Warren Buffett has lived a storied life, starting out delivering newspapers, selling golfballs and stamps, and detailing cars, and no currently being the third richest person on the planet. Right now as I write this, he’s probably my favorite person on earth. Yesterday he wrote a piece for The New York Times titled Stop Coddling the Super-Rich, a poignant, amazing essay that helps me believe that there are sensible people out there. His point is simple and candid, if you make over $1 million a year, you should be taxed much more.
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. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.
I also love how candidly he speaks about how much he pays in taxes.
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.
I tip my hat to Mr. Buffett for speaking so honestly and calling upon the politicians we elected to do something worthwhile for the country. I guess we can only hope that the Dirty Dozen members of congress have the smarts to listen to him.