President Obama did in fact pay a lower effect tax rate than his secretary, despite the fact that she makes much less than he does.
Kathy Breckenridge, Obama's secretary, makes $95,000 a year, but paid "a slightly higher rate" than the Obamas, who made $789,000 last year, the White House confirmed yesterday.
White House spokeswoman Amy Brundage said the imbalance between Breckenridge and Obama's effective tax rate demonstrates "exactly why we need to reform our tax code and ask the wealthiest to pay their fair share," according to the Chicago Tribune.
Jay Carney, the White House Press Secretary, also said yesterday that "the President should not be able to -- the tax code should not written in a way that allows for -- for the wealthiest Americans to pay taxes at a lower rate than middle-class Americans."
Nevertheless, Carney also denounced the idea of asking such wealthy people to pay what they regard as a "fair share" voluntarily rather than push for a change in the law. "Think what that says to middle-class American families who are trying to get by, who are paying their taxes and paying at a rate higher than Warren Buffett," he said Wednesday in criticism of the observation that rich people "have the option" of writing a check to the IRS at any time.