Few have the guts to speak the truth

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-25-2006
Few have the guts to speak the truth
Mon, 08-15-2011 - 10:40am

Here's one who does:

Stop coddling the super-rich: Buffett
9:05am EDT

BANGALORE (Reuters) - Billionaire Warren Buffett urged U.S. lawmakers to raise taxes on the country's super-rich to help cut the budget deficit, saying such a move will not hurt investments.

"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," The 80-year-old "Oracle of Omaha" wrote in an opinion article in The New York Times.

Buffett, one of the world's richest men and chairman of conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway Inc , said his federal tax bill last year 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," he said.

Lawmakers engaged in a partisan battle over spending and taxes for more than three months before agreeing on August 2 to raise the $14.3 trillion U.S. debt ceiling, avoiding a U.S. default.

"Americans are rapidly losing faith in the ability of Congress to deal with our country's fiscal problems. Only action that is immediate, real and very substantial will prevent that doubt from morphing into hopelessness," Buffett said.

Buffett said higher taxes for the rich will not discourage investment.

"I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone - not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 - shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain," he said

"People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off."

(Reporting by Santosh Nadgir; Editing by David Holmes)





iVillage Member
Registered: 10-25-2006
Tue, 08-16-2011 - 2:07pm
  • Buffet is less of a hypocrite than Christian right-wingers who feel entitled to keep every penny they earn and pay a lower % taxes than middle class earners when they make their big bucks through corrupt business operations:
  • --exploiting child labor, polluting our environment and then letting us taxpayers pay to clean



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-03-2009
Tue, 08-16-2011 - 2:36pm
I am just wondering how it is that so few spoke up about a "weak and inefficient" government when Dubya was spending merrily, right and left, without bothering to ensure any sort of fiscal balance or sound policy formulation.

Where was the outcry from conservatives then?


iVillage Member
Registered: 08-12-2011
Tue, 08-16-2011 - 3:19pm
  • *** Buffet is less of a hypocrite than Christian right-wingers who feel entitled to keep every penny they earn
  • Heavens!
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-04-2001
Tue, 08-16-2011 - 3:52pm

Can't speak for "Christian right wingers" BUT I do resent

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-14-2011
Tue, 08-16-2011 - 6:09pm

I don't know of any conservatives who defended Bush's spending.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-03-2009
Tue, 08-16-2011 - 10:56pm

To paraphrase what you seem to be saying: No conservatives spoke out against the Bush spending spree, (though apparently the narrative now is that they were "pretty angry"), but


iVillage Member
Registered: 03-02-2009
Wed, 08-17-2011 - 12:03am

So, you have Bush spending too much. Conservatives did not like this, at all. We certainly were not silent about it, and voiced our opinions.

Now, we get stuck with BO. And let's be clear here, there is no comparison to the spending of the two. BO is obliterating what we thought was over spending by Bush.

Oh, and to rub salt in the wound, BO and his wife are living it up, spare no expense, on our dime. Jet setting around the world while they tell us we need to sacrifice.

But, in the eyes of the left, Bush was reckless, but we should be supporting BO, who is trying to save us all by adding trillions and trillions of dollars to the debt.

But he won't rest until all these problems are solved.

"Resist, we much. We must, and we much. About that, be committed."

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-14-2011
Wed, 08-17-2011 - 8:27am

"To paraphrase what you seem to be saying: No conservatives spoke out against the Bush spending spree"

Sorry, but you didn't seem to understand what I said.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-03-2011
Wed, 08-17-2011 - 8:50am
I never did understand the whole idea of people being disillusioned so they don't bother to go out and vote. Seems like a strange reaction when one doesn't like what's going on.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-27-2009
Wed, 08-17-2011 - 10:46am
I so agree. Here's an interesting piece on Buffett and his taxes.

Warren Buffett's Tax Dodge
The billionaire volunteers the middle class for a tax increase

Barney Kilgore, the man who made the Wall Street Journal into a national publication, was once asked why so many rich people favored higher taxes. That's easy, he replied. They already have their money.

That insight is worth recalling amid the latest political duet from President Obama and Warren Buffett demanding higher taxes on "millionaires and billionaires." Mr. Buffett is repeating his now familiar argument this week, coinciding with Mr. Obama's Midwestern road trip on the economy. Since the media are treating Mr. Buffett as a tax oracle, let's take a closer look at some of the billionaire's intellectual tax dodges.

• The double tax oversight. The Berkshire Hathaway magnate makes much of the fact that he paid only 17.4% of his income in taxes, which he considers unfair when salaried workers often pay more. But Mr. Buffett makes most of his income from his investments, in particular from dividends and capital gains that are taxed at a rate of 15%.

What he doesn't say is that much of his income was already taxed once as corporate income, which is assessed at a 35% rate (less deductions). The 15% levy on capital gains and dividends to individuals is thus a double tax that takes the overall tax rate on that corporate income closer to 45%.

This onerous tax on capital is a U.S. competitive disadvantage in the global economy, which is why Congress agreed in 2003 to cut the rates on dividends and capital gains. Even as the rest of the world is cutting tax rates on corporate income, Mr. Buffett wants to raise U.S. rates in a way that would make America less attractive for investment. Under a sensible tax reform, the feds would impose either a corporate tax or a dividend and capital gains tax, but not both.

• The middle-class bait-and-switch. Like Mr. Obama, Mr. Buffett speaks about raising taxes only on the rich. But somehow he ignores that the President's tax increase starts at $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples. Mr. Obama ought to call them "thousandaires," but that probably doesn't poll as well.

The President needs to levy his tax increase at such a lower income level because that's where the money is. In 2009, 237,000 taxpayers reported income above $1 million and they paid $178 billion in taxes. A mere 8,274 filers reported income above $10 million, and they paid only $54 billion in taxes.

But 3.92 million reported income above $200,000 in 2009, and they paid $434 billion in taxes. To put it another way, roughly 90% of the tax filers who would pay more under Mr. Obama's plan aren't millionaires, and 99.99% aren't billionaires.

Mr. Buffett says it's only "fair" to raise his taxes, but he's lending his credibility to raising taxes on millions of middle-class earners for whom a few extra thousand dollars in after-tax income is a big deal. Unlike Mr. Buffett, those middle-class earners aren't rich and may earn $250,000 for only a few years of their working lives. How is that fair?

• The charity loophole. For billionaires like Mr. Buffett, the single most important deduction in the tax code is for charitable giving. Middle-class earners can't give nearly as much money away to reduce their overall tax burden. Yet we don't hear Mr. Buffett calling for the elimination of that deduction in the name of fairness.

Mr. Buffett has also already sheltered the bulk of his fortune from federal taxes by putting them into a foundation that will give the money away. That's an act of generosity, but if the government's purposes are so vital, why doesn't he simply give the money to the IRS?

Rebecca Quick of CNBC put that question to Mr. Buffett in 2007. His answer: "Well, that's a choice and it's an option . . . If I had to give it to a single individual, or make some young Buffett a multibillionaire, or give it to the government, I'd absolutely give it to the government. I think that on balance the Gates Foundation, my daughter's foundation, my two sons' foundations will do a better job with lower administrative costs and better selection of beneficiaries than the government."

Mr. Buffett is no doubt right about the relative efficiency of private donors, but should billionaire philanthropists get such a large tax preference? Another case of fairness?

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.