Monday, August 22, 2011

Obama's Rich and Warren Buffett's Rich Are Two Different Animals

For years, the liberal mantra has always been to tax the rich. But, ever since Obama began running for the Presidency in 2007, he and his fellow Democrats have started defining the "rich" as those "millionaires and billionaires" making more than $200,000 a year and those married couples with incomes above $250,000. In support of their liberal "tax the rich" beliefs, the Democrats have always been able to point to Warren Buffett, a true multi-billionaire, who has, over and over again, publicly complained that the rich aren't pulling their true share of the tax load.

However, what everyone seems to miss in the Democrat's "use" of Buffett as an argument in support of raising taxes on the rich, is how different Buffet's definition of the rich is in comparison to theirs. When Buffett talks of raising taxes on the rich, he's talking about the super-rich and the mega-rich; those making a million dollars or more a year. In fact, the title of his last op-ed piece on the subject was: "Stop Coddling the Super-Rich" (Click here to See Story). Warren Buffett isn't at all talking about taxing people who make more than $200,000 a year. If you read that op-ed closely, you would see he complains that the people in his office are being taxed an average of 36 percent; when he only pays 17%. But, to put that 36% tax rate into context, our current tax laws say that you have to make at least $379,150, after all deductions, to even be taxed at a rate of 35%; let alone a 36% rate.

What Buffett is really complaining about is how, he, and the other super-rich can "game" the tax codes through income offsets and deferments, tax deductions, and tax-sheltering techniques. Buffet pays a lower tax rate because he chooses not to take a true salary; but, instead, relies heavily on capital gains as a good chunk of his income. That keeps his tax rate low. What Buffet is simply saying in that op-ed is that, if the tax laws were streamlined without all the benefits for different types of incomes and for incomes from certain types of operations, the system would be fairer and the tax revenues would be higher.

Lastly, if the Democrats simply let the so-called Bush "tax cuts for the rich" expire, all of Buffett's office people would see a tax hike because they would all fall within the Democrat's definition of the "rich". All those "36% tax-bracketed" people would then see their average tax bills rise to 40%. And as for Mr. Buffett? I'll bet anything that his own tax rate would remain the same because many of the tax breaks he now affords himself of would still be in place. So much for the Democrat's B.S. of taxing the rich! After all, they do need Buffett's money whenever elections roll around.

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