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Billionaire Warren Buffett Says Tax the Rich: No-Brainer or No Need?

Spike 2011/08/15 17:01:15
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While the White House and Congress may have come to a formal resolution on the nation's debt crisis, many are still unsatisfied with where the country is headed fiscally. Enter legendary investor Warren Buffett.

Buffett is turning the tables on his own kind, asking the public and the government to "stop coddling the super-rich."

Buffett wrote an article for The New York Times pointing out that neither he nor any of his "mega-rich friends" are feeling the "shared sacrifice" urged by President Obama, even though middle- and lower-class Americans seem to be schlepping their own fair share.

He explained, "Last year my federal tax bill — the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf — was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income — and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent."

His point is that, though our tax system purports to be a rich-heavy progressive tax, the reality is often quite the opposite. He even notes that in the '80s and '90s, when tax rates were higher, his rates were still "in the middle of the pack."

Buffett's solution -- at least, as far as taxation goes -- is simple.

"For those making more than $1 million — there were 236,883 such households in 2009 — I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including, of course, dividends and capital gains," Buffett concludes. "And for those who make $10 million or more — there were 8,274 in 2009 — I would suggest an additional increase in rate."

Short term, it wouldn't save us the trillions we need, but it would earn the country tens of billions annually, at the least.

Check back on Friday for the results of this question and a few others in our new Web series with Spike.com. And while you're at it, watch our first Poll Position episode!

Read More: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/15/opinion/stop-cod...

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  • Fef 2011/08/15 20:01:51
    No need
    Fef
    +40
    We already tax the rich too much.

    tax rich
    Top 5% pay 53.25% of all income taxes (Down from 2000 figure: 56.47%). The top 10% pay 64.89% (Down from 2000 figure: 67.33%). The top 25% pay 82.9% (Down from 2000 figure: 84.01%). The top 50% pay 96.03% (Down from 2000 figure: 96.09%). The bottom 50%? They pay a paltry 3.97% of all income taxes. The top 1% is paying more than ten times the federal income taxes than the bottom 50%! And who earns what? The top 1% earns 17.53 (2000: 20.81%) of all income. The top 5% earns 31.99 (2000: 35.30%). The top 10% earns 43.11% (2000: 46.01%); the top 25% earns 65.23% (2000: 67.15%), and the top 50% earns 86.19% (2000: 87.01%) of all the income.
    http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/h...

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  • Robert 2011/08/19 20:08:47
    No need
    Robert
    Buffet proves what fools he & the Gov. believes Americans to be. The middle class will pay the price. Local businesses fall within the deceit they force upon us because Americans are ignorant of the laws that can protect us. I will quote two laws here & now: (1943) U.S. Supreme Court ruled "A state may not impose a charge for the enjoyment of a right granted by the Federal Constitution." & "No state may convert any secured liberty into a privilege & issue a license & a fee for it" (Murdock v. Commonwealth of Penn. 319 US 105, at 113; 63 S Ct at 875; 87 Ed at 1298) Now this law: "Taxation Key, West 933- "The right to receive income or earning is a right belonging to every person & realization & receipts of income is therefore not a " privilege that can be taxed" This is just two of over 30+ laws still in full force! I will e-mail this Knowledge & more FREE to anyone. Who wants to stop the stealing of 35-50% of your right earn a living. rbishop@ptd.net
  • N-RagedOwner 2011/08/19 19:14:10
    No-brainer
    N-RagedOwner
    +1
    I keep thinking back a few years when several obscenely rich execs went to D.C. to ask for bailout money. The way they got there? On PRIVATELY OWNED jet planes! When someone claims to feel the pain while having millions of dollars in savings as well as millions available monthly spending, then there's something wrong.
  • JAA N-Raged... 2011/08/21 02:55:26 (edited)
    JAA
    Where's my violin? The evil government "allowed" them to get away with it, & actually encouraged them. The evil liberal government then turns around and blames capitalism for the economic crisis. Capitalism would have allowed the businesses that went afoul to go into bankruptcy, and another company would have taken its place (survival of the fittest). If the CEOs were doing something illegal or unethical, the courts should have had at them, but no, their buddies in the government covered it up and made new laws that covered the government from accusations of more wrongdoing. Then the liberal government began ravaging the people with new laws and regulations so that small businesses are being stifled out of existence from the government front, and people like you & those rioters in England begin hating on anyone who makes money and provides jobs to the rest of us. Progressives are happy little magpies that they are able to turn the unsuspecting have-nots against the haves, as if actually going after the American Dream is a bad thing to be hated.

