With the US Tea Party’s face set dead against tax rises for the wealthy, the extremely rich Warren Buffett’s call for the rich to pay more tax will definitely ruffle a few feathers.
He said that the rich had been protected “much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species.”
In a New York Times opinion piece the billionaire head of Berkshire Hathaway said that it was about time that US lawmakers stopped looking after the rich. "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," Wrote the 80-year-old ‘Oracle of Omaha’, whose personal fortune Forbes estimates at about Â£30 billion ($50billion).
Mr Buffett, who has given tens of billions of dollars to charity, was extremely candid about his tax affairs and said that while he paid $6,938,744 in tax last year it was only 17.4% of his taxable income whilst other people in his office paid between 33% and 41% with the average at 36%.
He said that Americans were ‘rapidly losing faith’ with Congress’s ability to deal with the current economic problems and that higher taxes for the rich would not hurt 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 wrote "People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off."
He would like to see the new congressional ‘super-committee’ tasked with finding savings push the tax rate up for those earning over $1 million a year as well as increasing their equivalent of capital gains tax.
He also pointed out that when taxes had been higher in the two decades of 1980 to 2000 nearly 40 million jobs had been created so putting that potential obstacle to bed.
What a difference to finding a ‘have’ telling the ‘have-nots’ that the ‘haves’ should contribute some more. Most, if not all, of the others keep harping on about moving to a lower tax country if we should dare contemplate them paying more into the general coffers. Maybe Buffett’s words will give the coalition the gumption to re-look at their proposals to lower the 50% tax rate.
It seems that turkeys can vote for Christmas then! Well, as long as the oven’s not too hot and the turkey comes out alive with just a mild sweat on and only missing a few singed feathers.