Famed investor Warren Buffett, who has repeatedly called for higher taxes on the rich, is once again asking for a minimum tax on millionaires.
In the New York Times Monday, Buffett urged that Congress move quickly to implement a tax of 30 percent on incomes of $1 million to $10 million and a 35 percent tax on income above that.
“A plain and simple rule like that will block the efforts of lobbyists, lawyers and contribution-hungry legislators to keep the ultra rich paying rates well below those incurred by people with income just a tiny fraction of ours,” Buffett wrote.
While he supports the expiration of the Bush tax cuts for the rich, he thinks the income cut-off should be $500,000 rather than the current $250,000 mark.
Buffett dismisses the notion that wealthy investors shy away from a good investment based on high capital gains taxes.
“Only in Grover Norquist’s imagination does such a response exist,” he says.
“Between 1951 and 1954, when the capital gains rate was 25 percent and marginal rates on dividends reached 91 percent in extreme cases, I sold securities and did pretty well,” Buffett writes, adding that “Never did anyone mention taxes as a reason to forgo an investment opportunity that I offered.”
“The ultrarich, including me, will forever pursue investment opportunities,” he asserts, again pushing back on the idea that taxing the super-rich will hinder job creation.
Buffett’s involvement in the tax debate goes back to a 2011 opinion article he wrote, where he described the rich being “coddled” by the current tax policy, and asked that they be taxed at a minimum rate of 30 percent.
The Obama administration then jumped on the opportunity to have super-rich Buffett calling for higher taxes for the wealthiest American, and began promoting the “Buffett rule” on millionaires.
Buffett concedes that raising taxes on millionaires will not be a game changer in the deficit. “As the math makes clear, this won’t stem our budget deficits; in fact, it will continue them,” he says. He makes the point, however, that revenue to GDP is still below the optimum level, and that Congress needs to quickly change that.
“All of America is waiting for Congress to offer a realistic and concrete plan for getting back to this fiscally sound path. Nothing less is acceptable,” Buffett says.
“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,” Buffett finished. “Send him my way. Let me unburden him.”
Warren Buffett made his fortune through investing, and is currently the Chairman and CEO of conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Forbes has him listed as the third wealthiest person in the world.
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