Earlier last week, an op-ed entitled “Stop Coddling the Super-Rich,” written by entrepreneur-extraordinaire Warren Buffett, was published in The New York Times. It came as a surprise to me what he wrote.
He wrote of the unnecessary tax breaks that he and his fellow mega-rich friends receive. According to Buffett, in 2010, he paid only 17.4 percent of his taxable income (a high sum of $6,938,744), while others in his office shared a tax burden from 33 percent to 41 percent.
He wrote of our leaders asking citizens to share the sacrifice; yet, Buffett and other individuals with deep pockets remain spared.
And finally, he wrote regarding the job of 12 members of Congress. The task of this 12-member committee will be to turn around our country’s sagging financial state. Buffet suggested that this committee look into ways to cut taxes for the poor and middle classes and look into ways to fairly raise the taxes of the wealthy.
Buffett went as far as to say, “for those making more than $1 million … I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million.” He elaborated further, “…and for those who make $10 million or more … I would suggest an additional increase in rate.”
Lately, Buffett has been lambasted by Republican leaders, talk show hosts and television hosts as well as many others for his views. One such host posed the extreme question, “What is this, is he completely a socialist?”
Pardon me for my extremist views, but that is just a bunch of horse manure.
Some feel that that tax breaks for the rich will entice them to create more jobs, to invest more in other capitalistic ventures. Yet, and as Buffett points out, in the ’80s and ‘90s when the taxes were higher for the rich, there weren’t many complaints made. Seven million may seem like an outrageous amount of money to you and me, but to the rich like Buffet and Bill Gates, that amount is like a drop of water in the ocean.
“I would note that a net of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000,” Buffet stated. “You know what’s happened since then: lower tax rates and far lower job creation.”
I am certain that entrepreneurs don’t become entrepreneurs to obtain those elusive tax breaks. Entrepreneurs desire the challenge, the risk, and, of course, the potential gain of a successful entrepreneurial endeavor.
I couldn’t agree more with Mr. Buffett. I also couldn’t agree more with the second section of the Declaration of Independence, which reads:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
Taxes are necessary for a functional society. As United States citizens, we have the obligation to pay up—that everyone pay their fair share. The rich have been unnecessarily overprotected for too long. We are facing an exigent financial crisis and we are inundated with debt. Something has got to give; why not start with the rich?