As part of the Obama administration’s push to raise more taxes from the wealthy, Vice President Joseph R. Biden told an audience in New Hampshire Thursday that paying higher taxes is “patriotic.”
“Wealthy people are just as patriotic as middle-class people, as poor people, and they know they should be doing more,” Mr. Biden said at the town hall in Exeter, N.H. “We’re not supposed to have a system with one set of rules for the wealthy and one set of rules for everyone else.”
Mr. Biden criticized Mitt Romney, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, and congressional Republicans for opposing the administration’s efforts to impose the so-called “Buffett rule,” a minimum tax rate of 30 percent for people who make more than $1 million a year.
“Gov. Romney and others argue that if we keep these windfalls and then shower even more windfalls on the very wealthiest, that’s how America’s economy will grow,” Mr. Biden said. ‘It absolutely amazes me. He offers this prescription as if it’s somehow a new idea, folks. … We’ve seen this movie before. It does not end well. Could it be that he’s out of touch?
“Gov. Romney calls the president out of touch,” he said. “Hey, how many of y’all have a Swiss bank account? How many of you have somewhere between $20 and $100 million in your [retirement account]?” Mr. Biden said.
The trip was Mr. Biden’s third of the year to New Hampshire. Mr. Obama won the state in 2008 but it’s expected to be a tight contest in November.
The vice president’s comments were reminiscent of the campaign for the White House in 2008, when Mr. Biden forecast that wealthier Americans would pay more under an Obama-Biden administration.
“It’s time to be patriotic … time to jump in, time to be part of the deal, time to help get America out of the rut,” he said at the time.
President Obama spent part of his day at the White House giving interviews to television stations in four 2012 battleground states - Ohio, Nevada, Iowa and Missouri - about the need for the Buffett rule. The Senate is scheduled to hold a test vote on Monday on the proposal.
“We are very interested in making sure that the residents of those four states are aware of the debate, are informed about the issue,” said White House press secretary Jay Carney, adding that the president hopes their voices will be heard in the debate.
Mr. Carney went so far as to suggest that the imbalance in tax fairness for the middle class and the wealthy helped to precipitate the Great Recession.
“That kind of imbalance is both not fair for regular folks who are working hard, trying to make ends meet, but it’s also not good for our economy,” Mr. Carney said “It didn’t work. So we shouldn’t just go back and do what didn’t work. And I even didn’t mention what happened at the end of that period - global economic chaos.”