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  • The Truth about Billionaire Warren Buffett's Tax Hike Pleas

    Billionaire investor Warren Buffett has a special request for the U.S. government: He wants to be taxed more, he writes in today’s New York Times. The trouble is, he leaves out some very important facts—while feeding into President Barack Obama’s calls for higher taxes.

    “Our leaders have asked for ‘shared sacrifice,’” he proclaims. “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.”

    “Shared sacrifice” is a well-worn catchphrase peppering President Obama’s remarks dating back to 2009, and it has become the the rhetorical centerpiece of his messaging throughout the debt ceiling debate. What does it mean? “Higher taxes”—so the President can continue his policies of higher spending, his favorite tool for trying to fix the economy.

    Like a kid asking his parents for another spanking, billionaire Warren Buffett–a friend and donor to Obama–wants to be part of that shared sacrifice. And to make his point, he happily discloses intimate details of his tax bill (and compares it to those in his office, too.)

    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.

    “My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress,” Buffett says. “It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.” President Obama is happy to oblige, and he is already weaving Buffett’s supplication into his stump speech. “[Buffett] said we’ve got to stop coddling billionaires like me,” Obama remarked at a townhall in rural Minnesota today. “He pointed out that he pays a lower tax rate than anybody in his office, including the secretary.”

    The trouble with this Obama–Buffett tax hike collusion, though, is all the pieces that are left out of the puzzle. First of all, the billionaire is paying more in taxes than he would lead you to believe. Dan Mitchell explains:

    When Buffett receives dividends and capital gains, it is true that he pays “only” 15 percent of that money on his tax return. But dividends and capital gains are both forms of double taxation. So if he wants honest effective tax rate numbers, he needs to show the 35 percent corporate tax rate.

    Moreover, as I noted in a previous post, Buffett completely ignores the impact of the death tax, which will result in the federal government seizing 45 percent of his assets. To be sure, Buffett may be engaging in clever tax planning, so it is hard to know the impact on his effective tax rate, but it will be significant.

    Mitchell also points out that Buffett “completely ignores the impact of the death tax, which results in the federal government seizing 45 percent of his assets,” and “mischaracterizes the impact of the Social Security payroll tax, which is dedicated for a specific purpose.”

    But apart from 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 that taxation plays in investment decisions.

    Buffett bizarrely downplays the role of taxation plays in investment decisions, arguing taxes have no impact on investing. We’ll take Buffett at his word that he doesn’t consider the tax implications for his investments (even though it is well documented in several books that he does consider them – one of the major tenets of the value investing practice Buffett follows is to hold equities as long as possible to minimize the impact of taxes and therefore maximize internal returns), but the rest of the investing world is solely concerned with after-tax returns to their investments. Tax rates including the capital gains rate, dividends rate, corporate income tax rate, and individual tax rate are major determinants of after-tax returns.

    Then there’s the fact that a shortage of tax revenue isn’t even the root of Washington’s problem–too much spending is. While revenue will surpass its historical average of 18.0 percent of GDP once economic growth returns, spending is already 25 percent above its historical average and will remain there permanently if President Obama and his big government allies have their way.

    A billionaire calling for more taxes might make great political theater, but there’s more to the story than Buffett—and Obama—would have you believe.

    Posted in Featured [slideshow_deploy]

    88 Responses to The Truth about Billionaire Warren Buffett's Tax Hike Pleas

    1. Kathy Sloane says:

      Yes, and as philanthropic as he is (unlike most of his democratic peers)… he's able to offset a BUNCH with his generosity…..

      • theophill Moore says:

        If sincere, is he not asking us to tax his estate instead of his income? He already has his pile. Is he really willing to share that pile with government. No. He already has his so he wants to close the door on anyone ever catching up with him.

    2. Pat says:

      I would think that the other thing that is missing from Buffett's comments would be the impact on foreign investors in our economy as well as his fellow millionaires and billionaires who don't share his desire to pay more taxes. What is Buffett's strategy, raise the capital gains rates? Doesn't that also have an impact on non-millionaires and billionaires? Would he just raise the capital gains rates on people who start with $X million in assets? Again, wouldn't that drive away foreign money from our economy?