    Capitalism rights itself naturally when the government keeps their paws out of our lives. Big Businesses who screw the system are evil, just as Big Government politicians and activists that screw the people are evil. Everything in moderation, & a moral society should not allow either to take over.
  • N-Raged... JAA 2011/08/23 20:19:18
    N-RagedOwner
    You sound like you're confused about where you stand and about what you understand. I don't hate on people who make money. I hate that they are pampered for being rich then they turn right around and claim to know how it feels to be suffering in the current economy. I'm not sure what you're 'on', but get off of it and then look at things with a cleared head. You'll understand what I'm saying then.
  • JAA N-Raged... 2011/08/24 02:05:12
    JAA
    I find that when liberals feel they can't win an argument, they resort to personal insults. Thanks, but I'm not playing your little kiddie game.
  • N-Raged... JAA 2012/06/08 03:04:45
    N-RagedOwner
    So the reference to a violin wasn't an insult? Get over yourself, you were rude and I called you on your bull. Go get a clue and grow up.
  • JAA N-Raged... 2012/06/08 03:06:39 (edited)
    JAA
    Your hypersensitive response indicates that you did not understand a word I said. Are you a teenager, by chance?
  • N-Raged... JAA 2012/06/08 03:16:45
    N-RagedOwner
    I'm past my teenage years. You're not past your nonsense years though. As I said, get a clue and grow up. Also, look up what hypersensitive means, you're not using it right.
  • JAA N-Raged... 2012/06/08 03:32:25 (edited)
    JAA
    Go away, you're acting like a recalcitrant child. I've got a doctorate degree, & am a nurse, so of course I know what "hypersensitive" means, & you are exactly & precisely being "hypersensitive". That means, in your case, a girlie man. Now, go away, scat . . .
  • N-Raged... N-Raged... 2012/06/08 03:39:33
    N-RagedOwner
    @JAA.. Yeah that's mature, getting in a last word and then blocking me so I can't respond. You think that makes you look like you told me off and like I can't think of a response, but really it shows what a total FAIL you are!

