by Paul Hodges
Last year, Warren Buffett paid only $7m taxes, just 17.4% of his income.
Now he says rich Americans, including himself, should pay more, in order to help reduce US debt. He notes that:
• In 1992, the wealthiest 400 Americans paid 29.2% tax on $16.9bn income
• In 2008, they paid just 21.5%, on incomes of $90.9bn
And he adds:
"People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off. And to those who argue that higher rates hurt job creation, I would note that a net of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000. You know what's happened since then: lower tax rates and far lower job creation."
Buffett says the US should "raise tax rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including of course dividends and capital gains".
This would have impacted just 236,883 households in 2009. He would also like an extra tax on the 8274 households who earn $10m or more.
It will be interesting to see if Congress follows his advice.