Two weeks ago, billionaire Warren Buffet wrote an Op-Ed piece for , claiming that he was undertaxed:
Stop Coddling the Super-Rich
By Warren E. Buffett
Published: August 14, 2011
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.
While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as “carried interest,” thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they’d been long-term investors.
Naturally, his OpEd piece was well received by our friends on the left. The editors of gushed their approval, though some of the people on whom the higher taxes Mr Buffett wants would fall, said not no, but Hell no! Harvey Golub, writing in didn’t like Mr Buffett’s article in the least.
Mr Golub suggested that:
Here’s my message: Before you “ask” for more tax money from me and others, raise the $2.2 trillion you already collect each year more fairly and spend it more wisely. Then you’ll need less of my money.
Perhaps one way to collect taxes more fairly would be to collect taxes already owed, from people like Mr Buffett’s Berkshire-Hathaway!
Warren Buffett, hypocrite
Last Updated: 11:51 PM, August 28, 2011
Posted: 11:31 PM, August 28, 2011
This one’s truly, uh … rich: Billionaire Warren Buffett says folks like him should have to pay more taxes — but it turns out his firm, Berkshire Hathaway, hasn’t paid what it’s already owed for years.
That’s right: As Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson notes, the company openly admits that it owes back taxes since as long ago as 2002.
“We anticipate that we will resolve all adjustments proposed by the US Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) for the 2002 through 2004 tax years … within the next 12 months,” the firm’s annual report says.
It also cites outstanding tax issues for 2005 through 2009.
Obvious question: If Buffett really thinks he and his “mega-rich friends” should pay higher taxes, why doesn’t his firm fork over what it already owes under current rates?
Likely answer: He cares more about shilling for President Obama — who’s practically made socking “millionaires and billionaires” his re-election theme song — than about kicking in more himself.
Buffett’s free to back Obama, of course.
And if his firm wants to keep its tax bill low, well, that’s its right, too.
But it would be nice if this “pro-tax-hike” tycoon were a bit more honest about it.
Hat tip to Gretchen for the article. Now, we’ve had the Voluntarily Pay More Taxes widget on the sidebar for quite some time now, and if Mr Buffett believes he ought to pay more in taxes, he’s perfectly free to do so; he should just leave those who don’t want to pay higher taxes alone. But, what he really should do is to have his company pay the taxes that they already owe.