Warren Buffett, one of America’s richest citizens, wrote an op-ed in the New York Times on Monday saying “legislators in Washington” should “stop coddling the super-rich” because his tax bill wasn’t high enough.
Buffett’s op-ed brought comments from all over the political spectrum. William Gale, co-director of the liberal Tax Policy Center, wrote in a column for CNN.com:
“There are, of course, better and worse ways to raise taxes. A general goal would be to broaden the tax base – reduce the use of specialized credits, deductions, loopholes and so on – and minimize the extent to which tax rates need to rise.
“One good place to start? High-income households: Limit the rate at which itemized deductions can occur to 28%. This would affect only households in the highest income ranges, it would not raise their official marginal tax rate, and it would raise $293 billion over the next decade, relative to how much money would be raised according to current law, according to the Congressional Budget Office. This would be a small move in the right direction.”
Politico staff make similar comments about Buffett’s op-ed:
“Buffett suggests raising taxes for anyone with a taxable income of more than $1 million, and an even higher rate for anyone making $10 million or more.
“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,” Buffett wrote.
“His comments come as the 12-member congressional supercommittee will soon begin work to tackle the nation’s deficit and some in Congress, and President Barack Obama, are pushing for the panel to back higher taxes on the wealthy.”
In an Associated Press story posted at Breitbart.com, AP observes, “Buffett, who is chairman and CEO of Omaha-based Berkshire Harthaway, has been calling for higher taxes on the super wealthy for several years, claiming “the tax system has contributed to the growing gap between rich and poor.”
At Big Government, however, Dan Mitchell writes:
“My first instinct is to send Buffett the website where people can voluntarily pay extra money to the federal government. I’ve made this suggestion to guilt-ridden rich people in the past.
“But I no longer give that advice. I’m worried he might actually do it. And even though Buffett is wildly misguided about fiscal policy, I know he will invest his money much more wisely than Barack Obama will spend it.”
Mitchell goes on to explain that Buffett’s “numbers are flawed in two important ways.” First, he writes that Buffett’s numbers do not show “the 35 percent corporate tax rate.” In addition, Mitchell writes that “Buffett completely ignores the impact of the death tax.”
And David Logan writes at the Tax Foundation policy blog:
“Contrary to Mr. Buffett's and President Obama's perceptions, America's wealthiest taxpayers are paying a disproportionate share of the income tax burden. Before we ask the rich to pay more, perhaps we should ask those who are paying nothing to contribute at least something to the basic cost of government.
“Of course, like any American, Mr. Buffett can voluntarily write a check or make an electronic payment to the Treasury to help reduce the deficit by simply clicking here. To be consistent with his message, however, he should resist taking the corresponding charitable donation deduction. This would at least ensure that he still pay those low income taxes of which he so passionately speaks.”
At Hot Air, Allahpundit writes, “Taxing the rich won’t solve everything; it’ll barely help solve anything. It’s part of the Democrats’ list demands chiefly for political reasons, so that they have some sort of class-warfare victory to tout to their base when they bargain with the GOP, not because it’ll contribute anything significant towards closing the gaping deficit. In fact, in the clip below, Buffett actually suggests lowering rates on middle-class taxpayers to offset the hikes on the very rich. But why do that if the goal is to maximize revenue? And if the answer is “because it’ll stimulate growth and that will maximize revenue,” then why not apply that logic to the very rich too?”
Allahpundit also points to the following Twitter comments by Tim Carney at the Washington Examiner:
“As most of the media goes gaga over Billionaire Obama fundraiser Warren Buffett calling for tax hikes, (like he did in 2001, and 2004, and plenty of times in between), let’s remember a few things.
“Buffett Profits from Taxes He Supports
“Buffett regularly lobbies for higher estate taxes. He also has repeatedly bought up family businesses forced to sell because the heirs’ death-tax bill exceeded the business’s liquid assets. He owns life insurance companies that rely on the death tax in order to sell their estate-planning businesses.
“Buffett Profits from Government Spending
“Buffett made about a billion dollars off of the Wall Street bailout by investing in Goldman Sachs on the assumption Uncle Sam would bail it out. He also is planning investments in ethanol giant ADM and government-contracting leviathan General Dynamics.
“If your businesses’ revenue comes from the U.S. Treasury, of course you want more wealth.
And at the Heritage Foundation’s blog, The Foundry, Mike Brownfield writes in concluding his post, “But apart for misstating his tax burden, Buffett fails to call for significant reforms in Social Security and Medicare that could reduce federal spending, and he downplays the role of taxation plays in investment decisions . . . Then there’s the fact that a shortage of tax revenue isn’t even the root of Washington’s problems -- too much spending is.”
The Wall Street Journal concluded an editorial today by writing:
"Mr. Buffett is one of the great stock-pickers of his time, and we don't begrudge him a single dollar of his wealth. We only wish that, having already made himself rich, he weren't so intent on making it harder for others to become rich too. If he's worried about being undertaxed, we'd suggest he simply write a big check to Uncle Sam and go back to his day job of picking investments."
Finally, Investor’s Business Daily editorialzed that “Warren Buffet may have hoped his call for a tax increase on the rich would make him look selfless. Instead, it just made him look like an uninformed hypocrite.”