      I recommend that if Mr. Buffett wants to start a campaign, it should be a campaign to get other millionaires and billionaires to join with him in sending checks to the government to pay down the debt. If he thinks the government does a great job spending his money, he is free to give the government more of it. He doesn't need to drag everyone else with him. Why is it that so many do-gooders don't want to do their good voluntarily on their own, but want government to force everyone to do the "good" that the do-gooder wants done?

      • Bob in Omaha says:

        It used to be that millionaires and billionaires did things like fund the arts, endow chairs at universities, build libraries and hospitals. What is the point of aspiring to wealth if you cannot fund the things you believe because the government has "sucked all the oxygen out of the room." I have seen the way the government spends money and what it spends it on. I am not impressed.

    3. Joey says:

      But what reason would he have to mislead us?

      • Slick says:

        Because he CAN!!!!! After all, he is Warren Buffett, the guru of finance!!!! And did you notice that NO ONE was on hand to ask any of these questions so he is able to state what he wants to without having to answer any hard questions!

      • Chriss says:

        The only reason they need to mislead us is to exploit their political ideology. Why don't they just give more money to the poor people directly and bypass the middle man if they want to help society. They could go to Chicago and Arizona or other poor areas of the country.

    4. I'd be willing to bet my house that Warren Buffett will NOT pay anything like 45% 'death tax'. It doesn't take much clever planning to avoid most, if not ALL of that under the current tax code.

      Who, exactly, of any political affiliation, honestly has the nerve to sponsor Social Security or Medicare reform legislation? Nobody, right?

      Foolish article with misguided criticism and spurious arguments.

      • Guinnessman says:

        Most if the money be hidden inside his foundation that will be run by his family for generations tax free and protected by the government.

    5. Dear Mr. Buffett: The Treasury accepts checks. Perhaps you should set an example for your rich friends.

        • HelpTheUS says:

          I agree. Let him and the others millionaires/billionaires give their campaign contributions to the Treasury to help offset the deficit (they do give to both parties; they aren't as stupid as is suggested). At least it's a start. Maybe then S&P will give us back the AAA rating! *chuckle*

      • guest says:

        I agree. You get dems all the time saying raise my taxes but you don't see them writing extra checks and sending them to Washington. Is anyone buying this load of dung ? It is just to make you think repubs don't want to tax the rich…Obama said several times " I can afford to pay more" Well write the check Obama.

    6. Bobbie says:

      why do the Buffet billionaires need all this exploitation for government to increase taxes in order for the billionaires to pay more? it's cover and a corrupt way when government spending intrusively impedes on expenses related to personal responsibilities where no money or programs are necessary to increase but actually eliminate. Kerry and his clan, Buffet billionaires, along with Gates green gardens. "Green" money that is. Rows and rows. Hey billionaire boys, it'll be the trickle down effect after they get your money!!!!! although there is sneaky suspicion you guys are just playing a part!! can't imagine the president taking the select few parts players, (kerry, buffet, gates etc.) THEIR MONEY!!!

      …all behind one world government!

    7. Tracy Thorleifson says:

      It would be interesting to see a combined analysis showing what Buffet's corporations actually paid in taxes; many corporations don't pay the full 35% rate. In any event, I think a better way to eliminate double taxation would be to eliminate the corporate income tax altogether (at least for domestic companies). Tax dividends, capital gains (and interest) at the same rates as ordinary income, instead. Thus all forms of income are treated equally, and double taxation is eliminated.

    8. Marine wife says:

      I'll be glad for him to pay everyone's taxes for the next 10 years!

    9. E bennett says:

      Idiots! This site is written by idiots.

    10. LowOnProzac says:

      Buffett has spent his life shielding his investments from taxes. His method of identifying excellent companies, buying their stock and avoiding selling it, has allowed him to build his fortune without paying capital gains taxes. He also immediately suspends the taxable dividend payments of companies when he gains control. He’s a brilliant investor and a first class hypocrite. He’s obviously trying to curry favor with the progressive/left power base. His income is miniscule compared to his wealth, and therefore he has nothing to worry about as far as income tax is concerned. If the progressive/left ever purposes a WEALTH tax, then you’ll get to see how Buffett REALLY feels about taxes.

      • Guinnessman says:

        Also he uses government money in the form of high speed rails to fix the tracks for his number one investment Burlington northern.

        • Bob in Omaha says:

          So do all the Class-1 railroads. Given the hyper-regulation, it would be impossible to operate without it. In the meantime you could pull the plug on the 80% of Amtrak that routinely losses money for EVERY passenger that boards it. No commercial entity could survive like that.

