The Buffett Rule has come to embody a central theme of the president's re-election campaign: tax fairness.
President Barack Obama denounced the Republicans' latest budget plan Tuesday as a "radical vision" that would hurt working-class Americans.
In a speech to editors and publishers at the annual meeting of the Associated Press, Obama took aim at the spending plan crafted by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, who is chairman of the House of Representatives Budget Committee. Ryan's proposed budget, which passed the House last Thursday on a largely party-line vote, embodies the Republican Party vision of tackling the U.S. budget deficit by slashing spending and lowering tax rates.
Obama, crystallizing his election-year focus on economic inequality, charged that the Ryan plan favors wealthier Americans at the expense of those who rely on government programs.
"It's a Trojan horse," the president said, according to the text of his speech. "Disguised as deficit reduction plan, it's really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country. It's nothing but thinly veiled social Darwinism."
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Ryan's plan for fiscal 2013, which begins this Oct. 1, calls for cuts to programs that benefit lower-income Americans, mainly Medicaid and food stamps, and federal education spending. It doesn't touch military spending and in fact seeks to avert impending Pentagon cost reductions by paring expenditures in other areas. The budget also would impose tax cuts that critics say disproportionately benefit richer Americans.
The president on Tuesday reprised themes laid out in a forceful speech in Kansas last December that stressed shared sacrifice and criticized what he called the Republicans' "you're on your own" economics.
"Broad-based prosperity has never trickled down from the success of a wealthy few," he said at "It has always come from the success of a strong and growing middle class.
"Instead of moderating their views even slightly, the Republicans running Congress right now have doubled down," Obama said at the AP event in Washington. "They're proposed a budget so far to the right that it makes the  Contract With America look like the New Deal."
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