Warren Buffett: A minimum tax for the wealthy

  • Article by: WARREN E. BUFFETT , New York Times
  • Updated: November 26, 2012 - 11:19 AM

We need Congress, right now, to enact a minimum tax on high incomes. Only a minimum tax on very high incomes will prevent the stated tax rate from being eviscerated by the warriors for the wealthy.

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gutshotNov. 26, 1211:37 AM

Mr. Buffett seems to implicitly recognize the immutable fact that wealth cannot be achieved or maintained absent a (middle) class that can spend.

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ranger78Nov. 26, 1211:44 AM

Warren's analysis has too many holes. The 50's boomed inspite of tax rates, etc., because the US had the only fully functional economy post WWII. Europe and Japan were still in the process of rebuilding. He fails to account for inflation in his comparisons of today vs. yesterday. He fails to point out that the rich already pay the bulk of taxes at the fed level (Top 25% of earners pay 86% of all fed taxes.) This group paying an even larger percentage is not fair or realistic. He states that the tax revenue should be 18% of GDP and we should spend 22% of GDP. Wrong, we need to stop borrowing money to fund gov't programs. Finally, in lieu of a minimum on the wealthy, let's have a minimum that everybody pays. With nearly 50% of tax payers with zero or a negative tax income tax liability, we have far too many free riders. Everybody needs to pay something.

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randyjkNov. 26, 1211:50 AM

Great article! The idea that higher taxes for the ultra rich "job creators" will cause them to stop hiring people is insulting. Investing in a business, including hiring people generates growth and to build an argument that this hiring will stop as fallout from higher taxes is simply untrue.

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punky2012Nov. 26, 1211:50 AM

None of what Warren Buffett says is true. Warren Buffet is from the days when there was NO foreign competition, when investing was exclusively for the rich (like himself). It's a much different world today. In the 30 year period from 1951 to 1981 the Dow Jones Industrial Average tripled--not even keeping pace with inflation. After Reagan cut the top tax rates from 70%, the Dow increased by a FACTOR OF 13 in the 30 year period following (1982 - 2012). A tremendous amount of PRIVATE WEALTH was created in an environment of LOWER TAXES that otherwise would NOT have been created because the government would have confiscated it via taxation! After 1986 when the top tax rate was lowered to 28% stock market growth really took off, as did the wealth of millions of American households who invest directly and indirectly in the stock market through retirement plans, 401ks, and other investments. The Democratic Party and Liberal Left does not want this. They want you dependent on the welfare state, not becoming financially successful.

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EleanoreNov. 26, 1211:51 AM

35%? Really, for that top money a rate of 49% seems more appropriate. Maybe by getting out in front of this and suggesting 35% is a way of hoping to eliminate a more just measure of taxation. Just being in relation to the overl percentage of taxes paid by those making less than say, 50k (I don't really know where that low end number is. Higher than poverty, lower than 250k).

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pitythetoolsNov. 26, 1212:00 PM

Buffet is senile. According to new data from the IRS, people who make $1 million or more had an average tax rate of 20.4 percent in 2010. Tax filers who earned $30,000 to $50,000 paid an average rate of 4.8 percent, while those who made between $50,000 and $100,000 paid 7.7 percent. Those making under $30,000 had a negative effective rate, meaning they paid no federal income taxes after deductions and credits.

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arspartzNov. 26, 1212:01 PM

What about a minimum tax for EVERYBODY. Nobody rides for free!

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my4centsNov. 26, 1212:08 PM

"Our government's goal should be to bring in revenues of 18.5 percent of GDP and spend about 21 percent of GDP" --- No thanks Warren. If that is an acceptable goal for you and others, then we are better off with gridlock and going through with the mandated cuts and the income tax increases for everyone. Plus, raising these taxes on incomes over $500,000 will not be enough to increase the percent of GDP collected from 15.5% to 18.5%. Where do we get the rest?

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pitythetoolsNov. 26, 1212:12 PM

According to new data from the IRS, people who make $1 million or more had an average tax rate of 20.4 percent in 2010. Tax filers who earned $30,000 to $50,000 paid an average rate of 4.8 percent, while those who made between $50,000 and $100,000 paid 7.7 percent. Those making under $30,000 had a negative effective rate, meaning they paid no federal income taxes after deductions and credits.

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EleanoreNov. 26, 1212:14 PM

49% seems much more just for that top tier of income dollars.

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