    11. @RagingGreek says:

      Just curious. Who is stopping Bufffet from paying…say…100% in taxes? Call Ole' Warren and tell him to cut a check.

    12. Navy Vet says:

      This is bogus. Look at the money people. Look at the income distribution. Oh the poor execs! Don't let the ones who keep you down monetarily keep you brainwashed too. It really is simple. Nobody needs that much money.

      • King of Battle says:

        Who are you to decide who needs how much? Typical navy man, liberal.

      • Slick says:

        This has absolutely nothing to do with NEED!!!! If you work hard and your goal is to make lots of money you should be able to do so without SOMEONE ELSE deciding how that money should be redistributed to the "less fortunate!" That is the main difference between conservatives and progressives: we believe that whether you succeed monetarily should rest with you and the work you do to earn it!!!! Is it YOUR job to decide when someone who works hard makes more money than "they need" and therefore you are justified in removing their wealth that THEY earned from them??????

        Thank you for your service to our country. It sounds to me that you are a bitter person who resents the h*ll out of anyone being successful and having the financial wherewithal to expand their business. Sir or madam, if you don't like and appreciate the free enterprise system, you are more than welcome to move to a country that does NOT operate under that principle because I am rather partial to our way of doing business in THIS country! This is the only country in the world where you can succeed or fail on your own merit, and by doing so you determine your future. God bless America and the free enterprise system!

      • carnot says:

        right on! so they should give it to you…because it's only "fair"!

      • Fair and Balanced says:

        Wow, sorry you've met so much negativity – I agree with you, and so would anyone who looks at the distribution. Actually, it is about need, we're just so spoiled and worried that someone is going to "freeload" that we forget just how fortunate we are to be successful. Fortunate, not deserving. Warren Buffet and all his brilliance can (or could have at any point) been in a car accident, not met and/or attracted exactly the right people, made one wrong investment, and he wouldn't be where he is today. While none of us are Warren Buffet, we should all be thankful for what we have and not begrudge those that are less fortunate for needing help. Even in the great USA, we're all one set of unfortunate events from being a "freeloader." Just a thought…

      • And you get to decide JUST how much money people get to make? Tell THAT to the minority NBA basketball players so they avoid a lockout and I can watch my Lakers play this season. ;) Ok? Tell them that NO ONE needs THAT much money. ;) Thanks I appreciate it.

      • guest says:

        They hire a lot of people for jobs. They give an enormous amount of money to charity. They earned it. Let them spend it and not the government take it and waste it.

    13. Marc says:

      This says it all~ "Then there’s the fact that a shortage of tax revenue isn’t even the root of Washington’s problem—too much spending is. "

    14. Jeff, Illinois says:

      This article tries to turn itself into a pretzel to make Obama and Buffet look bad . .

      How about taking it at face-value that Buffet came forward with these pronouncements . . !!

      • Slick says:

        Dear Jeffie . . . . if Warren Buffett speaks the truth, and he is indeed a devout capitalist, why then aren't the other 8,000+ "oober rich" all forming a club to get rid of the national debt!!! And if they don't want to do it voluntarily, then we should just pass laws to MAKE them do it . . . . because we can!!!

        After all, we ALL know that they are successful because they have ruthlessly clawed their way to the top of the heap, they now have more money than they need, they just work and invest for the fun of it, and it is THEIR moral obligation to take care of all the problems for every mediocre citizen of this country. IS THAT WHAT YOU REALLY THINK??? So why aren't the privileged class, the top 1%, willing to put their collective money where Warren Buffett's mouth is!!! Think about that idea for a while!!!!

    15. Marilyn Konfino says:

      Never take political theater at face value….there is always a Pandora's Box of undisclosed information….

    16. A billionaire calling for more taxes might make great political theater, but there’s more to the story than Buffett—and Obama—would have you believe.

      • carnot says:

        bingo!

        this is all stage setting for what we know is to come: greater transfers to the State to sustain what Obama has accelerated.

    17. Rosy Rivetsky says:

      What you don't get is that, for him and his super rich buddies, the amount of taxes they pay is NOT a deciding factor when making investments. They're swimming in so much money, that it doesn't matter. For him and his buddies, they ask themselves if a particular venture is a good investment, not whether or not they'll have to pay more taxes if they make more money.

