pays a lower effective tax rate than his secretary.
"As Warren points out, that’s not fair and it doesn’t make sense," Obama said. "It’s wrong that middle-class Americans pay a higher share of their income in taxes than some millionaires and billionaires."
Obama argued that existing tax breaks for high-income earners are not fair and also hurt the government's ability to invest in "schools and roads and a strong military and new sources of energy."
He noted that unemployment was lower in the 1990s, when tax rates were higher on high-income earners, while job growth slowed in the 2000s after they were lowered.
"We've tried this trickle-down experiment before," he said. "It doesn't work."
In the address, Obama singled out the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts for criticism, although he did not note that they were extended in 2010 by a law he signed.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.