* Says those with $1 million income should pay 30 percent
* Minimum tax would avoid "warriors for the wealthy"
* 2011 editorial inspired the "Buffett Rule"
Nov 26 Warren Buffett, the legendary investor
who changed the debate about U.S. tax reform in 2011 with a call
for the rich to pay more, is now calling for minimum tax rates
In a New York Times editorial printed on Monday, Buffett
suggested Congress move immediately to implement minimum taxes
of 30 percent on incomes of $1 million to $10 million and 35
percent above that.
"A plain and simple rule like that will block the efforts of
lobbyists, lawyers and contribution-hungry legislators to keep
the ultrarich paying rates well below those incurred by people
with income just a tiny fraction of ours," Buffett wrote.
"Only a minimum tax on very high incomes will prevent the
stated tax rate from being eviscerated by these warriors for the
wealthy," he added.
The new push is in keeping with the one he made in the same
newspaper in August 2011, in which he decried the "coddling" of
the super-rich. He used himself and his secretary as an example,
noting that her tax rate was much higher than his even though
her income was just a tiny fraction of what he made.
"Warren Buffett's secretary" became a political meme
following that editorial, and the said secretary, Debbie
Bosanek, was ultimately a guest of President Barack Obama at
this year's State of the Union address.
The 2011 editorial spurred Obama to seek the implementation
of what he called the "Buffett Rule," which set a 30 percent tax
rate on millionaires. Opponents said it would stifle spending by
the job-creating well-to-do, a notion Buffett ridiculed in the
"So let's forget about the rich and ultrarich going on
strike and stuffing their ample funds under their mattresses if
- gasp - capital gains rates and ordinary income rates are
increased," he said. "The ultrarich, including me, will forever
pursue investment opportunities."
Buffett, whom Forbes ranks as the world's third-richest
person, is the chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc
, the ice-cream-to-insurance conglomerate that employs
more than a quarter-million people around the world.
He acknowledged in Monday's editorial that some people like
him might stop investing as they wait for Congress to act.
"In the meantime, maybe you'll run into someone with a
terrific investment idea, who won't go forward with it because
of the tax he would owe when it succeeds," Buffett said. "Send
him my way. Let me unburden him."