    18. marie says:

      So, if Mr. Buffett feels he ISN'T paying His fair SHARE of tax. He can always submit extra there is no law stating that he CAN'T do so. Mr. Buffett go ahead and PAY what you think you should be paying, and when you have done so please show me the caneled check. Stop your belley aching and be the good america your demanding of others!!

    19. cathman says:

      Mr Buffett you are welcome to pay 10 Billion dollars now and ask your friend Gates to also pitch in 10 billion dollars too. Thanks for your service to our nation

      • 1ConservativeUSA says:

        Like Mark Levin said on his show last night, if Buffet sends his voluntary tax in first, Congress could then agree to the 10-1 government spending cuts to tax increases "balanced approach". Buffet sends in $20 billion, Congress cuts $200 billion!

        Open the deal up to Obama, Tom Hanks, Bill Gates' father and any other statist who believes "taxing the rich" will solve the real problem of profligate government spending.

    20. son0fhobs says:

      Mike Brownfield, how much do you make? Why do I get the feeling it's over 1m?

      Of course there's *always* more to any story. Buffett is hitting the cold hard truth, and against his own favor. If you want to find details to reinterpret the facts, well, that's just politics. He makes a solid case one way or another. I'm not sure why you'd try to undermine his reasoning, unless you're in that tax bracket.

      But then again, being controversial makes for good publicity in journalism, right?

      • Bobbie says:

        this is just an invite to destroy the American dream. The only reason government wants more money is to gain more control. Start at the top and trickle their way down. We'd rather not be controlled by government. It isn't the American way. My family and I rather appreciate freedom even if we're not rich. We rather appreciate our duty in taking care of ourselves and have our own resources of family and friends to help if needed. We'd like to get ahead but haven't been able to for quite some time because of all costs including unfair tax increases and costs of government with no increase to our income. It's hard to give up basic necessities! we're not being governed freely but forcibly. We're Americans and when the government interferes to disrespect the success of peoples' American Dream, freedom and independence is threatened! The only "rich" speaking out in favor of obama are the rich obama will be protecting…

    21. bill says:

      I make 75,000 a year and my tax rate is about 17 percent. I personally think he is lying or stating his employees tax rates before deductions. My pre deduction tax rate is around 33 percent. Looks impressive in the news till someone actually researches the claim

    22. bitterweed says:

      There is a revenue source that I've seldom if ever hear mentioned..and it would affect the wealthy, and the special interest groups..

      Last time I looked, it would bring in the neighborhood of a TRILLION $$ into the treasury..REMOVE the TAX FREE status of all of the tax free entities..No more hiding $$ in foundations..No more 'special interest' 503's to fund politicians, etc. TAX them all..TAX churches, tax all charities..You would be absolutely amazed how much some of the folks make who run those outfits..let alone..what they actually spend it on..

    23. Leslie says:

      Mr. Buffett – set an example. Please mail a check for an additional $5 or $10 billion……………………………

    24. mr pflanz says:

      the real problem is the military spending. military spending of the US is higher than the military spending of europe, russia, china, india and japan TOGETHER. do americans really think they can solve the problems they have without even touching military spending??? at the moment the us army has to fight three wars. three!

      most bankrupt countries in history became bankrupt because of their military spending, so did the ussr and now the usa

      • jvs says:

        It's about entitlement spending, not defense spending.

        We fought this budget battle in the 1990's and the progressives/liberals/socialist Democrats and their colleagues in the press couldn't solve the problem of entitlements then and 16 years later they have no clue how to solve the problem of entitlements now. The Dems and mainstream media went into histrionics, flopping around on the ground, razing false claims about cutting the budget and we failed to solve the problem. Dems will claim Clinton balanced the budget, but in reality they used smoke and mirrors to change the way CPI is computed using the results of the Boskin Commission as the basis of their work. When you reduce CPI by almost half you get HUGE savings without changing spending.

        Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid spending is unsustainable. Please read the actuarial reports.

        Stop the ponsi scheme and let me invest or save my money the way I want to.

    25. John L says:

      Mr. Buffet is either intentionally confusing "average" tax rates with "marginal" tax rates, or he is ignorant about the difference between the two — in which case he should just shut up and write a check for a billion or two to Uncle Sam.

      Quoting Mr. Buffet, "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."

