August 29, 2011
NYC Letter: Soak The CHOPE IV -- Warren Buffett
Day 951 of CHOPE
It’s time to be patriotic, Kate. Time to jump in. Time to be part of the deal. Time to help America get out of the rut.
Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.
STOP CODDLING THE SUPER-RICH
by Warren Buffett
OP-ED August 14, 2011 (NYT) - Our leaders have asked for "shared sacrifice." But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.
While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks.
... 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.
... But 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. And for those who make $10 million or more — there were 8,274 in 2009 — I would suggest an additional increase in rate.
My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.
Wait a minute.
August 29, 2011 (NYPost) - This one’s truly, uh ... rich: Billionaire Warren Buffett says folks like him should have to pay more taxes -- but it turns out his firm, Berkshire Hathaway, hasn’t paid what it’s already owed for years. That’s right: As Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson notes, the company openly admits that it owes back taxes since as long ago as 2002.
"We anticipate that we will resolve all adjustments proposed by the US Internal Revenue Service ("IRS") for the 2002 through 2004 tax years ... within the next 12 months," the firm’s annual report says.
It also cites outstanding tax issues for 2005 through 2009.
Obvious question: If Buffett really thinks he and his "mega-rich friends" should pay higher taxes, why doesn’t his firm fork over what it already owes under current rates?
Likely answer: He cares more about shilling for President Obama -- who’s practically made socking "millionaires and billionaires" his re-election theme song -- than about kicking in more himself.
Mr. Buffett doesn't believe Mr. Obama's "millionaires and billionaires" rhetoric. And Mr. Buffett doesn't show a lot of confidence in Mr. Obama. Yet he remains Mr. Obama's steadfast shill.
We are not rich. Mr. Buffet is. We are against raising taxes. Mr. Buffett isn't. Why the topsy-turvy? Because, dear government honeypot, when taxes are raised to increase revenues, those revenues do not go toward paying down debt. They do not shore up fiscal prudence. They are spent before they are collected and used to leverage yet more spending. The government collected over $2T in revenue last year, almost 15% of GDP. Yet it ran a deficit of $1.3T (60% beyond what it collected) for a whopping combined 24% of GDP.
We do not advocate for the rich. They do not need our advocacy. Our brief is simple. If government raises new revenues it will create new spending. That this government can't scrape by on $2.2T in annual revenue is a ludicrous proposition. $2.2T is aplenty. If it's not enough, then the government needs to shed itself of the overage, not come begging for more.
To raise taxes on the rich is the Democrat wedge to raise taxes generally. With the rich taxed to the Democrats' satisfaction, the Democrats simply turn their "fair share" argument around: The rich are sacrificing, are paying their fair share, now it's time for all Americans to contribute more, to sacrifice.
We would ask Mr. Buffett to spare us his and his friends' phony breast-beating. If they feel a moral imperative to give the government more money, they have always been free to do so. And they know it.
Phony as a $3 bill.Posted by Damian at August 29, 2011 11:45 PM