Buffett calls for a minimum tax on America's super-rich
Nikhil Kumar is The Independent's New York correspondent. He was formerly assistant editor on the foreign desk and has also done a variety of jobs on the city desk, where he wrote about markets, commodities and other business and economics topics.
Tuesday 27 November 2012
Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor who favours a greater burden on the wealthy, yesterday called for a minimum tax on America's millionaires but proposed a higher threshold for increased taxes on the rich than the one put forward by the White House.
Mr Buffett, who earned the moniker "The Sage of Omaha" as he built Berkshire Hathaway into a multi-billion enterprise through decades of canny investing, hit back at the suggestion the rich would somehow "go on strike" if asked to cough up a little bit more.
"The ultra-rich, including me, will forever pursue investment opportunities," he wrote in a New York Times editorial that came as the President and Republicans on Capitol Hill attempt to reach a deal on averting the so-called "fiscal cliff" of automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that kick in unless agreement is reached by the end of the year.
Among the White House's demands as it attempts to forge a pact with Congress is for an end to Bush-era sops for the super-wealthy.
Mr Buffett, while agreeing in principle with the President's position, said that, unlike the White House, "I prefer a cutoff point somewhat above $250,000 (£156,058) – maybe $500,000 or so".
He also suggested a new minimum tax for the super-rich.
"I would suggested 30 per cent of taxable income between $1m and $10m, and 35 per cent on amounts above that," he explained.
"Only a minimum tax on very high incomes will prevent the stated tax rate from being eviscerated by these warriors for the wealthy," he added, referring to the legion of Washington lawyers and lobbyists employed by the very rich to stymie such changes.
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