      Since the top marginal tax rate (the rate paid on the highest dollar of taxable income) was only 35% for 2010, there is no conceivable way their "average" tax rates (i.e., total taxes paid divided by taxable income) could have been higher than 35%. I wish someone from our "attentive" press would call him on it, but that's just wishful thinking.

      • Ryan says:

        John,

        I'm afraid you have missed something. As he clearly states, he is taking into consideration all payroll taxes which includes the 7.65% social security and medicare withholdings, 7.65% social security and medicare employer matching portion that could have been additional compensation, medicare, federal, and state taxes. If his average employee had about $100,000 in income, his marginal tax bracket would be somewhere in the range of 25% federal, 6% state, and 15.3% social security and medicare, totaling 46.3%. Mr. Buffett is also taking into consideration his payroll taxes, which aren't applicable to wages over a certain amount. So he probably truly does only pay 17% of his income when compared to his employees 40% or so, although some of it has already been taxed at the corporate level already. – A conservative, but truthful CPA.

        • Allen says:

          Can anyone explain how AMT tax plays into this? I thought that if you pay an effective rate of tax under 28%, then the government adds AMT tax to get you up to the 28%. I'm getting hit with about 5% of gross income in AMT charges!!!

    26. mr pflanz says:

      the real problem is the military spending. military spending of the US is higher than the military spending of europe, russia, china, india and japan TOGETHER. do americans really think they can solve the problems they have without even touching military spending??? at the moment the us army has to fight three wars. three!

      • Bobbie says:

        "at the moment the us army has to fight three wars. three!" and you want to cut military spending? Bring the troops home around the world and I'll see your point.

    27. You know, in the beginning of our nation, those who had the most money realized they had an obligation to help FUND the new nation. If Mr. Buffett has truly felt the obligation to help our nation, he can always donate money to the cause. He does not need to do so via taxation. What he is doing his helping his friends with a political agenda, and for me……I'm sick of them all. IF you truly want to aid America, then INVEST in America……help pay our bills, Mr. Buffett, and quit playing a political rhetoric card that just doesn't help anyone.

    28. dam1953 says:

      Mr. Buffet is a hypocrite. He begs to be taxed all the while employing legions of accountants and tax attorneys. For what, may I ask?

      According to open secrets.org, in 2010 Berkshire Hathaway companies spent $9.5 million on lobbying efforts. Apple, by comparison spent less than $2.0 million. Since the vast majority of U.S. legislation is tax related it is a safe bet that much of that money was directed to gain tax and / or competitive advantages in the market.

      Warren's gesture is really focussed on saving his image. His backing of Obama makes investors seriously question his judgement, and that, my friends is very bad for his business.

      • amysmolik says:

        Im sorry I down fingered you on accident..phonies.. you actually coulndt be more correct. Thanks for sticking to facts and not rhetoric.

    29. TurophileInWI says:

      How much corporate welfare does Mr. Buffet take? How about we close corporate loopholes and lower corporate tax rates to 25% or lower? Right now we're getting 0% from GE and other corporations because they're exploiting loopholes. Close the loopholes and they all pay the same.

    30. Bob in Omaha says:

      It is completely erroneous to say that Buffett “completely ignores the impact of the death tax." Nobody, and I mean NOBODY know the impact of the death tax more than Buffett. In that respect he is a vulture. Many of his acquisitions have been a direct result of the devastation wrought by the death tax, and like a vulture he swoops in on the rotting carcass. I don't believe for a moment that his motives are noble in his recent missive. There is more here than meets the eye.

    31. Ian says:

      Buffett the individual is not responsible for paying a corporate tax and since he is living and breathing, no death tax either. At some point, he may be responsible for paying some sort of inheritance tax but so will the secretary. And, since the secretary can not afford a fancy tax lawyer, she will again likely end up paying more than Buffet (as a percent, not raw dollars). The fact remains that 'the rich' are getting breaks that the middle class do not have access to.

    32. Terry Stone says:

      Nothings keeping him and his billionaire friends from writing checks for "fair share" as they see it and mailing it to Washington to satisfy their consciences.

    33. Jim says:

      Warren has said many times that he will leave all his estate to charity. He says his kids can fend for themselves.
      What he doesn't say is that his wife probably left them a tremendous fortune and that they will probably have a prominent role and high compensation from the foundation that is left to run the billions that Warren is leaving behind.

