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in this New York Times op ed

I am somewhat pressed for time because of school responsibilities, so I will not go as thoroughly through the piece as I might otherwise.  But consider his first two paragraphs:  

SUPPOSE that an investor you admire and trust comes to you with an investment idea. “This is a good one,” he says enthusiastically. “I’m in it, and I think you should be, too.”

Would your reply possibly be this? “Well, it all depends on what my tax rate will be on the gain you’re saying we’re going to make. If the taxes are too high, I would rather leave the money in my savings account, earning a quarter of 1 percent.” Only in Grover Norquist’s imagination does such a response exist.

It gets better from there, and remember, the arguments are coming from America's most successful investor EVER, someone fairly universally admired.  Continue below the squiggle for a few highlights.

Buffett talks about periods when taxes on capital gains and top brackets on income were much higher than today, and points out that he was pretty successful.  He never had anyone mention taxes as a reason to forego investment, and

Under those burdensome rates, moreover, both employment and the gross domestic product (a measure of the nation’s economic output) increased at a rapid clip. The middle class and the rich alike gained ground.
He points out how much money the truly wealthy have to invest - the Forbes 400 has $1.7 TRILLION in wealth as of 2009 as compared to $300 billion as recently as 1992.

And consider this -  they have an average income of $202 million while more than 1/4 paid effective tax rates of <15%, half paid <20%.  Some paid NOTHING.    The average rate on Adjusted Gross Income for all 400 is now 19.9%, compared to 23.2% in 1992.

Buffett wants to eliminate the Bush tax cuts completely, although - like incoming Senator Tim Kaine - he prefers a cutoff of $500,000 rather than the President's proposal of $250,000.  He also wants ADDITIONAL taxes of 30% on AGI of $1 - 10 million, and 35% on incomes above that.

His goal is to restore a ratio where the government takes in revenues of 18.5% of GDP while spending is at about 21% of GDP - still in deficit, but

-  far better than current ratio of 15.5% in revenue and 22.4% in spending.    PLEASE NOTE -  this means increasing revenue by almost 20% while decreasing spending by around 6%, a very different ratio than proposed by Simpson-Bowles or any of the other proposals by "serious people" in Washington.  Buffett notes, and this is key,

But assuming even conservative projections about inflation and economic growth, this ratio of revenue to spending will keep America’s debt stable in relation to the country’s economic output.
As for the argument that it is taxes keeping good investment from happening?  Let me allow Buffett his final words:  
In the meantime, maybe you’ll run into someone with a terrific investment idea, who won’t go forward with it because of the tax he would owe when it succeeds. Send him my way. Let me unburden him.
Read the Buffett.

Pass it on.

Especially to your Senators and Congressman.

Originally posted to teacherken on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 01:57 AM PST.

Also republished by ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (143+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sceptical observer, Garbear, jdld, CanisMaximus, newpioneer, matrix, whizdom, AnnieJo, DRo, concernedamerican, Jim R, American in Kathmandu, RUNDOWN, ItsSimpleSimon, Sandino, ThompsonLazyBoy, KenBee, sunny skies, flowerfarmer, leu2500, bepanda, TomP, blue jersey mom, pioneer111, mconvente, arizonablue, annrose, dear occupant, BlueInARedState, Loudoun County Dem, Texknight, mwm341, Andrew F Cockburn, coppercelt, buckstop, Shockwave, caul, NYC Sophia, pamelabrown, MKinTN, bluezen, Miggles, wxorknot, deha, SaintC, Dallasdoc, ssentamu, LSmith, Loose Fur, Rosaura, mcgee85, Joieau, IndieGuy, CwV, bluesheep, avsp, stlsophos, cindiloohoo, kerflooey, CoolOnion, One Pissed Off Liberal, TheLizardKing, RJP9999, myboo, Alice Olson, Sylv, Lawrence, jbob, DixieDishrag, Cronesense, cybersaur, dotsright, My Spin, jw1, nova602, SCFrog, Aureas2, ARS, Sanuk, importer, leevank, S F Hippie, ewmorr, cocinero, Smoh, AnnieR, StateofEuphoria, Eddie L, jfromga, flycaster, RFK Lives, antooo, smartdemmg, thomask, countwebb, ColoTim, immigradvocate, Robynhood too, Trendar, tofumagoo, sawgrass727, walkshills, catly, elwior, koNko, Guadalupe59, GeorgeXVIII, Sun Tzu, wayoutinthestix, davehouck, Andrew C White, Gowrie Gal, tegrat, tidalwave1, JanetT in MD, poliwrangler, cRedd, mikeconwell, Roger Fox, Words In Action, Noodles, dewtx, David PA, inclusiveheart, Flint, LilithGardener, leaf63, doingbusinessas, Mr Robert, Rolfyboy6, a2nite, lcrp, maybeeso in michigan, DirkFunk, shypuffadder, J M F, misterwade, Mary Mike, VTCC73, lostinamerica, radarlady, redlum jak, Bob Duck

    "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

    by teacherken on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 01:57:37 AM PST

  •  Thanks for this. (18+ / 0-)

    Happy to call my Congress critters, especially for something like this.

