In weekly address, Obama says "Buffett Rule" would grow economy

(CBS News) Expanding on his reasons to support the "Buffett Rule," President Obama said it is "not just about fairness" but economic "growth" as well. (Watch in video above.)

"Now, this is not just about fairness. This is also about growth," the president said in his weekly address. "It's about being able to make the investments we need to strengthen our economy and create jobs. And it's about whether we as a country are willing to pay for those investments."

Just days before the tax filing deadline, the president continued to promote his plan to raise taxes on those earning more than $1 million per year to pay at least a 30-percent tax rate, which the White House says would raise $47 billion over ten years.

"It's simple: If you make more than $1 million every year, you should pay at least the same percentage of your income in taxes as middle-class families do," the president said.

Mr. Obama said the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 lowered taxes for the wealthy, noting that "tax rates are near their lowest point in 50 years."

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The Obamas paid 20.5% tax rate in 2011

The Senate is set to vote on the "Buffett Rule," named after billionaire Warren Buffett who advocates higher taxes on the wealthy. The rich are often able to take advantage of tax loopholes and deductions that lower their tax rate, and those whose income comes primarily from capital gains enjoy a reduced rate.

As the economy is a crucial issue this election year, the Democrats try to paint Republicans as the party interested in passing policies that benefit the wealthy.

"We've tried this trickle-down experiment before. It doesn't work," the president said.

Meanwhile, Republicans talked about energy in their weekly address. Rep. Fred Upton, Chair of the House Energy & Commerce Committee, said the president's energy policies have reduced energy production on federal lands, and he said the Republicans have a better strategy.

"In many ways this administration's policies are moving us backwards, and making gas prices even worse," Upton said.

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This is the eighth week in a row Republicans have used their weekly address to discuss energy. Upton says his committee is taking up two measures that will expand energy production.

The first would reduce government regulations on energy producers, and the other would require more federal lands be opened up to energy production if the president taps the Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) - a reserve of crude set aside for emergencies, including costly gas prices. Presidents have opened the SPR to control prices around election time.

"If he won't lead, we will," Upton said. (Watch the Republican weekly address below.)

  • Leigh Ann Caldwell On Twitter»

    Leigh Ann Caldwell is a political reporter for CBSNews.com.

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