Billionaire Whiners Wearing Out Their Welcome
We must admit, we’re getting a little tired of bleatings emanating from the likes of Warren Buffet, who last week, frankly made a fool of himself in our view.
First of all, stats issued by the Wall Street Journal, also last week, note that in 2007, some 390,000 tax filers reported adjusted gross incomes of $1 million or more and paid $309 billion in taxes. But in 2009 (notably, after the Big O’s first year at the helm) there were only 237,000 of such filers, a decline of 39%. To Quote the WSJ, “Almost four of ten millionaires vanished in two years, and the total taxes they paid in 2009 declined to $178 billion, a drop of 42%.”
So here comes Buffett in a snarky New York Times editorial contribution, noting that, “Last year my federal tax bill–the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf–was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4% of my taxable income–and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent…..My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.”
It’s nice that Mr. Buffett is so concerned about his country, but writing opinion columns, and stroking Obama’s (already inflated) ego doesn’t achieve much, as we see it. If he’s so concerned about the empty state of government coffers, don’t you think he should just write a big voluntary check to Uncle Sam, and send in a few billion extra, to make up the deficiency in his own tax account about which he seems so very concerned? Seems to us that to do so would be a simple case of putting his dough where his big mouth is.
But even so, stats keep popping up which suggest that even if Buffett and the rest of his under-taxed brethren sent 100% of their incomes to Obama, the impact on the deficit and debt wouldn’t make a gnat blink.
But beyond all of that, the likelihood is that Warren’s woefully low personal tax rate is due to the fact that this is a capitalist country (in case anybody has forgotten, which wouldn’t be surprising, given the attitude emanating daily from the White House), and the tax system has been structured to reward risk takers, for a reason, in the form of a lower long term capital gains tax rate, in comparison to the rate assigned to “ordinary income,” which is typically what Joe Sixpack and many of his contemporaries earn. But even at that, as noted in the introduction to this tome, even the capitalists among us seem to be fewer and farther between since the advent of the present Administration.
And let us not omit the recent sage commentary uttered by our Senior Senator, the Honorable Harry Reid, on this subject, who observes, “The only way we can arrive at a fair arrangement for the American people with this joint committee is to have equal sharing. It’s going to be painful. Each party if they do the right thing, it’s going to be painful for them because to be fair, we have to move forward…..”
CONSULT YOUR TAX ADVISOR – This article contains general information about various tax matters. You should consult your CPA regarding the implications to your own particular situation.
Jeff Quinn, the author of this article, is a shareholder in Ashley Quinn, CPAs and Consultants, Ltd., with offices in Incline Village and Reno. He can be reached at 831-7288, welcomes comments at email@example.com, and invites readers to consider his other commentary at http://blog.nolo.com/taxes/.