    What's Buffett's position on leveraging Twinkies and HoHo's?

    "Wealthy the Spirit which knows its own flight. Stealthy the Hunter who slays his own fright. Blessed is the Traveler who journeys the length of the Light."

    by CanisMaximus on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 02:20:25 AM PST

  •  It would sure do a lot to restore people's faith. (22+ / 0-)

    Most people think the system's rigged and they don't like it. This would help—and I suspect quite a few would smile and pump their fist.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 02:42:56 AM PST

  •  I think the 500,000 cutoff is reasonable for a (17+ / 0-)

    compromise.  Just make the other guys give on a bunch of stuff first before giving them a higher cutoff rate.

    That's one more thing to add to my long list of small problems. --my son, age 10

    by concernedamerican on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 03:42:52 AM PST

    •  That would probably also cut in half the number (7+ / 0-)

      of people complaining about the rich people tax.

      He who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.

      by Sophie Amrain on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 05:09:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Way more than half, (6+ / 0-)

        it's an exponential curve. Lots more people between 250K and 500K than there are above 500K.
        But to be real, even if ALL the BTCs are cut, the average worker sees something like $12/month increase.
        If that means the government can spend more on stimulating the economy, lowering unemployment, launching new tech sectors et cetera, that $12 tariff will return a much better economy for everyone.
        So all the scare talk about kicking the recovery into reverse is ONLY true if they don't do anything to remediate.
        Just like that name "Fiscal Cliff" is a scam to herd the sheep, the aftermath of the cliff dive is only ugly if the GOP obstruct remedial action.
        Don't fall for the Fiscal Bluff.

        If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

        by CwV on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 06:44:10 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  CwV - I agree with you (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          elwior, lostinamerica

          Let all the Bush tax cuts expire, the Treasury needs the money. Add an additional tax on top for the top earners, maybe the "Sanders Millionaires Tax".

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:57:52 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Looking at brackets from pre 1960 era (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            VClib, a2nite, elwior

            and adjust the dollars....I might like 6 additional brackets

            2mil
            4mil
            6mil
            12mil
            24mil
            48mil

            FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

            by Roger Fox on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 10:24:29 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  now convert those into current dollars (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Roger Fox

              and apply the same rates and look how much revenue we would produce

              "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

              by teacherken on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:30:38 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I'm not concerned about revenue (0+ / 0-)

                shifting tax burden from the middle 85% to the top .33%, oh yeah.

                Working and middle class families used to be allowed to keep what they earned in the 50 yrs prior to the Reagan years. Engaging these families in the economy. Now these families are taxed out of the economy.

                FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

                by Roger Fox on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 08:03:30 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

    •  I think $150,000 should be the target, (4+ / 0-)

      and $250,000 is a (very high, almost unreasonable) compromise.

      "Rich" (or, at the very least, upper-middle-class/affluent) begins around $150,000/yr for a family of 4. Period.

      •  and it's income over $150k that would be taxed (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior, JustinBinFL

        Everyone, including the very rich, get the tax cuts for the first $150k of income.

        So even that upper-middle-class family making $150k AGI still gets a full tax cut for that first $150k.

        Your cut-off makes more budget deficit sense.  The higher numbers require spending cuts that hurt the bottom 50%.

        •  I make less than $150,000 and pay alot in taxes (0+ / 0-)

          and I wanted them to expire all the tax cuts and start from scratch.  I will suck it up and pay more just so they will stop cutting jobs and benefits to the poor and hopefully start rebuilding infrastructure which we desperately need.

      •  Not earning much money from capital (0+ / 0-)

        at 150k.

        IIRC the median family of 4, household income in NJ is 102k.

        And just for reference 110k is @ the 84th percentile, 186k is the 90th percentile.

        I think the perversion of capital doesnt occur in any of these areas. Lets start at a million> about 99.67%, the top 33%.

        SO if we take the existing top bracket - about 380k and add on 6 brackets:
        2mil-40%
        4mil-41%
        6mil-42%
        12mil-43%
        24mil-44%
        48mil-45%

        We start to see something that resembles brackets that are dollar adjusted, pre 1960 brackets. But without the higher rates and the deductions and shelters pre 1986TRA.

        And those rates and brackets deal with people who arent so much wage earners but use capital to make more money.

        FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 10:42:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I agree, though I think the 250-499k group (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LilithGardener, elwior

      could also see a tax increase from, say, 35% to 37.5% and an AMT of 22-24%.

