03/26/2012 12:38 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

The Buffett Rule: It's About Restoring Tax Fairness

Some things are just so obvious, and make so much sense that, people from all walks of life can agree.

Like tax fairness, for example.

Way back in 1985, President Reagan -- yes, that Ronald Reagan, hero of conservatives everywhere -- talked about eliminating tax loopholes and giveaways for the richest Americans.

And while even Reagan, Republican icon, has said our tax code should be the same for the middle class and the wealthy, today's right wing won't even come to the table. The Republican leadership mocks the bill and the Wall Street Journal prints the headline "Rich would skirt Buffett Rule." Only to be debunked by Forbes magazine as being "[c]atchy but misleading."

Between all the back and forth, the real underlying issue is becoming lost. We're talking about restoring fairness to our tax system. The tenant of the Buffett Rule is to fix something so broken, so wrong that Ronald Reagan agreed. Our tax code is fundamentally unfair because the system taxes income typically earned by the wealthy, like investments, at a lower rate than income earned by middle class workers, like salaries. More troubling, the system is full of tax loopholes, corporate giveaways and carve-outs for millionaires and billionaires. This has left us with a world in which middle class families are paying more of their overall income than our richest 1%.

And where do we go from here? We're facing a radical Republican Party on the other side who says the Buffett Rule is "class warfare," and attacks our plan. Well -- that's just ridiculous. Tax fairness is something so basic that two people from two very different angles have come to agree. Just watch this video of Presidents Reagan and Obama both echoing our call for tax fairness.

It may surprise a lot of people to find Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama, Sheldon Whitehouse and I on the same side of anything. But with an issue like this that makes so much sense the real question is, why does today's right wing disagree?

While we wait for the answer to that question, I'll leave you with this: there are just a few weeks left before Tax Day and Americans across the country are sitting down at their kitchen tables and adding up the numbers. Let's help them out. Click here to add your name to those calling for passage of the Buffett Rule for tax fairness.