In his op-ed in today's The New York Times, billionaire investor Warren Buffett reiterated his case for higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans, calling for a minimum tax rate of 30% on people making more than $1 million a year and 35% for those making more than $10 million a year.
After pointing out that no one, with the possible exception of Grover Norquist, ever turned down a good investment opportunity because the tax rate on the capital gain would be too high, Buffett argued, "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. The ultrarich, including me, will forever pursue investment opportunities."
Imposing a minimum tax rate on high incomes, "...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 said. "Only a minimum tax on very high incomes will prevent the stated tax rate from being eviscerated by these warriors for the wealthy."
While Buffett was unsparing in his criticism of those earning the highest incomes, he also suggested modifications to President Obama's plan to raise taxes on incomes over $250,000. "I support President Obama's proposal to eliminate the Bush tax cuts for high-income taxpayers," Buffett wrote. "However, I prefer a cutoff point somewhat above $250,000 - maybe $500,000 or so," recognizing that, in some parts of the country (not Omaha), $250,000 barely covers a middle-class lifestyle.