      The Class, Terror and Climate Wars are indivisible and the short-term outcome will affect the planet for centuries.

      by Words In Action on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 10:14:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  And ths is what I want to hear repeated by (20+ / 0-)

    every Democrat who stands in front of a camera..

    But the reform of such complexities should not promote delay in our correcting simple and expensive inequities. We can’t let those who want to protect the privileged get away with insisting that we do nothing until we can do everything.
    Exactly right. This constant call to slow things down and "do it right" is bullshit. It's just one more attempt by the Republicans to keep obscenely tax rates for the wealthiest among us. And what could be better motivation for getting it done than letting everything expire?

    “Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan” is an anagram for “My ultimate Ayn Rand Porn.”

    by theKgirls on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 03:45:27 AM PST

    •  Would anybody second a motion for... (5+ / 0-)

      Warren Buffet for Secretary of Treasury?

      "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

      by Buckeye Nut Schell on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 08:01:47 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  The most important person would be Buffet himself (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Buckeye Nut Schell, elwior

        and I would really doubt he'd want the job.  He's an investor and really successful.  He's also getting up there in years.  I don't believe he'd want to take on all the political crap associated with a government post.  Though I wouldn't mind him taking Rmoney and the rest to task for vulture capitalism.

        •  I think he is in his altruistic phase of life. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ColoTim, elwior

          I think he genuinely wants to leave this world a better place and wants his legacy to be one of benevolence rather than greed.  I don't think he (or Pal Krugman) has a chance of being nominated nor do I think he would take it if it was offered but I sure would like to see someone in that role that was thinking more about our country and the vast majority of its population rather than a 400 or so mega-wealthy social aristocracy.

          "Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour..."

          by Buckeye Nut Schell on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 09:34:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Send it to the White House, too. (18+ / 0-)

    Obama needs constant reminders that HE won the election, not Romney.  Let's debunk rethug talking points - they are only pretending to say increase taxes, because they are pushing Romney's tax plan, not Obama's.

    being mindful and keepin' it real

    by Raggedy Ann on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 04:21:10 AM PST

  •  The wealthy know they have enough money. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    caul, MKinTN, cocinero, elwior, LilithGardener

    Well, OK, they never think they have enough money. Most of us feel that way, whatever our income level. Some of that's irrational fear, some if it is fear of the unknown.

    But I think this deliberate inequality is more about power than money, more about keeping people fearful, desperate, quiet. Hold labor costs as low as possible, keep people preoccupied with survival and the mind-numbing pleasures they can still afford.

    The pocket-picking is just gravy.

    "I think in America, the opposite of poverty is justice." Bryan Stevenson

    by gfre on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 05:21:58 AM PST

    •  Y'know, this may be true on some sub- (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LilithGardener, elwior

      conscious level, but it certainly isn't anything I can read between the lines of what my wealthy friends say. It was quite a Thanksgiving at my house and my very wealthiest guest clearly believes that many, many of those who aren't making it in this society have only themselves to blame. He, himself, came up the youngest in a very large, very poor family and worked his ass off to accumulate the substantial wealth he now holds. He is one of the most generous people I know, always the first in our community to offer substantial gifts to those in need and to important local causes. He really does believe that the poor are making war on the rich who deserve all that they have made in their lives. He doesn't seem to recognize that he couldn't have made that money all by himself -- but he's not in any conscious way wanting to "preoccupy" the poor with their survival needs.

      I guess what I'm trying to say here is that we don't necessarily gain anything like truth by stereotyping the wealthy any more than they approach truth by stereotyping the poor. Rather, arguing for economically advisable tax policies (as Buffett does and as RobLewis does in his rec-listed diary) seems more useful to me than demonizing the wealthy as a group.

      The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain, is floating in mid-air, until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life. Jane Addams

      by Alice Olson on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 09:09:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, but the irony is that many of (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        elwior

        the opportunities he found and prepared for, and took advantage of were in a time when taxes were much higher!

        His attribution error is in not recognizing that no one today, in the circumstances he faced in his youth could repeat what he was able to do.

        •  Well, he has no college education, is not (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LilithGardener

          an American citizen (he was born and raised in post-war Germany) and came to the US as a common laborer. Little by little, he saved money and built a small business which with very hard work he grew into a big business and then an international business. He took lots of risks and he acknowledges that he was lucky.

          Honestly, I don't know whether what he achieved is impossible today. I do know, it's not very likely and that he is an especially driven guy. In fact, that's pretty much true of all the really, really rich people I know. Nothing matters more to them than the accumulation of wealth; sad by apparently true.

          The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain, is floating in mid-air, until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life. Jane Addams

          by Alice Olson on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 02:31:06 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Good for him - but any one starting out in (0+ / 0-)

            similar circumstances today has today's economic conditions to deal with and not the 2 long bull markets that began in the 90s and ended so spectacularly in 2007.

