Legendary investor Warren Buffett sharply contradicted boilerplate Republican warnings against raising taxes on the wealthy today in a New York Times op-ed piece that called for Congress to “stop coddling the super-rich” and “get serious about shared sacrifice.” Buffett’s letter comes on the heels of recent party selections for the new congressional debt super committee, which is tasked with cutting $1.5 trillion from the budget over the next 10 years and was created in the aftermath of the disappointing debt ceiling compromise. Noting that Washington legislators doggedly protect the very rich “as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species,” Buffett dismissed the prevalent conception that the taxation discourages big investment, and disputed claims that higher taxes prevent job creation with statistics from the 1980s and 1990s. Observing the financial burden already borne by the lower and middle classes, the “Oracle of Omaha” advocated tax increases for those earning more than $1 million annually, and higher tax rates for those earning more than $10 million. Will this financial advice from the third richest man in the world discredit GOP economic claims and soften its intractable position on new revenues? Or will lawmakers fight over the same old issues as they struggle to slash the nation’s massive budget deficit?
Mike Lapham, director, Responsible Wealth Project
Mattie Corrao, federal affairs manager, Americans for Tax Reform