    By the way, YOU replied to MY comment and you are obviously not as smart as you are falsely claiming to be. So YOU go away you phony.
  • Barbara 2011/08/19 18:43:54
    No-brainer
    Barbara
    +1
    Actually, the simplest thing to do and the thing that would make the government more money (which I'm not sure they're mature enough to handle) would be to tax everyone 10 percent above a certain income level, and not just private citizens. It should be 10 percent for companies and corporations. This wouldn't bankrupt anyone and tax returns would become the simple forms they need to be. The tax code is just plain ridiculous!!!! Of course, this would put the IRS out of business for the most part and, I think I can speak for everyone, when I say we would really, really miss them.
  • susie 2011/08/19 18:31:01
    No-brainer
    susie
    +2
    President Obama in his campaign talked about taxing the rich. It is time that the rich pay their fair share. The poor has been taxed to the point that they have to choose between food and medicine, how can the rich just sit by and not do what they know is right to do. Thank you Mr Buffett for speaking up.
  • JeromefromLayton 2011/08/19 15:10:27
    No need
    JeromefromLayton
    Most of the Uber-Riche who promote taxing the "wealthy" are already immune from the tax man. Examples include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Kennedy heirs, and, of course, Warren Buffett. So, what we have here is gold plated hypocrisy. The other problem is that it doesn't bring in more revenue because tax avoidance goes up while productivity and hiring goes down. This was one of the reasons we didn't recover from the "Great Depression" until 1954. That was the year when the stock market finally recovered from the October 1929 crash, not adjusted for inflation.
  • SW Jeromef... 2011/08/19 18:05:06
    SW
    +2
    If it does nothing then why do they fight it so hard? The fact is it DOES bring in revinues. Revinues were higher per GDP when we had higher taxes on the rich. It's just a fact. All the number fudging graphs of "projections vs bla bla" can't change the common sense fact that more progressive tax systems help the economy and lower the debt. Before Bush tax cuts balanced budget... after Bush tax cuts Huge deficit.... It's not rocket science.
  • Jeromef... SW 2011/09/20 05:32:08
    JeromefromLayton
    The Kennedy tax cut reduced the top rate of 94% to 70% (opposed at the time by Republicans!) and the economy took off. The next big cut and tax reform was the 1986 Tax Act which initially set the top rate at 28%. That was a great time to be in the job market. President Bush went back on his "read my lips" pledge and accepted a tax hike from Congress in exchange for the Gulf War. That tanked the economy leading to Bill Clinton's "It's the Economy, Stupid!" slogan courtesy of Jim Carville. The luxury tax on boats wasted the boat builders, especially in Florida. This fact has been known for over 200 years: If you want less of something, tax it.
  • SW Jeromef... 2011/08/19 18:07:27
    SW
    +2
    And no productivity and hiring don't go down. How did those Bush tax cuts help productivity and hiring? I'm still waiting for that to happen! lol! When you cut a rich person's taxes they put more money in a Swiss bank account they don't go out and hire an extra person... for what? tax cuts => more jobs makes no sense.
  • SW Jeromef... 2011/08/19 18:10:00
    SW
    +2
    Also 1954 was kind of when the economy started to recover from WWII. A large part due to the very progressive tax system we had that was more fair to regular working people. Economic activity is done by consumers not by rich people. 1,000,000 people with a thousand dollars creates a whole helluva lot more economic activity than 1 person with a billion dollars. So the more your system centrallizes wealth the more the economy suffers for all but a tiny percentage.
  • whiteco... SW 2011/08/19 23:26:05
    whitecollar
    You're 100% correct~ Thank You!
  • Flea SW 2011/08/21 20:03:14
  • Spyderman739 2011/08/19 14:47:23
    No-brainer
    Spyderman739
    Our economy is in dire need of help and everyone should take responsibility and pay their share!
  • STUPID questions by MORONS 2011/08/19 10:18:19 (edited)
    No-brainer
    STUPID questions by MORONS
    Has anyone ever seen the waste that the majority of rich people waste? When I say "waste", I'm referring to everyday tangible household items we the middle-class respect slightly more. Working in new home construction and now mostly "remodels" for millionaires & very wealthy people, I see them throw out perfectly good items, i.e. expensive plumbing fixtures, major appliances, etc., all for the sake of 'change". They are tired of their surroundings and simply want a change of scenery or merely upgrade to the "latest" and "best" on the market. Some people trade in a car every 2 years...that's fine. But, I see DUMPSTERS filled to the brim with perfectly good, usable appliances only 2 years old all for the sake of change. Sure these "whims" create jobs for myself and other's, but the WASTE is astronomical, adding to our over burdened landfills (where recycling is not in place)!!
    Then, there's huge Union controlled Corporations. They bid on a huge Sate job..say a new bridge construction? When the job is complete...they THROW AWAY thousands of $'s worth of NEW/BARELY USED tools. Sometime's there are "safety reasons', such as a chafed electrical cord.....that's fine. BUT....$2500 cast iron threading machines used two or three times!!??? I've overheard BOSSES saying "I don't care wh...

    Has anyone ever seen the waste that the majority of rich people waste? When I say "waste", I'm referring to everyday tangible household items we the middle-class respect slightly more. Working in new home construction and now mostly "remodels" for millionaires & very wealthy people, I see them throw out perfectly good items, i.e. expensive plumbing fixtures, major appliances, etc., all for the sake of 'change". They are tired of their surroundings and simply want a change of scenery or merely upgrade to the "latest" and "best" on the market. Some people trade in a car every 2 years...that's fine. But, I see DUMPSTERS filled to the brim with perfectly good, usable appliances only 2 years old all for the sake of change. Sure these "whims" create jobs for myself and other's, but the WASTE is astronomical, adding to our over burdened landfills (where recycling is not in place)!!
    Then, there's huge Union controlled Corporations. They bid on a huge Sate job..say a new bridge construction? When the job is complete...they THROW AWAY thousands of $'s worth of NEW/BARELY USED tools. Sometime's there are "safety reasons', such as a chafed electrical cord.....that's fine. BUT....$2500 cast iron threading machines used two or three times!!??? I've overheard BOSSES saying "I don't care what you do with it, get rid of it!! It was included in the job BID...we have no room to store it...we will buy another when we bid on and get another job." This is great for the small contractor who can buy a practically new $2500 tool for $250, but in the big picture...who pays for this WASTE? WE DO, the average consumer, in taxes, fees, etc., etc.

