Mega-billionaire Warren Buffett keeps saying mega-billionaire Warren Buffett should pay more in taxes. He has said it several times already, and said it again to Christiane Amanpour on ABC's This Week - "People at the high end, people like myself, should be paying more taxes” intoned Buffett. Here's a video of Buffett's comments:
I want to take Mr. Buffett at his word, but...if mega-billionaire Warren Buffett believes mega-billionaire Warren Buffett should pay more in taxes...then, WHY HASN'T HE ??? There's nothing stopping Mr. Buffett from writing a $10 billion check to Uncle Sam. I'm sure the federal government would appreciate the money. The Treasury Dept. might even send Mr. Buffett an American flag lapel pin as a token of it's appreciation for Buffet's largesse.
Back in february, President Obama also endorsed a tax on Warren Buffet. When Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) asked Obama, "Mr. President, will you consider supporting across-the-board tax relief, as President Kennedy did?", Obama replied "What you may consider across-the-board tax cuts could be, for example, greater tax cuts for people who are making a billion dollars. I may not agree to a tax cut for Warren Buffett."
If Obama agrees Warren Buffett should be taxed more, and Buffett agrees Buffett should be taxed more...alright already. The Republicans should get out of the way and we should pass the Warren Buffett Tax to grab $10 billion or so of his money, though it would be more cost effective and constitutional if Buffett just put his money where his mouth is and handed over the dough. For the life of me, I can't think what is stopping him, if Buffett really means what he is saying.
But facts, as they say, are stubborn things, and the facts are...Warren Buffett uses strategies to AVOID paying more in taxes. As Forbes points out:
How does Buffett manage to exploit the tax code? He donates appreciated Berkshire Hathaway stock — which costs him pennies on the dollar — to charity, and receives a fat, juicy tax deduction at the appreciated price without having to pay a capital gains tax on the appreciation. (And, note that the money actually sits in his own charitable organization.) He’s saving income taxes with the ordinary deduction so it’s essentially a tax shelter.
He builds up his massive net worth and doesn’t have to sell stock while deferring capital gains. When he does take a capital gain, it’s at a 15% rate, and he lives in a low-tax state.
Buffett's words don't match his actions. Maybe he's feeling guilty in his golden years that he has chased every last dollar for his entire life. I don't know. I'm not going to try to psychoanalyze him.
Maybe Warren Buffett wants ALL the billionaires to pay more in taxes. When Pence asked Obama about across-the-board tax cuts, Obama answered as if Pence had asked, 'Mr. President, will you join Republicans in endorsing tax relief for billionaires ?', even though that was not the question Pence asked, and even though we aren't having any discussions about increasing taxes only on billionaires. The sticking point on the expiring Bush tax cuts is over whether to renew them for those making $250K and above. Making $250K in a year is a far cry from being a mega-billionaire like Warren Buffett with a net worth of $50 billion or so. Yet, there is no recognition of the difference. In fact, we aren't even talking about taxing people based upon their wealth. We're talking about taxing them based upon their income. Wealth and income are often two vastly different things. If Warren Buffett makes zero dollars this year, and I make $250K, Buffett will still be vastly wealthier than me, yet I'll be the one paying the taxes. Go figure.
Why hasn't someone proposed the Billionaire Tax ? Probably because there aren't that many billionaires TO tax. According to Wikipedia, there are about 400 billionaires in the United States. If we confiscated ALL their money, it wouldn't really make that much of a difference, not to mention it would make us Marxists.
The other queer thing about Warren Buffett calling for higher income taxes for the wealthy like himself is...if the Bush tax cuts for the "rich" raised the marginal income tax rate from 35% to 39.6%, it would barely affect Buffett. He makes his money via investments, and would still pay the capital gains tax rate of 15%. There is no progressive capital gains tax rate structure, as there is with income taxes. If one makes a fifty thousand bucks via capital gains, one pays 15%. If one make a billion bucks via capital gains, one still pays 15%.
Being a person who doesn't believe in Marxism or forcible income confiscation, I have a suggestion. I'd like to hear a clarion call from President Obama to all the filthy rich folks in this country, especially to the rich liberals. I want the President to ask the rich liberals to VOLUNTARILY fork over as much as they can to help the country during it's time of fiscal need. I want the President to ask the people like Warren Buffett to put their money where their mouthes are. All you rich Hollywood celebs and limousine liberals who supported this President, now is your chance to step up to the plate and show us you meant what you said. THIS is the change you can believe in...Sell your Beverly Hills mansions, give the proceeds to the federal government, and then move into 3-br condos in Anaheim. To paraphrase VP Joe Biden, now's the time to step up and be part of the deal. You want to be left-wingers ? This is what it means. It means you give up YOUR wealth, not someone else's. Remember, rich greedy liberals, charity begins at home.
The rest of us will really appreciate it. Thank you so very much, and don't even start to tell me about how hard you worked for your money. As left-wingers, you don't care about any of that stuff. You only care about everyone else having the same things you worked so hard for. Just hand over your wealth, like a good left-winger should.
Alternately, you rich left-wingers can shut the hell up, and realize how fortunate you are to live in this great country, which is supposed to be based upon liberty, not forcible government theft. Your choice. There's a reason America has more of the world's billionaires than any other country. See if you can figure out why. Here's a hint - it has something to do with OPPORTUNITY, the very opportunity the left is hell-bent on "progressively" taking away.
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