            I imagine he's a fine businessman. For people without a college degree, there are far fewer doors open now, and many obstacles stand in the way of those who "did everything they were supposed to do" when the invested in a college education.

            I've been extremely successful considering my background, but I am sick of people who say, "If I could do it, then other can do it."

          •  He may be the poster child for ethical business (0+ / 0-)

            practices...or not.

            Did his business involve employees?
            Did he pay them fairly?
            Did he treat them fairly?
            Did he pay all the taxes legally owed?  (Nothing under the table?)

            Did he take any shortcuts?
            Did he play by all the rules?

            Like I said, he may be the most ethical business person who ever lived -- I wouldn't know.

            But, sometimes, when becoming wealthy is the most important thing, a driven person will decide that the ends justify the means, and nothing stands in their way.

            Sometimes they don't even notice.

            "I think in America, the opposite of poverty is justice." Bryan Stevenson

            by gfre on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 06:10:41 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •   a very reasonable compromise. (6+ / 0-)

    'His goal is to restore a ratio where the government takes in revenues of 18.5% of GDP while spending is at about 21% of GDP - still in deficit, but

    -  far better than current ratio of 15.5% in revenue and 22.4% in spending.    PLEASE NOTE -  this means increasing revenue by almost 20% while decreasing spending by around 6%,'

    it fits the description of the president's step by step,
    'downpayment of our debt approach.'

    probably won't see the light of day unfortunately.

    'Well-behaved women seldom make history” Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

    by dear occupant on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 05:25:13 AM PST

  •  As a history teacher, you should note (7+ / 0-)

    that the overall goal of Buffett and, yes, Obama are simply to raise the top marginal rate back to 39.6 %.

    First those rates are still much below the historical average.  Back in the 1950s, the median taxpayer paid no income tax.  Today, Buffett's secretary pays a higher proportion of taxes than the Billionaire Oracle of Omaha.  The wealthiest could easily pay a much higher rate than currently.

    Secondly, the taxing of four dollars per every one hundred earned after the first quarter of a million won't be missed by the Rich Kids of Instagram crowd.  Compare this to the pain inflicted upon real people by the "chained" cpi social security cuts.  To paraphrase Leona Helmsley, sacrifice like taxes are only for the little people.

    Thirdly, economists Saez & Picketty have argued that the Buffett rule would do nothing to address income inequality.  They have argued for a progress tax with a top rate of 70% before there would be any disincentive.  For an overview, see this NY Times article.

    "The working class mind is strange and unpredictable" -- Ty Lookwell

    by Illinibeatle on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 05:40:20 AM PST

    •  Need to understand... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior, LilithGardener

      No one paid close to the marginal tax rate back in the 50's due to all the deductions.  What was the effective tax rate?

      Of course just increasing taxation does not solve income inequality.  What are you investing the incremental tax dollars in?  Job training, Pell grants, etc....that is the way to solve income inequality.  

      •  Exactly the right question (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        VClib, Roger Fox, LilithGardener
        No one paid close to the marginal tax rate back in the 50's due to all the deductions.  What was the effective tax rate?
        All the discussion of top marginal rates prior to the Tax Reform Act of 1986 are completely meaningless, because of the vastly different scheme of deductions and exemptions. People should be focused on EFFECTIVE tax rates.  

        And I haven't seen any real analysis of the effective tax rates from the Eisenhower years.  The CBO has data back to 1979, and it shows that the Clinton rates were the highest effective tax rates on individual earned income ever during that time -- higher than when top marginal rates were 70%.   See the SECOND chart here.

        •  but there are other distinctions (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Words In Action, elwior

          that make a difference, deductions for plant and equipment, for owning real factories that produce jobs, or FIRE dominating the picture and casino debt.   Less income inequality,   if CEO's make ten times versus five hundred times the average salary of the workers, one is addressing a different policy problem.

          Effective tax rates matter, so does effective tax policy that supports growth overall in the economy, not just to 1-2% of the taxpayers.

          •  I think I agree... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            elwior

            ...CEO compensation limits make people feel better - its the fairness thing.   But it has no impact on solving our real problem - income stagnation in the middle class.

            So I care about what do you do with a meaningful amount of incremental tax dollars (and I don't think CEO comp limits will supply enough).   Again - education and training....

            And an intelligent industrial policy - credits for hiring locally, credits for manufacturing facilities, and yes, a big tax cut for repatriating offshore earnings IF you use the money to hire locally.

      •  No, but I would wager real money that the effectiv (0+ / 0-)

        rates were nevertheless much higher.

        The best solution is an AMT indexed to inflation, for the top couple of brackets. Of course, I would add several brackets above $250K...

        The Class, Terror and Climate Wars are indivisible and the short-term outcome will affect the planet for centuries.

        by Words In Action on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 10:22:04 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  About 55% in 1955 for top incomes. n/t (0+ / 0-)

        Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 11:26:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Source? (0+ / 0-)

          Please...I also have not seen any credible source for this kind of data....

