Is Warren Buffett’s tax plan being presented correctly?

Posted By on October 1, 2011

I saw a CNBC interview with Warren Buffett the other day and didn’t realized just how twisted the “tax the rich” ideas had become. I’m not saying that I agree with either Warren Buffett or President Obama’s new tax proposals, buffett-illustrationBUT I was surprised to have them being reported as nearly one in the same by most of the media … as well as those political partisans seeing this as benefitting them (both far left and right).

I’m including a couple questions asked of Mr. Buffett (below), one answer, that in my view, shows a significant difference between the Buffett Plan and the Obama’s proposal. Buffett didn’t answer the support or not question directly, but drew pretty significant distinctions between taxing the über-rich, who earn the majority of their income from capital gains, and the working-rich who earn their multi-millions via earned income (IRS definition). With this distinction made, it doesn’t sound as if he is endorsing higher taxes on the majority of small business or for that matter the majority of high income Americans. After explaining his ideas, he then also stated that President Obama’s plan to raise taxes on households with incomes over $250,000 is “another program.”

CNBC: Is the program that the White House has presented a million dollars and over your program? "

Buffett: "Well, the precise program which will — I don’t know what their program will be. My program would be on the very high incomes that are taxed very low. Not just high incomes. Somebody making $50 million a year playing baseball, his taxes won’t change. Make $50 million a year appearing on television, his income won’t change. But, if they make a lot of money and they pay a very low tax rate, like me, it would be changed by a minimum tax that would only bring them up to what the other people pay."

CNBC: "Does that mean you disagree with the president’s new jobs proposal which would be paid for by raising taxes on households with incomes of over $250,000?"

Buffett: "That’s another program that I won’t be discussing. My program is to have a tax on ultra-rich people who are paying very low tax rates. Not just all the rich people. It would probably apply to 50,000 people in a population of 300 million."

Does the average voter detect this difference … or is the Obama administration (and media folks who support them) deceptively misleading the public that their tax proposals are those of the Oracle of Omaha?


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  1. lacking in consistency, constancy, or visible order, disconnected; fitful: desultory conversation.
  2. digressing from or unconnected with the main subject; random: a desultory remark.
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