Warren Buffett has a great op-ed in today's Times, in which he says it is time for Washington to extend the "shared sacrifice" we hear so much about to the rich, including himself:
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.
These and other blessings are showered upon us by legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species. It’s nice to have friends in high places.
Buffett doesn't hide anything either. He breaks out the raw numbers. Last year Buffett paid 17.4% in federal taxes, while the employees in his office paid an average 36%.
Stop and think about that for a moment. The tax burden for the richest people in this country is more than 1/2 of what the bottom 99% of this country carries. Not only that, but we have a big name in the top 1% here saying that it isn't fair to the rest of us and must be changed.