          •  I did that calculation a couple of years ago... (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            a gilas girl, teacherken

            ...and can't find the original. Here's something to tide you over until I do find it (if I can):

            • Between 1960 to 2004, the top 0.1 percent of U.S. taxpayers — the wealthiest one in one thousand — have seen the share of their income paid in total federal taxes drop from 60 to 33.6 percent.

            •America’s highest income-earners — the top 400 — have seen the share of their income they pay in federal income tax alone plummet from 51.2 percent in 1955 to 16.6 percent in 2007, the most recent year with top 400 statistics available.

            • If the top 400 of 2007 paid as much of their incomes in personal income tax as the top 400 of 1955, the federal treasury would have collected $47.7 billion more in revenue from just these 400 taxpayers.

            • In 2007, if the top 0.1 percent of taxpayers — Americans with incomes that averaged $7,126,395 — had paid total federal taxes at the same rate as the top 0.1 percent paid these taxes in 1960, the federal treasury would have collected an additional $281.2 billion in revenue.

            Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

            by Meteor Blades on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 02:06:57 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

    •  Repeal the 86 TRA and the Reagan tax cuts (0+ / 0-)

      That would actually bring some stability to the economy.

      Short of that.....

      I would make the bottom 3 brackets roughly like this

      0-30k-8%
      31-49k-9%
      50k-10%

      Then add 6 more brackets

      2mill-40%
      4mill-41%
      6mil-42%
      12mill-43%
      24mil-44%
      48mill-45%

      FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 11:08:18 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  wasn't the amt (the alternative minimum tax) (0+ / 0-)

    supposed to address this very same problem -- making sure the rich paid something in the way of income taxes???

    looks like the lobbyists who write the tax codes found a way around that.  and i'm sure they'll do the same, thing again.  and again.  and again.

    the whole idea is to have the poor support the rich.  that's how they the rich stay rich & the poor stay poor.

    •  bluezen - the AMT was one of the worse (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LilithGardener

      pieces of tax legislation ever passed. It was in response to fewer than 200 high income tax payer who paid no federal income tax. It wasn't indexed for inflation and now hits tens of thousands of middle income families and made the US tax code significantly more complex.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 09:01:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I attended Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting (8+ / 0-)

    in May of this year (one only needs one share of class B , which cost less than $100 to attend) and was quite impressed with how Warren Buffett consistently reminded people of his support for a tax system that's more fair to him and his secretary.

    Back in May of this year, the support for Obama was deteriorating (high unemployment) and Mitt was gaining momentum, especially among "business savvy" folks. The corporate media was trying to position Mitt as the guy with the know-how to fix the economy.
    Buffet was one of the few high profile successful investors, who were willing to openly stand by the President and the Democrats. Especially on the piece of legislation that had his name attached to it: The Buffett Rule.

    The right wing media and the Corporate Media (CNBC, CNN) sent their usual folks to Omaha to trap Buffet in his support for the President. They kept asking him why he doesn't voluntarily pay more taxes, if he thought he should be taxed more. They kept throwing right wing talking points about the President's "socialist agenda" and "anti-business" practices. Misguided shareholders kept asking these stupid questions that grew out of right wing talking points about increasing shareholder values, double taxation on capital gains.. etc

    Buffett did a fantastic Job explaining to people why he should be taxed more than his secretary. He debunked all the right winger myths about Obama hurting the economy and explained how higher taxes on wealthy people will help (not hurt) the economy.

    Warren Buffet is not perfect, but he is one of the business man that I really respect. Buffett's business partner and fellow billionaire Charles Munger is a Republican.

    •  Over the weekend, I heard on NPR (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alice Olson, elwior, Words In Action

      that there is a fund at the Treasury that receives donations from people who want to pay down the deficit so much they are willing to write a check to Uncle Sam! This fund has received over $7million this year! The guy they interviewed had sent $50 and was going to send another $50 if he could scrape it up.
      So, there really IS a way that the Rich could pay more in, voluntarily, if they wished.
      Personally, I think that's the wrong way around, but, oh well.
      My favorite economic policy statement of the just concluded campaign was Rmoney explaining that he'd lower rates but close loopholes and cut exemptions so that his deficit reduction plan would be revenue neutral (of course it was bullsh!t just like everything else that he and his wingman said). But the idea that you can fix a budget hole by installing a revenue neutral tax code change, really? Why make this change if it has no net effect?
      Answer: It shifts the tax burden even more solidly down to the wage earners (the actual Makers). It may be revenue neutral at the receiving end, but at the paying end, it moves the burden off of the Rich onto the MiddleClass.
      Buffet is to be commended for his position and his outspokenness, but there's a way that the rich, particularly big investors like Buffet, can make a huge positive influence not just here but worldwide: Police their investments.
      Buffet has holdings that have terrible business practices, environmental disasters, worker abuse, et cetera, And he cannot be held directly responsible, he didn't start the company, didn't set their policy...But he does have ultimate responsibility if he is an owner and making a profit from his ownership. If he and Bill Gates and all the other reasonable billionaires (as opposed to the Koch/Adelson/Coors types) took a hard look at what they own and how that effects to world, how it effects our economy and society, and took steps to fix the problems with their corporate policies, we'd be freed of the mess that the Bush Tax Cuts and Unfunded Wars have left us in, that the GOP seems intent to keep us in.
      Yeah, right, I'll hold my breath now, lets see if they mend their ways before I suffocate.