    34. snydrhrry says:

      I agree with the others who suggest that Buffet send a large check to the IRS to make up for the lack of fair taxation on his income. Last time I looked, there is a line on the 1040 for that very purpose. But, sitting there with Obama, he is certainly not going to say he is paying too much in taxes. He has to tout "Shared Sacrifice" and "Balance."

    35. Balanced Budget vs. "Balanced Approach"
      The U.S. needs a BALANCED BUDGET every year and not merely cheap talk from the White House and others about a "balanced approach" and about millionaires and billionaires paying "their fair share".

      Will a "balanced approach" solve our deficit, debt, and spending addictions?

      Our nations' 412 billionaires and 7,800,000 millionaires would each need to pay $197,000 EXTRA, MORE, ADDITIONAL TAXES this year . . . in the White House's idea of a balanced approach . . . to pay for our 2011 deficit of $1.5 million million (trillion) . . . which is all MORE UNAFFORDABLE DEBT.

      Our nations' mere 413 billionaires could certainly each AFFORD $197,300 but that adds up to ONLY $ 81.3 million. So, how about we expect this group to pay 1000 times more each than what we expect from the millionaires? Based on this, these 400+ citizens would now pay 81.3 billion dollars. Each U.S. billionaire would thus pay $197.3 million each . . . which is almost 1/5 of a billion dollars.
      Would YOU be willing to give up 20% of everything you own, not merely of your year's earnings, as your annual taxes? The vast majority of U.S. billionaires are only worth 1 billion and thus 1/5 of a billion is 20% of everything they possess. Perhaps THEY will NOT consider this a "balanced approach" or "their fair share".
      There IS another and much bigger problem.
      The vast majority . . . millions. . . of our nations' millionaires are only "worth" 1 or 2 million dollars. They may be "worth" a million or more dollars on paper but they do NOT have their worth in cash.
      We have a neighbor who inherited only 480 acres of farm land "valued" and taxed as being almost 2 million dollars BUT they "make" a family income of less than $30,000 after working very hard every day all year for very low payments for the produce they grow.
      Each U.S. millionaire would pay $197.3 thousand each . . . which is almost 1/5 of a million dollars.
      Would YOU be willing to give up 20% of everything you own, not merely of your year's earnings, as your annual taxes? The vast majority of U.S. millionaires . . . millions of the 7.8 million . . . are only worth 1 million and thus 1/5 of a million is 20% of everything they possess. Perhaps THEY will NOT consider this a "balanced approach" or "their fair share".

      Those who talk about the solution being a "balanced approach" with higher taxes with millionaires and billionaires paying "their fair share" . . . are lying to all Americans because the math DOES NOT WORK.

    36. americancaptialism says:

      Without capitalism, Mr. Buffett would be just another worker with a government pension.
      Without capitalism, Mr, Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Fund would not exist.
      American Capitalism has almost single-handedly created Philanthropy!
      President Obama is a Liberal (the most kind political term I can find) who is dedicated to destroying philanthropy and capitalism as we know it.
      Mr. Buffet seems to be a late comer to Liberal Guilt.

    37. 3for5spotshooter says:

      when Berkshire lends $600 million to US Gypsum, the money is lent by one of the subsidiary insurance companies.

      Presto chango – USG now makes a loan repayment to an insurance company reserve account.

      There are 2 benefits here. The money payed on the loan is not taxed to USG. It is a loan repayment. therefore USG – and USG stock is owned by Berkshire, pays LESS tax.

      Also the insurance company has complicated actuarial reserve requirements for potential future losses that may or may not materialize while the coffers expand at reduced tax rates..

      So.. for Mr. Buffet to say tax me more.. ignores the fact that he has – smartly in my view – built the empire on corporate tax deferral. Is this a form of "death bed repentance?"

      Meanwhile the US GOVT begs corporations to repatriate overseas profits…

      Fat chance…

    38. allen says:

      After all the People he screwed buying Companies. Mr. Buffet is trying to get his Soul right before he has to aswer to a Higher Source as he gazes into the hole in the ground Can't take it with Him, give it to the Gov." Yeh You Bet."

