Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Warren--My Man!

Can you hear those piercing shrieks and loud lamentations? Those cries to heaven, those wails of dismay? That, my friends, is the sound of the super super rich and all the wannabes wailing about what one of their own had to say about taxes, i.e., there should be more of them. Specifically, more taxes on them. Warren Buffet, a billionaire several times over, has a powerful op-ed piece in the New York Times yesterday in which he lays out plainly the common-sense arguments for increased taxation on the most wealthy in our society. I'm sure Buffet's peers love the headline on the piece: "Stop Coddling the Super-Rich."

He states plainly the illogic of the country's approach to taxes on the mega-rich: 
Since 1992, the I.R.S. has compiled data from the returns of the 400 Americans reporting the largest income. In 1992, the top 400 had aggregate taxable income of $16.9 billion and paid federal taxes of 29.2 percent on that sum. In 2008, the aggregate income of the highest 400 had soared to $90.9 billion — a staggering $227.4 million on average — but the rate paid had fallen to 21.5 percent.
The taxes I refer to here include only federal income tax, but you can be sure that any payroll tax for the 400 was inconsequential compared to income. In fact, 88 of the 400 in 2008 reported no wages at all, though every one of them reported capital gains. Some of my brethren may shun work but they all like to invest.
And the corrective that should be applied:
I would leave rates for 99.7 percent of taxpayers unchanged and continue the current 2-percentage-point reduction in the employee contribution to the payroll tax. This cut helps the poor and the middle class, who need every break they can get. 
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.
But of course. This is obvious. But grasping the obvious for our servants of the people in Washington is  patently impossible. They live in a dreamland . . . and don't ever forget that the vast majority of the people up there in DC passing laws and taxes for the rest of us are millionaires. And they exempt themselves from almost all the legislation they pass.

So you tell 'em, Warren, and kick their asses while you're at it.
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