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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Top Opinion

  • Fef 2011/08/15 20:01:51
    No need
    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.

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  • Don 2011/08/15 17:32:00
    No need
    What's his hold-up?
    Go ahead and give more of his money if he wants to. But other rich folks feel they give enough.
    You want jobs or not?

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