      If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

      by CwV on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:12:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  the rule of law (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Alice Olson, Words In Action

        the very policy that supports written constitutions, due process, social stability and the willingness for people to participate in peaceful self government.  Same rules,  and everyone plays by them.

        That is being corrupted, by the notion that some should have different rules.  Most of the corruption favors the rich and of course, they suggest if you don't want to be corrupt, instead of being fair at the societal level, a sensible tax system,  you should volunteer more money.   Both suggestions undercut a level playing field and the rule of law.   It's all part of the pernicious thinking of the rich slice of the right wing.  I give to charity, therefore I am good, even though charity is selective and does nothing to help the vast majority of people in their everyday lives.  It is evil for the government to take money to help everyone in the form of taxes.  The rich want control, they want power, they want self aggrandizement and ego stroking.  A fair tax system deprives them of all of those things.

  •  Thanks, I always appreciate what you bring (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cocinero, Alice Olson, elwior

    to our attention here.  

  •  Already an IRS voluntary donation site (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alice Olson, elwior

    I have heard that the IRS has already established a system/website (?) whereby people can voluntarily give money.  Only 7 million dollars has been donated.

  •  Ds have Warren Buffett, Ted Turner or Bill Gates, (3+ / 0-)

    Rs have Sheldon Adelson, the Koch bros and Donald Trump.

    Talk about quality !!!

    "Rick Perry talks a lot and he's not very bright. And that's a combination I like in Republicans." --- James Carville

    by LaurenMonica on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 06:36:14 AM PST

  •  That's what AMT is for. It's all in the details (0+ / 0-)

    Coming Soon -- to an Internet connection near you: Armisticeproject.org

    by FischFry on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:20:09 AM PST

  •  Warren Buffett (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    leevank, elwior, Words In Action

    gets ignored by the rest of the media.

    He scares his peers because he doesn't pretend to play the lie they do.

    Enagaged activism wins elections. 100 million words on liberal/progressive websites gets beat by one new GOP voter casting their vote.

    by Nebraska68847Dem on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:36:52 AM PST

    •  I feel a little like a troll this morning, but (0+ / 0-)

      I have to disagree with you about this. Thank heavens Warren Buffett isn't ignored by the rest of the media. Not only does he get a NYTimes op ed piece whenever he wants one, but it's the top story on Forbes.com today as well. And he frequently appears on national network television.

      He may be fear-inducing, I don't know. But he also commands a great deal of respect and we're lucky to have one such as he articulating the messages he puts out.

      The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain, is floating in mid-air, until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life. Jane Addams

      by Alice Olson on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 09:24:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I think you are accurate. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Meteor Blades, Alice Olson

        I guess I was thinking of not seeing him on the usual TV outlets like MSNBC, CNBC, CNN.

        You are correct in your assertion.

        (It's not trolling to contradict nor question a viewpoint).

        I respect Buffett greatly. A guy as rich as he is driving an 11 year old car is wise and knows how to make a buck go the extra mile.

        Enagaged activism wins elections. 100 million words on liberal/progressive websites gets beat by one new GOP voter casting their vote.

        by Nebraska68847Dem on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 09:56:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'd be more impressed if he worked for (0+ / 0-)

    comprehensive tax reform.  A simplified system of just two or three rates with virtually no deductions.  The 30% is fine with no deductions, but it's not going to bring in heaps of cash to cover the deficit.  Fairness involves a fair system for everyone -- including simplification for the "not rich."

    •  that's a big tax increase for the bottom 50% (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PatriciaVa

      who are least able to pay for it. It's a terrible idea.

      Instead, just have a fixed 40% rate for all income over $250k, earned or not (no special cap gains or dividend rates). No deductions.

      •  I'm not sure which of us is misunderstanding (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        teacherken, Roger Fox

        Buffett's recommendation, but the way I read this, the 30% isn't on all taxpayers but is an added tax after the initial bite that would be levied on the income over $1M, and an additional 35% on income over $10M.  I don't read him as recommending anything at all related to those with incomes under $250K (or his preferred $500K).

