Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
They have nothing to do with Frank McCourt or Magic Johnson.
Tax day (extended to April 17 from the familiar April 15) just passed, but the Buffett Rule has been blocked in the Senate. That's the intertwined story from taxland over the past few days. The timing is interesting because, understandably, a lot of people get...more than mildly annoyed whenever they have to do their taxes AND there's a movement on the political left gaining steam to hit the wealthy with higher taxes.
Those on the right are horrified. The impasse means that there just had to be a split-the-difference, "third way" solution on the horizon, and it arrived on Monday, in the form of a New York Times op-ed by Syracuse professor Leonard Burman. He doesn't like the Buffett Rule, but he does believe that capital gains taxes — the taxes that, for example, mega-rich hedge-fund managers pay in income treated as investment returns — should be restored to Reagan-era levels.
President Obama has come out swinging, as the USA struggles to get its financial act together. A nearly $500 billion jobs bill has now been followed by a proposal to raise taxes on Americans making more that $1 million a year. Those on the left love the idea; those on the right have labeled it class warfare. In an effort to invoke an extremely rich dude who has strongly advocated that rich people pay more in taxes, Obama has taken to calling it the "Buffett Rule," after billionaire investor Warren Buffett.
I just want to know how much money it would bring in. And at a local level, roughly how many people in Southern California would get hit with the new tax, in the event that it actually gets passed. This isn't Kansas, after all — if you live in or around Los Angeles and San Diego, you are in a major millionaires region. In 2009, the Los Angeles metro area had almost 234,000 millionaires, according to statistics cited by the LA Times. I figure LA has even more now.