Obama to seek higher tax rate for the rich

In this photo taken Friday, Sept. 16, 2011, President Barack Obama gestures while speaking in Alexandria, Va. AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama is expected to seek a new base tax rate for the wealthy to ensure that millionaires pay at least at the same percentage as middle income taxpayers.

A White House official said the proposal would be included in the president's proposal for long term deficit reduction that he will announce Monday. The official spoke anonymously because the plan has not been officially announced.

Obama is going to call it the "Buffett Rule" for Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor who has complained that rich people like him pay a smaller share of their income in federal taxes than middle-class taxpayers.

Buffett wrote in a New York Times op-ed piece last month that he and his rich friends "have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress."

The measure would be in addition to $447 billion in new tax revenue that Obama is seeking to pay for his short-term spending and tax cutting plan to jump start the economy.

Republican House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner said Thursday he would oppose tax increases to reduce the deficit. Boehner has urged Congress' deficit "supercommittee" to lay the groundwork for a broad overhaul of the U.S. tax code.

The panel has almost unlimited authority to recommend changes in federal spending and taxes and is working against a deadline of Nov. 23.

Boehner said the panel has "only one option, spending cuts and entitlement reforms," a reference to massive federal benefit programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Any broad compromise that clears the bipartisan committee is almost certain to require Democratic agreement to savings from programs such as the Social Security pension program, along with Republican acquiescence to additional revenues, although any such trade-offs are rarely discussed openly until the last possible moment in negotiations.

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