    39. guest says:

      since many billionaires can contribute to help the economy that obama and his congress have ruined why not contribute to the economy with certain restrictions as they do to all other charities . this should include anyone who wants to contribute as it will be deducted from their income tax. obama stated same but he is a poor charity.giver.
      Buffet like many are talkers not doers. Most people who give to charity etc are the middle class and none brag about ti

    40. EON says:

      We have about 15 million fewer people working since 2007. Put them back to work and you raise over $200 billion in tax revenue. Cut real spending and problem solved, and if Warren wants to write a check to the treasury God Bless him, but don't tread on me.

    41. paul says:

      How does the estate tax factor into his tax burden? He'll be dead. It won't matter to his current tax burden. That's a spurious arguement. And how does his corporate tax burden play a role eiether? Unless he is his own corporation, it shouldn't matter what taxes his corporation pays.

      • Do you have any idea what happens to pay state and federal taxes to cover it. I am NO millionaire and I've gone through this drama from the govt. HIS FAMILY will have to sell off assets to cover the costs, etc. Or are you of the SOCIALIST variety that says ALL your HARD WORK at the time if your DEATH belongs to the government and NOT to the CHILDREN who suffered LESS TIME WITH DAD because he worked 60-70 hour work weeks and they deserve NOTHING for the family sacrifice. *smh* Socialists ate compassionate except when they need to be compassionate. =

    42. Lloyd Scallan says:

      That's all we need to know is Buffet is one of Obama's largest finanial supporters. Any questions?

    43. Betty says:

      I saw this entirely differently than the rest. He is not whining about not paying enough; He could volunteer as Pat Buchanan suggested. I think that since the article said he is a big supporter of Obama's, that he is helping Obama to foment class warfare among the rest of us. Marxism is not about sharing ALL the wealth, its sharing what's left of the wealth AFTER the Elites, like Buffet, take their unfair share. Read up about Buffet having a Nebraska congressman writing in loopholes for him in laws for the rest of us. Just plain disgusting.

    44. Common_Sense says:

      How cute that Mike Brownfield and the rest of the dissenters challenge Warren's stance as if he doesn't know what he's talking about. Oh wise people, please correct a man who has made a living off of managing his money on how he's wrong and doesn't understand what he's really saying. Get a clue. The man has absolutely nothing to benefit by taking this position. The rich sure do have you brainwashed when they can get you to argue against your own best interests. Unless you are a millionaire or billionaire you stand to BENEFIT from what he is proposing.

    45. ColoradoHawkeye says:

      Mr Buffet- if you are so concerned about doing the "right thing" please read the following from the US Treasury website and leave the rest of us alone:

      Gifts to the United States Government
      How do I make a contribution to the U.S. government?

      Citizens who wish to make a general donation to the U.S. government may send contributions to a specific account called "Gifts to the United States." This account was established in 1843 to accept gifts, such as bequests, from individuals wishing to express their patriotism to the United States. Money deposited into this account is for general use by the federal government and can be available for budget needs. These contributions are considered an unconditional gift to the government. Financial gifts can be made by check or money order payable to the United States Treasury and mailed to the address below.

      Gifts to the United States
      U.S. Department of the Treasury
      Credit Accounting Branch
      3700 East-West Highway, Room 622D
      Hyattsville, MD 20782

      Any tax-related questions regarding these contributions should be directed to the Internal Revenue Service at (800) 829-1040.

    46. Stirling says:

      Buffett has now discredited himself. To all those "Billionaires" out there, please stop trying to speak for the rest of America. The IRS will accept YOUR personal donation without requiring the rest of us to do the same. Lastly you are not the same as everyone else since all your Philantropic donations are tax write offs on future taxes.. I have NO guilt about the capitalist system, unlike you and your fellow billionaires who must be beliving the BS being fed to you by the liberal media.

    47. Hal says:

      I think Buffet and his fellow 'Patriot Millionaires' should sign a pledge to, in the future, only file their tax returns using the standard deduction, not any itemized deductions at all.
      Additionally, they should pledge to send a check to the IRS for any amount they feel that they are under-taxed!
      That should put their money where their mouth is! Talk is cheap!

