Billionaire investor Warren Buffett is
calling on the so-called “mega-rich” to pay more in taxes.
Buffett said Monday in a New York Times
opinion piece that he would immediately raise rates on households with taxable
income of more than $1 million, and he would add an additional increase for
those making $10 million or more.
He also recommends that the 12 members of
Congress charged with devising a deficit-cutting plan leave rates for 99.7
percent of taxpayers unchanged.
“My friends and I have been coddled
long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress,” Buffett wrote. “It’s
time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.”
Buffett noted that the mega-rich pay income
taxes at a rate of 15 percent on most investment income but practically nothing
in payroll taxes. The middle class, meanwhile, typically falls into the 15
percent and 25 percent income tax brackets and is hit with heavy payroll taxes.
He said Washington legislators “feel compelled to protect us, much as if
we were spotted owls or some other endangered species.”
Buffett said he knows many of the mega-rich
well, and most wouldn’t mind paying more in taxes, especially when so many
fellow citizens are suffering. He also said he has yet to see anyone shy away
from investments because of tax rates on potential gains, even when rates were
much higher in the mid-1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
“People invest to make money, and
potential taxes have never scared them off,” he said.