Billionaire Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett has made a splash on the internet with a piece published yesterday in the New York Times.
In the op-ed, entitled "Stop Coddling the Super-Rich," Buffett makes the case that taxes need to be raised on the wealthiest Americans, and that the future of our country economically depends on this action. He writes that the super-rich, himself included, have been "spared" of having to make any real sacrifice:
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.
Buffett makes the argument that most of his "mega-rich" friends "wouldn't mind being told to pay more taxes" if it meant they could help their fellow citizens who are suffering and their country that they love. Buffett's suggestion is this:
I would leave rates for 99.7 percent of taxpayers unchanged and continue the current 2-percentage-point reduction in the employee contribution to the payroll tax. This cut helps the poor and the middle class, who need every break they can get.
But for those making more than $1 million — there were 236,883 such households in 2009 — I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including, of course, dividends and capital gains. And for those who make $10 million or more — there were 8,274 in 2009 — I would suggest an additional increase in rate.
Some of the language he used in the piece is quite direct and has set Twitter ablaze with discussion. His piece is generating so much buzz that he is trending worldwide - as is the phrase "Stop Coddling the Super," an obvious reference to his op-ed title.
Here's the only problem, Twitter: the man you're so fervently discussing isn't an all-you-can eat food trough. Yes, "Warren Buffet" is trending instead of "Buffett." Sigh.
Spelling errors aside, Twitter is a hot spot for economic debate right now - with both sides of the argument being represented. First, the Buffett supporters -
Why our congressional leaders can pack it up and we should hire someone like Warren Buffett to manage our nation's finances: nyti.ms/r6sbra
And the flip side -
The Warren Buffett critique of tax progressivity never accounts for the corporate tax burden borne by investors.
What do you think? Let us know in the comments.