    Just my .02 cents from two angles/perspectives.
    (more)
  • Michael Janes 2011/08/19 05:12:38
    No-brainer
    Michael Janes
    Most rich do not pay a fair share any way with loop holes. Close up the holes.
  • mg's haven~POTL~PWCM~JLA 2011/08/19 04:20:14 (edited)
    No-brainer
    mg's haven~POTL~PWCM~JLA
    He has been calling for this yet nothing is doen to help him along with the idea. He needs to stop blowing smoke and just do the thing already. However i do not believe people making 250k are all that rich Billionaires are though. Tax the shight out of them
  • Muver 2011/08/19 02:23:11
    No need
    Muver
    +1
    And just which brain trust genius in government would make the decision on what defines rich. My guess would be anybody about THEIR pay grade, so they wouldn't get hit. Besides, I imagine there are plenty of tax deductions and loopholes the ultra rich can do by moving money around to avoid most of it any way......just more blathering crap,,,,,,
  • us 2011/08/19 02:15:43
    No need
    us
    I like how warren Buffet said he pay more taxes, If want to pay more taxes he can.
    Also, how does it work like GE is non-profit company does not pay taxes like it should,
    So, government should never done the non-profit because they do not pay there fair share in taxes. WHY NOT?
  • Daniel 2011/08/19 01:32:06
    No-brainer
    Daniel
    It's a not funny joke to even ask this. No one asked for more than their share but they got rich by stiffing us. They have created jobs in China, India, Indonesia and all over central and South America. Jobs taken from US, WE THE PEOPLE. If they want us all on welfare, let them pay for it.
  • Ms. Peacock 2011/08/19 00:37:43
    No-brainer
    Ms. Peacock
    Of course they have to stop coddling rich.YES YES YES ES YES YES ! Thank You!
  • Demiann 2011/08/19 00:16:27
    No-brainer
    Demiann
    +1
    Everyone should be treated equally and pay the same dues.
  • david.handy 2011/08/18 23:06:25
    No-brainer
    david.handy
    +1
    The rich get all the tax loopholes. Of course politicians don't want to increase the taxes for the right, because the rich people supply politicians with big donations. The taxes loopholes for the rich needs to be taken away to increase the funding of social security, medicare, and medicaid for the elderly and needy.
  • _gummibear_ 2011/08/18 22:09:44
    No-brainer
    _gummibear_
    +1
    Of course we need to tax the rich. I still don't understand why it hasn't been done already.
  • Avenged7 2011/08/18 21:59:41
    No-brainer
    Avenged7
    +1
    Yea for Buffett! The income tax has always been a progressive tax. In other words the higher income you made the higher % you paid.This worked very well for years. The rich were very well off, and we had a very healthy middle class. Since Reagan, this country has been lowering the % of what the wealthy pay for income tax, and the country is suffering, with a declining middle class, an enlarging poverty class, and the spread of income between the middle class, and the wealthy has become larger and larger. While the wealthy's income has gone up astronomically, and the middle classes income lower than in 1980, adjusted for inflation.