        I have no idea what kind of tax revenue his plan would generate, but surely it's a whole lot more than we're getting from the wealthy right now.

        The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain, is floating in mid-air, until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life. Jane Addams

        by Alice Olson on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 09:30:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  oh, I see (0+ / 0-)

          That's something like a 70% federal tax rate.

          As a negotiating position that's fine, but it's no longer a genuine proposal.

          •  why not? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Roger Fox

            we have had higher marginal tax rates in the past and people did quite well and so did the economy

            "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

            by teacherken on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 10:28:01 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  But its an actual solution (0+ / 0-)

            that would work, Repeal the Reagan tax cuts and the 1986 Tax Reform Act, would put the economy on a far more stable foundation.

            39.6% top rate aint going to do squat in that regard. The extra revenue is nice, but the inherent instabilities still exist. Domestic investment would still suck and income disparity would still increase.

            FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

            by Roger Fox on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 10:50:51 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe, Ferg, that you aren't (0+ / 0-)

            understanding the idea of marginal rates.  Buffett's proposal seems to be

            35% on AGI (adjusted gross income) up to $500K
            39.6% on AGI from $500K to $1M
            69.6% on the AGI over $1M but less than $10M
            74.6% on the AGI over $10M.

            So, you are right that the rate on income over $1M (after all the adjustments and deductions which Buffett doesn't appear to want to disturb) would be taxed at or over 70% -- but the first million would have a maximum tax rate of 39.6%.  And, surely those with more than a million dollars income can find accountants to minimize the AGI of the big bucks over a million.

            The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain, is floating in mid-air, until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life. Jane Addams

            by Alice Olson on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 02:24:42 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  See brackets pre 1960 here (0+ / 0-)

          http://taxfoundation.org/...

          ANd see what the adjusted dollars rates are today.

          FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

          by Roger Fox on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 10:52:42 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Get out, no really.... GTFO (0+ / 0-)

      What you propose is so phenomenally unstable. We would see recessions that are longer and deeper, and income disparity would increase even more.

      Take a history lesson here
      http://taxfoundation.org/...

      Then study this
      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      I would make the bottom 3 brackets about like this

      0-30k-8%
      31-49k-9%
      50k-10%

      Then add 6 more brackets

      2mill-40%
      4mill-41%
      6mil-42%
      12mill-43%
      24mil-44%
      48mill-45%

      Fuck tax fairness, we need a stable system that doesnt collapse every 5-10 years.

      FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 11:01:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  No deductions for domestic investment? WTF ? (0+ / 0-)

      FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 11:01:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Buffett understands what is good (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alice Olson, Words In Action

    for business today, tomorrow and forty years from now.   He can see long term,   he is not interested in just this quarter's profits, but insuring that every quarter turns out well.

    He is atypical, and I doubt that we end up following his sensible prescriptions for a healthy government/business relationship.

  •  Everyone wants something.... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ferg, Alice Olson

    The things that I want for the nation as a whole cost a lot of money. Our system of revenue generation is broken and fully rigged for the rich to game the system. This cannot stand or the nation will eventually fail. Yes it is that simple. Buffet's ideas are sound. They should be implemented as policy now. The calls for status quo ante are at best monumentally stupid. We cannot "grow" our way out of this mess. Trickle down economics do not work. They failed under Reagan. They failed under both 12 years of Bush Presidencies. Let me repeat, it is a failed economic model that is proven to not work. Twenty years of consistent failed policy is an indication of the insanity of the current republican positions. Insanity defined is doing the same thing again and again and again and yet again and expecting different results.

  •  Show me an investor who would rather pick up a (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Alice Olson, Words In Action

    shovel rather than sit behind a desk while making a little less from paying increased taxes on his investments then I feel he would be unique and should be showcased in Ripley's Believe It Or Not.

  •  Income and wealth (0+ / 0-)

    are different things.

    Basically, income is the amount that comes in over a period of time.

    Wealth is the amount of income that is retained and not spent.

    A man who has an income of $260,000/year and spends $200,000/year will have $600,000 in wealth after ten years.

    A woman who earns $60,000/year and spends $40,000/year might have $800,000 in wealth after 40 years of work.

    •  you have not allowed for interest or (0+ / 0-)

      appreciation of the assets represented by the wealth

      "We didn't set out to save the world; we set out to wonder how other people are doing and to reflect on how our actions affect other people's hearts." - Pema Chodron

      by teacherken on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 07:33:48 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Most of Buffett's wealth (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LilithGardener

    was never exposed as income subject to the taxman.

    He might be worth $40 billion and received a total of $200 million in taxable personal income in his entire life.

    He might have paid an average rate of 20% on his $200 million in total taxable income over a lifetime.

    That's a total of say $40 million that he might have paid to the IRS over his entire lifetime.

    Yup, it's the equivalent .1% of his total wealth that Warren forked over to the IRS.

