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Daily Connect: #Generosity: Turning the “Buffet Rule” into the “Buffet Pool”

by Patrick Groneman
(Follow Patrick on Twitter)

Last night during his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama made another pitch for instating the “Buffet Rule”, which would require people making more than $1 million a year to pay a minimum tax rate of 30%.

“"Do we want to keep these tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans?" he asked. "Or do we want to keep our investments in everything else, like education and medical research; a strong military and care for our veterans? Because if we're serious about paying down our debt, we can't do both." (From Huffington Post)

But what if there were a third way?  Instead of creating another rule, which could cause resentment among the 1%, and allegations of class warfare, Buffet and Obama got the ball rolling on economic equality by creating a “Pool” instead of a rule.

The “Buffet Pool” could be made up of donations from the wealthiest Americans under the pretext that all funds would be used to directly fund the educational, research, and healthcare initiatives that benefit the full 100% of the American population (In my opinion environmental initiatives would be a part of this too).

The suggested donation amount could even simply be the difference between their current tax rate and the full 30% rate proposed by Obama.

This method of inspiring generosity to meet budget needs is used by hundreds of not-for-profit organizations everyday to fulfill many programs and initiatives that are integral to the functioning of our society.   The benefit of bringing this into the realm of politics and appealing to the generosity of the 1% is that you instill a sense of collaboration and creative kinship between the government and its citizens, as opposed to one of alienation and divisiveness.  Allowing people to participate on their own terms is where I see wisdom in libertarian inclinations.

The “Buffet Pool” doesn’t need to be fancy (folks can already donate to the government if they wish), it could simply be a way of making the argument that “if we want to accomplish x,y,z as a country, then we need (blank) amount of money”.  It could be a social leveraging tool, and a way to create intentionality around the money that passes through our government agencies to help generate a culture of interdependent awareness and generosity.

If you were (or are) a member of the 1%, would you donate to the Buffet Pool?

(Buffet image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons user Peterforsyth, Obama image courtesy the Obama-Biden transition project)

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