    Something is wrong in this country when we use to have the greatest middle class in the world, and we had a great infrastructure. Now other countries middle classes have passed us up, and our infrastructure is in third world class. The greed of the right wing is shameful!!!
  • mimi 2011/08/18 21:20:57
    No-brainer
    mimi
    +1
    It's the large corporations that hide the most money, tax them & stop cutting back on healthcare & such that the poorer people need.
  • SKYKING 2011/08/18 20:15:03
    No need
    SKYKING
    +3
    Any money that the goverment gets they use to oppress us. Cut their money off.
  • Coralchristie 2011/08/18 15:30:46
    No need
    Coralchristie
    +1
    "No-brainer" answers mean you are a leach or brain-dead. Buffet doesn't have anything that is classified as income so of course he doesn't pay much. On the other hand... increased taxation stifles the entrepreneurial spirit and is a penalty for being successful. It is also a means to compel people to do what the government wants them to do not what they want to do with their money. I'd make a bet that most people who want to increase the taxes on the rich are under 40 years and have grown up with the "social justice" rational that demands the government fund their "equality" with other peoples' money.
  • TorturedSoul4Life 2011/08/18 15:14:32
    No-brainer
    TorturedSoul4Life
    Its not like its going to break their households or lessen their quality of life!
  • John 2011/08/18 13:22:04
    No-brainer
    John
    You have got to be kidding! Everyone is supposed to suffer together except these guys and big corporations? Wrong on so many levels! What is the price tag for a congress and senate? 100 million? 200 million? Cheap considering the billions it allows these guys to keep. And remember, they get that money from us.
  • Joe 2011/08/18 08:51:21
    No-brainer
    Joe
    I'd rather see a flat tax but that is doubtful, but if Warren Buffett supports it...do it
  • Ian 2011/08/18 06:30:00
    No need
    Ian
    We have to have a fair way to tax people, i own a business.
    If i work hard and make it a real succes, i will be taxed up to the hilt, this then is no incentive.
    Take Sir Philip Green deliberately tried to avoid paying hundreds of millions of pounds of UK tax by channelling £1.2 billion worth of funds from his Arcadia retail empire into an offshore vehicle registered to his wife in Monaco, this is wrong.
    We also have to remember that people who run a business, usually employ people, if they get taxed to much, they will leave people go, that person will be out of work and get benefits, and who pays for that.
    Most people do or cant run a business in a proper way, i have been lucky with one of the directors,yes pay taxes, but you cant say tax the rich up to the hilt, when i set my business up, i went 6/7 months without a wage, i put all into my business.
    It has now won a major contract, but people do notisee how iworked all those months without a wage coming in.
    Most of these people who say tax the rich, have never tried to run a business, if they did try they would give up because of the stress and hard work.
    I know so called poor people who go abroad every year,he is out of work she is working he is getting cash in hand, and yet someone on a low wage does not go abroad, and he ...



    We have to have a fair way to tax people, i own a business.
    If i work hard and make it a real succes, i will be taxed up to the hilt, this then is no incentive.
    Take Sir Philip Green deliberately tried to avoid paying hundreds of millions of pounds of UK tax by channelling £1.2 billion worth of funds from his Arcadia retail empire into an offshore vehicle registered to his wife in Monaco, this is wrong.
    We also have to remember that people who run a business, usually employ people, if they get taxed to much, they will leave people go, that person will be out of work and get benefits, and who pays for that.
    Most people do or cant run a business in a proper way, i have been lucky with one of the directors,yes pay taxes, but you cant say tax the rich up to the hilt, when i set my business up, i went 6/7 months without a wage, i put all into my business.
    It has now won a major contract, but people do notisee how iworked all those months without a wage coming in.
    Most of these people who say tax the rich, have never tried to run a business, if they did try they would give up because of the stress and hard work.
    I know so called poor people who go abroad every year,he is out of work she is working he is getting cash in hand, and yet someone on a low wage does not go abroad, and he is the one paying taxes, thats unfair.
    How about looking for these people who have been claiming benfit for years and there is nothing wrong with them, and yes the vast majority of them can work, one bloke who is claiming for his bad back, run the London marathon.
    And before any of you say, there is no work.These blood sucking low life were not able to find work in the boom.
    A fair tax for all, from the poor to the super rich.
    How about getting rid wepons of war, we spend more on trying to kill our each other than saving each other.
    (more)
  • John Ian 2011/08/18 13:47:02
    John
    +2
    Are you clearing $250,000 a year? My wife and I are running a small start-up business and I know how tough that can be. Sure taxes are a part of it, but so is rent, electric, stock, etc. These are all a part of it. The problem is not with small businesses. It is with the super corporations that hide income, screw their employees and do everything they can, including paying politicians, to accumulate wealth to an obscene level.
  • APLWONK 2011/08/18 04:09:47
    No-brainer
    APLWONK
    +1
    He is correct! Now, if those greedy Republicans would only see the logic in this and make it happen. Right now a millionaire pays less (percentage wise) than a middle class citizen. That is not right!

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