Warren Buffett's longtime secretary, Debbie Bosanek, will join First Lady Michelle Obama in her box during Tuesday night's State Of The Union address, according to a tweet by White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer. "Tonight President Obama will offer more details on the Buffett Rule," he adds.
Obama unveiled the "Buffett Rule" last September as part of his deficit-reduction plan, proposing a minimum tax rate for millionaires, who often pay a lower effective tax rate than middle-class workers. Buffett, the billionaire chairman and chief executive of Omaha-based Berkshire Hathaway, called on Congress in August to raise taxes for those earning $1 million or more, and even more on those earning $10 million or more.
Buffett's secretary was mentioned by the president in a September speech. "Warren Buffett's secretary shouldn't pay a higher tax rate than Warren Buffett. There's no justification for it," he said. "It is wrong that in the United States of America, a teacher or a nurse or a construction worker who earns $50,000 should pay higher tax rates than somebody pulling in $50 million," added Obama. She's also a private person -- though she fields scores of press requests for Buffett, she doesn't do interviews.
Buffett said that he pays a lower tax rate than any other staffer in his 20-person office.
The "Buffett Rule" is likely to be a hot issue in the 2012 campaign. GOP candidate Mitt Romney released his tax returns Tuesday, which revealed that he and his wife paid a 13.9 percent tax rate on $21.7 million in income, entirely from investments, mostly capital gains. Obama paid a 23 percent effective rate in 2010.