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What Warren Buffett is really talking about when he talks about more taxes for the rich

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Want a little billionaire backlash with your daily dose of economic turmoil? Maybe you do, if the billionaire backlash you're talking about involves Warren Buffett as something of a class warrior. The Oracle of Omaha recently took to the opinion page of the New York Times to argue that it's high time we stopped protecting the "mega-rich," as if they were "spotted owls or some other endangered species."

Endangered species! Don't put too fine a point on it, Warren! In fact, the mega-rich – whom Buffett effectively defines as "making more than $1 million" a year – are anything but endangered, under the current tax code. Their long-term capital gains taxes have been a modest 15 percent since 2003 (before that, they were taxed at about 28 percent, and in the 1970s, nearly 40 percent). And that's stayed the same through the financial crisis and a change in administration at the White House.


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