Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Billionaire Buffett wants to pay more taxes

Multi-billionaire Warren Buffet, one of those who opposes the abolishment of the estate tax, recently stated that he wants to pay more taxes.

Buffet is worth an estimated $52 billion and claimed in a British newspaper story that he pays less taxes than any of his staff—including his receptionist.

This is according to an “informal survey” Buffet took of his staff and revealed on NBC. Buffet claims that the survey of 15 of his 18 staff members revealed that he paid a 17.7% payroll and income tax while his staff averaged 32.9%.

Far be it from me to second-guess a sage investor, but I find it a little hard to believe. Is Buffet being truthful, not being truthful or simply neglecting to disclose all the facts? Or is the “survey” subjective and riddled with errors and misinformation?

They say the survey was done at his office in England, and the Brits generally have a higher tax rate than what we have here in America. How else does a country finance socialized medicine?

Buffet said: “There wasn’t anyone in the office, from the receptionist up, who paid as low a tax rate and I have no tax planning; I don’t have an accountant or use tax shelters. I just follow what the US Congress tells me to do.”

No accountants and no tax shelters? Yeah, right. I find those extremely difficult to believe, especially that a multi-billionaire with countless savings, investments, and so on would do everything himself instead of having a team of hand-picked accountants do it for him.

If Buffett wishes to pay more in taxes, fine. I am amazed in his faith in our government, especially with its startling propensity to waste billions of tax dollars annually in pork barrel spending.

In the article, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce responded to Buffett’s claims, saying that the top 1% of U.S. earners (including Buffett) accounted for 39% of American tax revenue and that the highest-earning 25% accounted for 86%. The COC’s chief economist Martin Regalia had this to say: “Mr. Buffett has made an awful lot of money and if he wants to pay more taxes, I think that’s fine. But I think he should get his facts straight…There’s no question in my mind: if you were to impose [the Democrats’] tax increases, you would see the US go into a recession.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I wonder what Daniel Imperato thinks of this.