I absolutely love this OpEd that Warren Buffett did for the New York Times about just how ridiculous it is that we don’t tax the super rich more than we do here in America today.
And just for the record, if you haven’t heard of him, Warren Buffett is the third richest man in the world, so who better than him to finally bring this to light?!
It’s hard to argue with the idea that despite making an exponentially larger income than even the other people in his own office, his tax rate was still roughly half that of the worker bees beneath him at 17.4%. Why should income be taxed different simply based on how it was earned (i.e. capital gains vs. regular wages)? Sure, the arguments are that people will just take their investments elsewhere if investment taxes are raised and that giving these breaks allows for these companies to create new jobs … except that as Buffett address both: “No, they won’t…” and, well, “No, they won’t!”
Our own local governor here in Florida, Rick Scott, is one of these guys hell bent on eliminating corporate taxes because he thinks that the companies will then pass those savings right on to us consumers. Funny, when the taxes to run the FAA expired a few weeks ago, did the majority of airlines pass those savings on and save consumers anywhere from $25-50/flight?! Nope – they pocketed the difference until everything was reinstated, hemming and hawing about how tough it is to be a big, bad corporation the whole way.
Now I don’t want this to get into a thing about how corporations vs. individuals except to make the point that most are only looking out for themselves and their own bottom lines. They’re doing what they do to make money, and in a time when layoffs and downsizing are tools to maximize profits (as opposed to innovation and moving forward), it’s silly to think that letting these guys off easy is ever going to actually help the American people. Instead, we should be taxing them as much as possible because boy, do we have a lot of ground to make up after subsidizing their businesses over the last several decades!
Ultimately it’s kind of sad that we don’t have more entrepenuers like Warren Buffett, eager to make boatloads of money but also patriotic enough to be willing to pay maybe a little more than his share just because he can. Of course, of the 400 richest people in America of which he speaks, no doubt only a fraction of those share his philanthropic views – likely the same billionaires who’ve pledged to give their wealth to greater causes in the future – with the rest clinging onto their money as a status symbol and a social differentiator. Call it socialism, call it acting as a society that supports and cares for each other – if the big guy isn’t willing to help out when the little guy is in trouble, then he isn’t really much of a member of society at all.
At least not one that I want to live in…