The Buffett Rule
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In a 2011 interview, billionaire investor Warren Buffett decried tax loopholes that allow him, because of his investment income, to pay a lower effective tax rate than his secretary, and he advocated changes to tax policy that would require the super-rich (or, the 1%, as they would come to be known by the Occupy Wall Street movement ) to pay more of their income in taxes. In late 2011, the White House proposed the “Buffett Rule,” which would require a minimum tax rate of 30% for people earning $1 million a year. As part of its unveiling, the White House released the video included here, in which Brian Deese, the Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, presents a simplified explanation of exactly what the Buffett Rule proposes.
<<embed video from Lunsford, Everything’s an Argument e-Pages: http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/webpub/english/Lunsford6e/epages/Chapter%2027/EAA_Chap27_Buffet_clearSkin_3/EAA_Chap27_Buffet.html>>
Download transcript. <<pop: 11_The Buffet Rule_Transcript.pdf>>
Analyzing the Writer’s Technique
After watching The Buffett Rule <<pop: video from Lunsford, Everything’s an Argument e-Pages: http://bcs.bedfordstmartins.com/webpub/english/Lunsford6e/epages/Chapter%2027/EAA_Chap27_Buffet_clearSkin_3/EAA_Chap27_Buffet.html>>, answer the questions below. Then submit your responses.
1. Who is the video’s main audience, and what is the video’s main purpose? That is, what does the White House hope to accomplish by creating this video?
Possible Answer: The main audience of the video is American voters and taxpayers who want to understand the issues and laws being debated by the White House and the U.S. Congress—particularly, in this case, the proposed Buffett Rule. The White House’s purpose is to explain the basic concepts of the rule in simple terms to educate Americans and to help them make an informed decision about where to direct their political support.
2. Which of the modes does Brian Deese use to explain the Buffett Rule, and which are the most effective? Be sure to use specific examples and details from the video to support your answer.
Possible Answer: Some of the modes that Deese uses to explain the Buffett Rule include definition, comparison-and-contrast, and cause-and-effect. Deese defines the Buffett Rule. He uses a chart to compare the incomes and taxes of a single executive assistant who makes $49,480 and pays 16% in taxes; a couple (a teacher and a police officer) who earn a combined $105,000 salary and pay 19%; a doctor who makes $175,900 and pays 23%; and a super-rich family earning $110,000,000 and paying 18%. Deese also uses cause-and-effect to explain what would happen if the Buffett Rule passed: There would be no change to the amount of taxes most citizens would have to pay, but the super-rich would have to pay at least 30% of their income in taxes.