Demonstrators call on CEOs to support 'Buffett rule'

April 10, 2012 9:07:17 PM PDT
A new poll shows President Barack Obama is leading likely Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney by double digits when it comes to protecting the middle class, so it's no surprise he's pushing that theme in his campaign. Around the Bay Area Tuesday, demonstrators gathered at the homes of some of California's CEOs.

In Lafayette, more than a dozen demonstrators marched to the home of Chevron's CEO, calling on him to sign a pledge to raise taxes on the wealthy. The same pledge taken to the Atherton home of Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman. Tuesday evening, protesters gathered outside the home of Wells Fargo's CEO.

"I want to point out I'm a small business owner; I have 20 employees," Paul Gardner said.

Gardner owns a building supply company in San Mateo.

"I expect these corporations to start paying their taxes, start paying their fair share," Gardner said.

That was the theme of Obama's message Tuesday in Florida.

"Can we succeed as a nation where a shrinking number of people are doing really, really well but a growing number are struggling to get by," Obama asked.

The president is pushing the theme of fairness. The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll shows why: he's leading Romney by 10 point on protecting the middle class.

Romney is responding with what the polls show is his strongest argument: the deficit.

"You have a president that will continue to amass trillion dollar deficits with enough debt to ultimately sink our economy in the future," Romney said.

A senior editor at Americans for Limited Government says raising taxes would hurt jobs creation.

"Well, the rich are your job creators in this economy the poor aren't creating jobs, sad to say," Robert Romano said.

But ABC7's partners at found just 27 percent of upper income tax filers get a majority of their income from small businesses. Small business provides 70 percent of the jobs, but only 2 percent of those reporting any business income are making more than $200,000 a year. So, equating jobs creation with the rich is not as obvious as some would like to make it.

On the flip side, Republicans are right when they argue the president's plan for taxing the rich won't dent the deficit.

"We need to get back to the years of Eisenhower and the top tax bracket was like 90 percent and we had enough money to pay for things like schools," Gardner said.

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