In an op-ed piece in The New York Times today, billionaire philanthropist Warren Buffett eloquently advocated his belief that the superwealthy should be taxed more and that the government should quit "coddling" them. Here's an excerpt:
Our leaders have asked for "shared sacrifice." But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my megarich 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 megarich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks.
Buffett stated that he was taxed lower than his employees percentage-wise and that although he paid $6,938,744 in taxes last year, it only made up 17.4 percent of his taxable income. Why should he and the other wealthy individuals be protected by the government when the rest of the country is struggling to earn a living? He proposed tax rates should be raised immediately for those making over $1 million, and those who make over $10 million should get an even higher tax rate.
It has long been argued that taxing those in the highest income bracket will lead to less job creation because there is less incentive for them to invest, but Buffett says he and other investors didn't invest less back in the '80s and '90s when tax rates were much higher for the richest. The higher tax rates weren't much of a deterrent. Do you agree with Buffett — is the government "coddling" the rich?