It’s a pleasure to see Claire given a nudge to the left that she pays attention to. Seems that Warren Buffett, the second wealthiest man in the world, told Senate Democrats over lunch last Thursday that rich folk need to pay more taxes. He especially took aim at Bush’s cuts to the capital gains tax, which are set to expire next year. Because of those cuts, Buffett:
pays taxes at a lower rate than some of his company’s employees.
It is an argument the investor has made before. Buffett said he paid a 16.5 percent tax rate on all his income because the tax rate on investment dividends and long-term capital gains is only 15 percent.
By contrast, a single employee at Buffet’s firm, Berkshire Hathaway, who earns between $33,000 and $83,000 must pay a 25 percent federal income tax rate.
Claire saw the sense of his take on taxes:
“He said rich people are not paying enough taxes,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.). “It was interesting to see someone who is such an aggressive capitalist, who believes so much in our capitalist system, saying we’ve got the scales way too heavily toward people who are very, very wealthy.”
Ben Nelson (DINO, NE), on the other hand, pooh-poohed the raise-taxes-on-the-wealthy idea, noting that tax is a four letter word. Aside from his difficulty in counting to four, Nelson reminds us, with his reaction to Buffett’s advice, that we could be worse off than McCaskill.
But much as I want Claire paying attention to Buffett on taxes, I have to hope she occasionally spaced out last Thursday, because Buffett is sometimes on the other side from Democrats on policy issues. He has been known to criticize (though he said nothing about it on Thursday) the cap and trade legislation as a “regressive” tax, and he did call the Employee Free Choice Act a “mistake”. Let’s hope Claire’s attention was wandering when he touched on card check.