Obama Asks Congress to Approve Tax Plan for Millionaires

May 12, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. revive (v.) 
[ri-vahyv] – to bring something back into action
Example: The government is doing everything it can to revive the slow economy.

2. bill (n.) [bil] – a written proposal or suggestion that may be made into a law
Example: Politicians will soon vote on whether to pass a new anti-smoking bill.

3. investor (n.) [in-vest-awr] - a person who puts money on a product or business where he expects to earn a profit
Example: Investors are buying properties in Singapore where the economy is strong.

4. middle-class (adj.)  [mid-l][klas, klahs] – consisting of a group of people in society who earn an average income
Example: The family moved into a middle-class home after their father was given a government position.

5. champion (n.) [cham-pee-uhn] – a person who publicly defends a person or an idea
Example: Nelson Mandela is regarded as a champion of African freedom because he fought for the rights of black Africans. 

Read the text below.

US president Barack Obama has revived his call for Congress to pass a bill that increases the income tax rates of American millionaires. 

Also known as the Buffett Plan, the bill proposes that people who earn $1 million or more yearly should pay at least 30% of their income in taxes. 

The bill is named after Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor who said middle-class taxpayers pay too much tax, while he pays too little. Buffett said that in 2010, the tax rate he paid was 17.4% of his income, while his employees paid 36% of their incomes.

Obama said the present tax system is making the rich even richer and has further increased the financial gap between the rich and poor in America.  He added that raising taxes on wealthy people will restore fairness on the system.

The Democrat-led Senate will soon vote on the bill.  However, analysts predict the House of Representatives, mainly composed of Republicans, will not pass the bill.

Republicans insist the Buffett Plan will not help solve the government’s overspending problem.  They also say that since the bill will raise taxes on small businesses, less new jobs will be created.  

Republicans have accused Obama of promoting himself as a champion of economic changes and using the tax plan as a political strategy to earn votes.  

Obama, a Democrat, will face Republican candidate Mitt Romney in November’s presidential elections. Although poll results show Obama leading Romney, majority of those who answered the survey say they are not satisfied with the way Obama has handled the economy.  

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you think raising the taxes of millionaires and billionaires is fair?  Why?            
·         If you were a millionaire, would you be willing to pay higher taxes than the ordinary income-earner?  Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Should political candidates discuss tax  issues during election time?  Why or why not?
·         What problems do you wish politicians would focus on? Why are these issues important to you?


May 12, 2012