Response to xchrom (Reply #13)
Fri Mar 30, 2012, 12:17 PM
Demeter (69,123 posts)
27. While we're at it: Bashing Buffett…Once Again With Feeling By Eric Fry
...“Stop Coddling the Super-Rich,” Buffett pleaded last summer in an infamous op-ed piece for the New York Times. “Our leaders have asked for ‘shared sacrifice.’ But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched…Last year,” Buffett continued, “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.”
Ah shucks!… Gee whiz!… and Golly gosh! Mr. Buffett must feel just awful about this injustice. If only he had discovered it earlier, he could have paid tens of billions of dollars more in taxes during his lifetime. And, gee willickers, he could have told all his mega-rich friends about his great discovery so that they, too, could have paid tens of billions of dollars more in taxes. Golly gee, isn’t that just the way life is? You always discover the best stuff after it’s too late to do anything about it. It’s just too darn bad that Buffett and his mega-rich friends had already amassed their mega-billions of dollars during the “unfair” tax regime of the last two or three decades before Buffett discovered how unfair it was. But, shucks, you can’t turn back the clock. So despite Buffett’s profound regret, he will simply have to keep all those billions of dollars that the IRS did not permit him to contribute to the US government. Gee whiz…life just ain’t fair sometimes. You try to be magnanimous with the US government and the IRS just won’t let you. Hey, but at least you can publicly proscribe for others the identical high-tax regime that you methodically and assiduously avoided throughout a career spanning several decades.
And fortunately for the US government, there is a brand-new generation of folks who aspire to become billionaires like Buffett, or perhaps merely millionaires. And as Buffett astutely observes, it’s not too late to tax them. At this point, a few Dear Readers may be saying to themselves, “Well, okay, but even if Buffett should have said something earlier, at least he said something now… and that means that he would start paying higher taxes now.
Implementing a higher income tax would barely move the needle on Buffett’s annual tax bill, as the nearby chart illustrates. Buffett paid $6.9 million in taxes on his 2010 personal income of $39.9 million dollars — or 17.4%. But he paid zero personal taxes on his portion — $2.9 billion — of Berkshire Hathaway’s net income. (Of course Berkshire paid corporate tax, but that fact is not germane to the discussion of personal taxes that Buffett addressed in his article last year). In other words, even if you bumped the personal income tax all the way up to 100%, and literally confiscated every cent of Buffett’s direct personal income, the effective tax rate on the totality of his increased wealth in 2010 would have been only 1.4%!
Buffett’s “tax fairness” ideas — focusing as they do on personal income, dividends and capital gains taxes — would leave Buffett, himself, virtually unscathed. That’s because:
1) His personal income represents less than 2% of his annual wealth accumulation;
2) Berkshire Hathaway has never paid a dividend in its history;
3) Buffett, himself, has no intention of generating any capital gains because he has no intention of selling a single share of Berkshire Hathaway.
BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!
If the Top 1% Get 99% of the Income and Wealth, They Should Pay 99% of the Taxes...Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive... Is there any way the ultra-right will let go of its stranglehold on the US economy?*Occam’s Switchblade: If you can’t figure out why someone does something, assume it’s because they want to."
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While we're at it: Bashing Buffett…Once Again With Feeling By Eric Fry
|Ghost Dog||Mar 2012||#40|
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