Monday, August 15, 2011

Warren Buffett Wants Multimillionaires to Pay More Tax

From Buffett's op-ed in today's NY Times:
I would leave rates for 99.7 percent of taxpayers unchanged and continue the current 2-percentage-point reduction in the employee contribution to the payroll tax. This cut helps the poor and the middle class, who need every break they can get.

But for those making more than $1 million — there were 236,883 such households in 2009 — I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including, of course, dividends and capital gains. And for those who make $10 million or more — there were 8,274 in 2009 — I would suggest an additional increase in rate.

My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress.
 Back in the day, the federal government sometimes imposed a surtax when the going got rough. Wouldn't a 10% surtax on millionaires and a 20% surtax on decamillionaires be the simplest way to tax the richest?


Jim Gust said...

Warren is free to give all of his wealth to the USA if he feels patriotic. Instead, he's giving it to the Gates Foundation, eliminating an estimated $20 billion in estate tax collections.

How much revenue will these surtaxes raise? Certainly not even $1 billion. It would take more than 20 years of surtaxes to reverse the injury that Warren himself inflicted on the federal treasury.

You want to tax the rich? Eliminate the charitable deduction once and for all. It has outlived its usefulness. But the charities are doing work the government won't do? Then quit demanding higher taxes, make up your mind.

Jim Gust said...

Your 10% and 20% surtax idea sounds simple, and perhaps appealing, but you know that it will apply at joint income of $250,000, not $1 million. What's more, I guess you'd impose the surtax on the Obamacare taxes that hit investment income next year, as well as the income tax?

One of the huge reasons that Warren's personal tax rate is so low is that he invests in tax-free municipal bonds. What would you do about those? Because, if you leave them tax free the rich will just shift their investment habits. How about, instead of an increase in rates, we simply abolish the tax free status of munis? That would definitely be a new tax on the rich.

Buffett? Buffett? Buffett? Buffett?

Jim Gust said...

I wonder why the NYTimes didn't turn on the comments for Warren's article?