Well, at least equalize the rates at a minimum. But as you read from CNN, he seems to be suggesting something more at least for a certain means of income earning.
From the Washington Post:
Buffett cited himself, the third-richest person in the world, as an
example. Last year, Buffett said, he was taxed at 17.7 percent on his
taxable income of more than $46 million. His receptionist was taxed at about 30 percent.
A populist tone permeated the 70-minute talk with the billionaire
investor and philanthropist in Manhattan on Tuesday night. The
talk, given to about 600 Wall Street bankers and money managers, raised at least $1 million for Clinton’s presidential campaign,…
Buffett said that he and other privileged Americans must do more to help the less fortunate.
“We have the chance in 2008 to repair a lot of damage,” Buffett said.
CNN has this take on the speech:
The … chairman touched on a variety of issues in a question and answer session
with Clinton, including his disdain for private equity firm power brokers.
“The people that earn their living doing that should be subject to taxes that reflect their labors,” he said in the gathering at a hotel in midtown Manhattan.
Buffett said he makes $46 million a year in income and is only taxed at a 17.7 percent rate on his federal income taxes. By contrast, those who work for him, and make considerably less, pay on average about 32.9 percent in taxes – with the highest rate being 39.7 percent.
“I’m willing to bet anyone in this room $1 million that those rates are less than the secretary has to pay,” said Buffett.
Does he really mean it? I think he does. Unfortunately, just raising the tax rates is not going to solve the problem when the problem is pay. Raising the rates is a start, it will help with the deficit issue but it will do little for those who are earning a majority of their income via wages (which is 95% of the citizens if you recall my posts of the past). It does nothing to reverse the shift in share of income. If people in Mr. Buffet’s income bracket are truly concerned about the people, they can start by paying their help more. Doing such would be a true expression of the founders concept of freedom, that is the economic freedom part of the concept. Unfortunately I do not read anywhere of anyone suggesting that. Instead they seem to be focusing on a paternal benevolent model of helping the less fortunate (those earning less than the Wall Street Bankers).