    If he doesn't sell, he'll pay 0% on his unrealized capital gains of probably over $39 billion.

    How is this possible? Because the US government has an INCOME tax, not a WEALTH tax.

    France has a wealth tax still I believe. If Warren was a Frenchman in France, he'd pay about 2% of his $40 billion in wealth in wealth tax each year.

    That's $800 million/year, not just a mere $40 million total over about 70 years.

    •  2% per year??? (0+ / 0-)

      That would force people to...  um...  work or something!  It's socialism!

      Early to rise and early to bed Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and dead. --Not Benjamin Franklin

      by Boundegar on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 10:51:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Constitutional restrictions RE: Wealth tax (0+ / 0-)

      Prior to the 1980's the US tax system still resembled New Deal Tax Policy.

      I'd rather fix whats broken rather then venture off into uncharted areas of Constitutional amendments.

      FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 12:11:45 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm a millionaire - leave dividends alone (0+ / 0-)

    Did I get your attention?

    No really, I don't earn millions, I have an inheritance that's invested. I never in my entire working career earned more than 40 to 50 K (including wife's labor contribution). Now I'm retired (age 67) and live off of a small pension, soc security, and the dividend income of my inheritance.  All of these sources are relatively "fixed" and at the most I earn a middle class 60 to 65 K. It seems to me, paying additional dividend tax as well as the tax on the income derived is regressive when it comes to older folks like myself who are not "raking it in", but holding on to our inheritance for that catastrophic health care waiting around the corner

    So I ask, why can't dividend income just be considered income for tax purposes and therefore taxed at progressive rates, newly adjusted to Obama's tax plan? Let those whose incomes are astronomically high pay a higher rate of income tax, and perhaps a higher dividend tax that "kicks in" above certain levels (see, I'm willing to allow the current rate at my level). Doubling the dividend tax on everyone will really hurt some low end middle-classers like me, who may have high savings, but lower income.

    Juat sayin'

    Evolution IS Intelligent Design!

    by msirt on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 10:44:28 AM PST

  •  Who do you think makes over $250,000/year? (0+ / 0-)

    Your doctor?

    He'll raise his fees to compensate.

    Your dentist?

    Guess what! No lidocaine for your more deeply depleted wallet.

    ball player?

    Look for 40-year promotion contracts, stadium seat value-added deals "On the house Ruth built" and other places super ball players play.

    executive?

    stock options, consulting gigs, supplier deals, and "earned territory" franchises, sacrifice and emotional deprivation payments for the "kids" - a true "family man [or woman]"

  •  Why poverty, Park Ave... (0+ / 0-)

    If all Americans could watch this documentary that I watched last night in Australia there would be a lot more understanding about what these rich people have been doing over the last 30 yrs.
     The show payed particular attention to the tax law Buffet is referring to.
     It used Park ave as a metaphor for the extreme disparity between these people and the poor by showing Park Ave in Manhattan, then crossing the bridge tp Park Ave in the south Bronx, it highlighted 740 Park ave where the 1% of the 1% live including David Koch, John Fein, Ezra Merkin, and Steve Shwartzman
    . It showed how the Tea Party is a phoney astro turf movement financed by Americans for prosperity.
     It highlighted brilliant graphs showing how the ultra rich have taken more and more while the rest of the country has stagnated.
    This show is the best I've ever seen for concisely showing this problem. I know it may not be possible for you to view it, but if you can find a way to watch please do. and finding a way to spread this would be extremely helpful.
    http://www.abc.net.au/...

    Whoever controls the media, the images, controls the culture

    by nezzclay on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 12:17:57 PM PST

  •  Tie the Min. Tax levels to Minimum Wage (0+ / 0-)

    Rather than having a permanent level for the minimum tax to kick in, or tying it to inflation, we should tie it to the minimum wage.

    Make the Buffet's 30% apply from $725,00 to $7,250,000, and 35% above that .  (The law would specify that the rates are set at 100,000 times federal minimum wage and 1 million times.)

    Give some rich people an incentive to boost the working class.

    It's a principle that should be applied more widely.

    •  Rich people dont boost the working class (0+ / 0-)

      The reason the last 3 recessions had a "jobless recovery
      " is policies that created jobs were removed.

      We used to spend 5% of GDP on infrastructure, last year we spent 1.3%. Thats a jobs deficit of 10 to 13 million jobs.

      Prior to the 1986 Tax Reform Act we had deductions, exemptions and shelters that favored domestic investment, US Jobs. 60% of those incentives are now gone. As much as 200-300 billion in US investment now goes overseas in todays dollars. That represents a  job deficit of about 4 to 5 million jobs.

      Currently there are about 22 to 28 million people looking for work, this adds downward wage pressure.

      35% isnt enough, not remotely. Not even 39.6%.

      FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Tue Nov 27, 2012 at 08:13:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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