    48. Christopher Cook says:

      Thanks for this article! I hit Buffet from a few other angles (and some similar ones) a couple of days ago:
      http://www.westernfreepress.com/2011/08/15/warren

    49. OligarchyNot says:

      There is too much spending in our government, but its the spending on bailing out investment banks and large corporations, subsidies for corporations and too many corporate tax loopholes. Plus, the Bush tax cuts should have been allowed to expire as they were meant to. But if people expect Obama to create jobs (since the private sector has failed to do so), then that requires government spending, something the republicans almost let our government default on its debts to prevent. The vast majority of Americans are more dependent than ever on programs such as Social Security and Medicare. Thanks to the malfeasance of Wall Street bankers, everyone's 401(k) plans have been steadily losing money or they've had to use their retirement money due to being unemployed (since unemployment compensation won't even cover 50% of the average person's bills). So, many will be left with nothing to get them through old age but social security and medicare. Why should the middle class, who has suffered the most from the recession due to no fault of their own, have to suffer even more just so those who caused the economic collapse (and became enriched by it) don't have to make any sacrifices at all?

    50. JVS says:

      Unfortunately, Warren fails to support the poor in his own community of Omaha Nebraska and surrounding cities. Instead of giving his money to the government why doesn't Warren give the money to the Omaha Public Power District to support those people struggling to pay their electric bills. Many people are having a tough time paying their rent in his area. Where is Warren to help? With his billions he could make a real positive impact on our community, but he would rather position himself for to support a socialist regime. The so called "Wizard" could give his money to me (pro bono) and I could show him how to support thousands of people throughout the midwest and embarass Warren and the Federal government with the good I could do.

      For Warren it's all about power!

    51. ReaganTheRINO says:

      So, if I read this article correctly, the author is making 3 basic claims about Buffet's statements:

      1) Buffet is not being honest about how much tax he pays.
      2) The *actual* tax rate payed by Buffet and other million/billionaires is much higher.
      3) Buffet is insisting that his taxes be raised higher still.

      Tell me again why Buffet is motivated to further weaken his economic standing by pleading to increase the "burden" that he is already being dishonest about?

    52. Greg says:

      Buffet makes the point for supply-side when he says:

      'In 1992, the top 400 had aggregate taxable income of $16.9 billion and paid federal taxes of 29.2 percent on that sum'

      This comes to $4.9348 billion in revenue. Then he states:

      'In 2008, the aggregate income of the highest 400 had soared to $90.9 billion — a staggering $227.4 million on average — but the rate paid had fallen to 21.5 percent. '

      So, if you calculate 21.5% of $90.9 billion, you get $19.5435 in revenue. This means that revenue nearly quadrupled over a 16 year period!!

    53. Lyla says:

      I think the larger thing that is missing, is the effects of this on the middle class, and how if effects Warren Buffets and others investors pocketbooks. Its simple really, the middle class is shrinking, and the employment rate is completely unstable, they create jobs and loose jobs, and there is not enough government spending to actually solidify that job creation…again this goes back to Keynesian. I am lucky in this unstable economy, I have been blessed to not be effected. In fact today I am buying a new luxury car. However, how many people can say that. How many people are willing to go out and even drop 200-300 dollars on something frivolous. This is what he gets out of it. People working, people feeling comfortable to spend their dollars and in the end will make him a lot more money because of his investments. Not only that but the cost of money has about a 4% erosion rate, and the higher value of credit and loans more attractive. Meaning more people are willing to use their credits cards (if they have decent credit) and take out loans…currently the loan offer I am getting is 1.9, so yeah even though I have cash to pay for it, of course I will take the loan option- because its a better way to spend my money. Now the more people that take out loans, the more people that spend 200 bucks on a shirt, the more people that are willing to buy random crap. The more secure the market is.In the short term yes there is a lost, but if you're not a cake eatter, you can get that by spending a little more, can actually make you a heck of a lot of money, while helping others out. Its a win win, but it will only work if they don't touch the lower and middle class rates.

    54. steve says:

      tryed to post comment but this site is worthless the truth is out there for those who want it peace love and compassion on all.too bad you cant inform everyone whats really going on

    55. thericker says:

      so, wait…why do rich people have to pay more taxes?

    56. Neil says:

      What reason would Buffet have to mislead us? !! Well , I'd bet he has strategic investments that will capitalize on a move by the government to tax the wealthy higher lol . That's why. His statements totally fly in the face of his historical investment principals lol . There is a reason.

    57. dapsr1 says:

      this is sad you all should be ashamed

    58. Karen A says:

      Buffett has no intention of paying the death tax as he's passing on a large part of his empire to charitable trusts including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and to each of his children……perhaps he's looking for an Obama Presidential pardon for the billions of back taxes he owes……..

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