Warren Buffett Reveals Truth About the Super Rich

There are not many billionaires who would say, "Please tax me higher," but then there are not many people like Warren Buffett. Today, Buffett screamed at the world (via the New York Times), "Tax me, please!" And most people -- minus many of the lawmakers who make the decisions -- seem to agree.

Buffett, of Nebraska, is the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Inc., and in his opinion piece, he said any attempt to close the US deficit gap should include tax increases for the rich as well as spending cuts.

It's hardly a revolutionary concept. Why on Earth the super rich should be taxed at a lower rate than the barely-scraping-by is a mystery to most, but there it is. And only one realistic presidential candidate for the 2012 election agrees with him. In Buffett's words:

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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 ... 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.

He is so, so right. For some reason, in our aspirational society, everyone seems to think they will get to Buffett's level (they won't), and they have allowed these tax cuts to continue without becoming irate. Consider this:

Only 236,883 households in the US made more than $1 million in 2009. In 2009, we had a population of 305 million. So, the likelihood is, "super rich" doesn't mean most. Buffett would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million and on any dividends and capital gains they make from their invested money, which is the way most wealthy people make their money anyway -- through investments. "And for those who make $10 million or more -- there were 8,274 in 2009 -- I would suggest an additional increase in rate," Buffett says.

It's genius. It's simple. It will not hurt them, at least not in the same way it hurts the people at the bottom. And yet, for some reason, those in power think it's wrong, that it will stop the wealthy from investing.

It's a lie. Buffett says this clearly in the piece and logic agrees. No one would be so dumb to stop investing just because their capital gains were heavily taxed. Obama agrees with Buffett. The Republican candidates don't. If Buffett refuses to run (why??), then my vote is with the guy who agrees with him.

It's a no-brainer, really. Do you want the candidate who supports your economic interests? Or the one who supports the people you will never be and likely don't even know?

What do you think of Buffett?

 

 

Image via Medill DC/Flickr

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