Washington: Intensifying his populist pitch, US President Barack Obama has made an aggressive case for imposing more taxes on the rich and criticised those opposing his 'Buffet Rule'.
"You might have heard of this, but Warren Buffett is paying a lower tax rate than his secretary. Now, that's wrong. That's not fair," Obama said in his speech at the Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton in Florida yesterday.
"So we've got to choose which direction we want this country to go in. Do we want to keep giving those tax breaks to folks like me who don't need them, or give them to Warren Buffet -- he definitely doesn't need them...Or Bill Gates --he's already said, I don't need them.
"Or do we want to keep investing in those things that keep our economy growing and keep us secure? That's the choice," he said.
Obama said he started from the belief that government cannot and should not try to solve every single problem.
"Government is not the answer to everything. I also believe that since government is funded by you, that it has an obligation to be efficient and effective. And that's why we’ve eliminated dozens of programmes that weren't working, announced hundreds of regulatory reforms to save businesses and taxpayers billions of dollars.
"We've put annual domestic spending on a path to become the smallest share of our economy since Eisenhower was in the White House, which is before I was born much less you being born," he said.
Obama said he believes that the free market is the greatest force for economic progress in human history.
In this country, prosperity has never trickled down from the wealthy few, he said, adding that prosperity has always come from the bottom up, from a strong and growing middle class.
"That's how a generation who went to college on the GI Bill -- including my grandfather -- helped build the most prosperous economy that the world has ever known. That's why a CEO like Henry Ford made a point to pay his workers enough money so that they could buy the cars that they were building," he said.
"Because he understood, look, there's no point in me having all this and then nobody can buy my cars. I've got to pay my workers enough so that they buy the cars, and that in turn creates more business and more prosperity for everybody," Obama said.
First Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2012, 11:27