Obama brings Buffett Rule to FAU, has message for students

Dylan Bouscher

The president explains the Buffett Rule to 3,500 FAU students, faculty and staff in The Burrow. Photo by Charles Pratt.

In a cramped basketball arena, President Barack Obama told FAU students the Republican Party can’t do math.

Obama spoke to to students, faculty, and staff in The Burrow on Tuesday about making college more affordable — at a time of record budget cuts and tuition hikes. His pit stop at FAU came after a fundraiser in Palm Beach Gardens, and before another in Hollywood. In his speech, Obama compared his plan for the economy against his opponents’.

“It doesn’t add up, it doesn’t make sense,” Obama said about the tax plan congressional Republicans put forth. Using their own numbers, Obama poked holes in the plan, which includes $4.6 trillion in tax breaks over the next decade. One number stood out to students when Obama talked about the opposing plan: 10 million college students would lose $1,000 each in financial aid. The crowd booed in agreement with the president.

“That doesn’t just benefit you,” Obama said about financial aid programs. “It benefits whatever company might end up hiring you and profiting from your skills.” He also made an example of himself and his wife Michelle as Americans who benefited from financial aid programs and gave back to their country. “We made an investment in you,” he said to students. “We’ll get a return on the investment.”

Obama told the audience the opposing plan would bring inevitable cuts. “If you don’t cut student loans, they have to come from somewhere else,” he said. The president also defended investments in research and education: “This is not some socialist dream.”

The president challenged his Republican opposition to outline where their cuts will come from. “They should show us specifically where they’ll make those cuts.”

Then he talked about his own tax plan: the Buffett Rule.

The rule would lower the nation’s deficit by raising taxes on Americans making $1 million a year or more to 30 percent. The rule is named after multi-billionaire Warren Buffett, who says he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. Buffett supports the new tax plan.

Although the rule raises taxes on millionaires, Obama’s plan also protects the middle class from any tax increases. He said he did not want taxes to go up on the 98 percent of families whose income is less than $250,000 a year.

“Prosperity has always come from the bottom up,” Obama said when talking about how to keep the economy improving. Congress will vote on the Buffett rule in six days, which could raise the income tax rate on the mega rich to the same rate the middle class pays.

“Are we better off when everybody gets a fair shot?” Obama asked a cheering crowd. “And everybody plays by the same set of rules?”