'The secretary speaks,' ABC fill-in anchor David Muir excitedly teased at the top of Wednesday's World News, 'billionaire investor Warren Buffett and his secretary, who pays a much-higher tax rate than him. He says not fair. She's now at the center of a huge debate. What does she think? An ABC News exclusive.' Muir promised that 'tonight we hear from the secretary for the first time,' but she merely got to utter one sentence as ABC used her as a poster girl to hike taxes.
Reporter Bianna Golodryga recounted 'a hero's welcome' back in Omaha for 'for a secretary thrust into the spotlight' by sitting as a stage prop behind the First Lady at Tuesday night's State of the Union address. President Obama, Golodryga helpfully explained in advancing Obama's agenda, called for a minimum 30 percent tax rate on millionaires 'after Republican candidate Mitt Romney revealed he made almost $43 million over two years, paying a tax rate of 13.9 percent in 2010, not Debbie's 35.8 percent.'
That 35.8 percent claim for secretary Debbie Bosanek is highly dubious. She may be in that bracket, but is that really her effective rate on all of her income and not just her marginal rate? Does she rent and not get a mortgage interest deduction? Does she have any deductions for dependents? Golodryga did not say on air nor in the ABCNews.com version  which at least mentioned Buffett is 'a Democrat and Obama-supporter.'
The average effective federal income tax rate for taxpayers is 11 percent, I noted in my January 24 post, 'Nets Use Romney's Taxes to Advance Obama's False 'Fairness' Narrative ,' which includes a table showing those earning between $50,000 and $75,000 pay an average effective income tax rate of 7 percent, 8 percent for those taking in $75,000 to $100,000 and 12 percent for those between $100,000 and $200,000.
No matter what Buffett pays her, if she's paying 35.8 percent she has an awful accountant. More likely, she's paying a lot less, maybe even at a lower rate than Romney since, as USA Today reported last week , 'he's paying a higher tax rate than the majority of taxpayers.'
Bosanek's one soundbite in Golodryga's piece: 'Right. I feel like an average citizen. Maybe I should say I was representing just the average citizen, who, you know, needs a voice and wants to be treated fairly in the area of taxation.'
This is hardly the first time ABC's World News has championed Warren Buffett's quest to raise income tax rates. Last September, Golodryga gushed :
Today, an unassuming secretary who lives in Omaha and happens to work for billionaire Warren Buffett may be the arbiter of what is fair and not in America. Buffett, worth $50 billion, recently expressed outrage that under the American tax code, he paid just 17.4 percent of his income in taxes while his secretary paid double that rate at 33 percent.
(Note 33 percent for Bosanek just five months ago, not 35.8 percent)
A month earlier , 'Billionaires on notice,' ABC anchor Diane Sawyer teased World News in trumpeting, as did CBS and NBC, a New York Times op-ed by Buffett. Sawyer heralded Buffett's quest: 'Is it time for the mega-rich to pay at least the same tax rate as their secretaries? And if they did pay their fair share, would it fix America's schools or roads?'
Plus, January 5: 'ABC Exploits Kim Kardashian Gimmick to Champion Left-Wing Quest to Raise Tax Rates '
The story on the Wednesday, January 25 ABC World News:
DAVID MUIR: We're going to turn to politics and "Your Voice, Your Vote" tonight. The President and that moment during the State of the Union, that preview of what's to come, how he'll make his case for re-election.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: We cat either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while growing number of Americans barely get by. Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot and everyone does their fair share and everyone plays by the same set of rules.
MUIR: And one of the faces of that debate is this woman. Warren Buffett's secretary. Debbie Bosanek, so often spoken of and so rarely seen. Buffett says he pays a lower tax rate than she does, something he calls unfair. And tonight we hear from the secretary for the first time. ABC's Bianna Golodryga in Omaha tonight with an ABC News exclusive. Bianna, good evening.
Good evening to you David and Debbie Bosanek says she still feels like Cinderella at the ball, given the 24 hours that she's had. She spent her entire life here in Omaha, started working for Warren Buffett at the age of 17, and said she never really thought much about taxes or the rate she pays compared to her boss until the past few months. Well now she's at the center of nationwide debate.
A hero's welcome, for a secretary thrust into the spotlight. After a whirlwind ride to stardom, that began when her famous boss, Warren Buffet, says she pays a lower tax rate than she does.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: But asking a billionaire to pay as much as a secretary in taxes?
GOLODRYGA: Trading her seat next to the First Lady, for the one next to her boss today, the one she's worked for for 19 years.
GOLODRYGA TO BOSANEK: You said that you felt as if you're representing secretaries across the country yesterday.
DEBBIE BOSANEK: Right. I feel like an average citizen. Maybe I should say I was representing just the average citizen, who, you know, needs a voice and wants to be treated fairly in the area of taxation.
WARREN BUFFETT: Deb is typical. She's right in the middle.
GOLODRYGA: She pays a 35.8 percent tax rate while her billionaire boss pays a 17 percent tax rate. Which is why Buffett, and now the President, are pushing what's being called the 'Buffett Rule,' requiring millionaires to pay at least 30 percent in income tax, including that money earned through investments. It comes just 24 hours after Republican candidate Mitt Romney revealed he made almost $43 million over two years, paying a tax rate of 13.9 percent in 2010. Not Debbie's 35.8 percent.
Opponents argue raising the capital gains tax for millionaires like Romney will stifle job creation. Something this billionaire disagrees with.
WARREN BUFFETT: Capital gains rates have been much higher in the past.
GOLODRYGA TO BUFFETT: Buffett does have this question for the Governor. What is your challenge to him? What is your question to him? If he did nothing illegal?
BUFFETT: Is it a moral obligation if he has the power to do it to try to change the tax law? If you become President of the United States, do you really think that you want to have a tax code that results in your tax rate, when the same tax code results in Debbie paying 35.8 percent?
GOLODRYGA: David, we reached out to the Romney camp with Buffett's question. They said, they didn't care to respond to Warren Buffett but that the Governor's committed to cutting taxes, particularly for the middle class. David, I should also note that Warren Buffett doesn't blame Romney for anything he did for the low tax rate he paid. He blames Congress for that low tax rate.