Warren Buffett‘s latest New York Times op-ed is about the absurdity of billionaires paying a high-teens percentage in federal income tax while the middle class shoulders a 30-some odd percent burden each year. He is amazed at the lengths Congress will go to protect he and his ilk…
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. Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as “carried interest,” thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they’d been long-term investors.
These and other blessings are showered upon us by legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species. It’s nice to have friends in high places.
Buffett is not calling for an across the board tax hike, contrary what the kneejerk all-taxes-are-always-bad-all-the-time crowd will tell you. Rather, he is looking for a bit of pragmatism as the nation seeks to get its fiscal shit together. Buffett supports the 2-percentage point reduction in employee payroll tax contribution and would leave income tax rates unchanged for 99.7% of payers.
Jeff Carter’s counter-argument that “fair” isn’t an economic term and that Buffett is being a bit disingenuous about the way his corporation and personal wealth are structured: