Video: Warren Buffett evades invitation to support BHO’s version of the Buffett Rule

posted at 5:35 pm on September 30, 2011 by Tina Korbe

Looks like Warren Buffett wants to be tainted by association with the president’s jobs bill about as much as Harry Reid does.

“Are you happy with the way it is being described? Is the program that the White House has presented … your program?” the CNBC anchor asks in the video.

Buffett replies in classic evasive fashion: “Well, the precise program which will — I don’t know what their program will be. My program would be on the very high incomes that are taxed very low. Not just high incomes. Somebody making $50 million a year playing baseball, his taxes won’t change. Make $50 million a year appearing on television, his income won’t change. But, if they make a lot of money and pay a very low tax rate, like me, it would be changed by a minimum tax that would only bring them up to what other people pay.”

And when the anchor presses him, asking if he approves of the president’s plan to raise taxes on all households earning $250,000 or more, Buffett still refuses to give a straight answer.

“That’s another program that I won’t be discussing. My program is to have a tax on ultra-rich people who pay very low tax rates. Not just all rich people. It would probably apply to 50,000 people in a population of 300 million.”

To be sure, declining to support the president’s specific proposals — or clarifying the specifics of his own — doesn’t mean Buffett backed off the principle that prompted the president’s Buffett Rule in the first place. Liberals have been quick to point that out. And in a CNN interview earlier today, Buffett reiterated that his “class” has it easy, tax-wise.

But his oblique answers to the CNBC anchor reveal Buffett understands what too many proponents of “taxing the rich” don’t: Taxes on income and taxes on investment are two different matters. Buffett isn’t necessarily advocating for the same kind of increased income taxes the president wants, but he’s still advocating for punitive tax increases that might do harm to the business climate. In case either he or Obama care to know, Paul Ryan has proposed a better way to do tax reform.

In general, Buffett has little leg to stand on: Not only has he proved himself to be fundamentally unserious about wanting to pay more taxes himself (kinda like those money-grubbing Patriotic Millionaires), but the catchy line he loaned to Obama — that secretaries are paying more in taxes than their bosses — has been struck through by the facts. Buffett’s not shilling for Obama’s jobs plan, at least — but, having comfortably already made his billions, he’s still being disingenuous about the way businesses and individuals respond to tax incentives.

 


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Buffett was pretty clear. He wants taxes on ultrarich like himself raised ONLY on dividends and capital gains. Even straight income for millionaires and billionaires should not be touched.

In other words, he largely disagrees with Obama.

neoavatara on September 30, 2011 at 5:37 PM

Note to self…

… “If Obowma’s White House calls and asks if they can use your name, change your name.”

Seven Percent Solution on September 30, 2011 at 5:41 PM

“Hey, its a great plan as long as it doesn’t affect me!”

BobMbx on September 30, 2011 at 5:43 PM

Warren “filthy-rich-thru-no-current-fault-of-my-own” Buffoon…

Needs to invest in Alzheimer’s research, as he is loosing his faculties PDQ.

singlemalt 18 on September 30, 2011 at 5:44 PM

Buffett is senile.

GarandFan on September 30, 2011 at 5:44 PM

Buffett was pretty clear. He wants taxes on ultrarich like himself raised ONLY on dividends and capital gains. Even straight income for millionaires and billionaires should not be touched.

In other words, he largely disagrees with Obama.

neoavatara on September 30, 2011 at 5:37 PM

We’re talking about income taxes. Buffet has a modest income (low 6 figures). He has enormous holdings which make him wealthy. This tax wouldn’t get near his income.

So WTF does Buffet have to say about any of this?

BobMbx on September 30, 2011 at 5:45 PM

If the ultra rich are to be taxes, why are athletes and television actors excluded?

ladyingray on September 30, 2011 at 5:47 PM

I guess Buffet has this thing for black men.

“May we use your name”…

the_nile on September 30, 2011 at 5:48 PM

Somebody making $50 million a year playing baseball, his taxes won’t change. Make $50 million a year appearing on television, his income won’t change. But, if they make a lot of money and pay a very low tax rate, like me, it would be changed by a minimum tax that would only bring them up to what other people pay.”

So, what he is saying is that they don’t want to punitively tax certain interest groups, just the other ones. Maybe next they will come up with tax rates based on skin color, religion, or country of origin.

Vashta.Nerada on September 30, 2011 at 5:49 PM

What a pathetic response by Buffett. Calling it incoherent and slimy would be an understatement.

David in ATL on September 30, 2011 at 6:07 PM

Somebody making $50 million a year playing baseball, his taxes won’t change. Make $50 million a year appearing on television, his income won’t change.

Yeah, just tax the ones who make a lot of money by running businesses and employing people. Not the ones who make their money in a mostly non-productive professions (who are most likely liberals).

Scrappy on September 30, 2011 at 6:10 PM

Buffett Barf

Kini on September 30, 2011 at 6:16 PM

It’s only a matter of time before ole senile Warren starts asking his wife, “Who’s this black guy that keeps calling me?”

Rational Thought on September 30, 2011 at 6:24 PM

Somebody making $50 million a year playing baseball, his taxes won’t change. Make $50 million a year appearing on television, his income won’t change.

A very telling quote. What a hack this guy is.

CliffHanger on September 30, 2011 at 6:26 PM

Guess he is not wanting to pay the taxes for over 1B he has not paid to the government in his funds? buffet and soros are getting the ‘waiver’ from bho for their mega-bucks to help bho out?
L

letget on September 30, 2011 at 6:36 PM

Buffett is a god and is above reproach.
-Bayam

///

CW on September 30, 2011 at 6:39 PM

For such a smart guy that was pretty weak. What a tool.

CW on September 30, 2011 at 6:42 PM

“Somebody like me who makes money because they are talented and doesn’t use other people, we deserve to keep the money we make.” – Michael Moore (film maker)

ExpressoBold on September 30, 2011 at 6:53 PM

“Somebody like me who makes money because they are talented and doesn’t use other people, we deserve to keep the money we make.” – Michael Moore (film maker)

ExpressoBold on September 30, 2011 at 6:53 PM

Is that an actual quote?

Scrappy on September 30, 2011 at 7:12 PM

Is that an actual quote?

Scrappy on September 30, 2011 at 7:12 PM

.
Why? Can’t you find it?

ExpressoBold on September 30, 2011 at 7:24 PM

Buffett was pretty clear. He wants taxes on ultrarich like himself raised ONLY on dividends and capital gains. Even straight income for millionaires and billionaires should not be touched.

In other words, he largely disagrees with Obama.

neoavatara on September 30, 2011 at 5:37 PM

Buffet never said that he supported Obama’s tax plan. It was Rush and co that made that claim.

bayam on September 30, 2011 at 7:28 PM

Incontinence, of the brain/pants, takes over them but doesn’t quite take them.

Buffet is a hypocritical fool who loves his name on the bill.

He has litigated not paying his taxes for years. Obama and him are LIARS on the “secretary taxes”.

Schadenfreude on September 30, 2011 at 7:34 PM

CW on September 30, 2011 at 6:39 PM

I can tell that you’ve read about Buffet extensively and your objections to him are based on a comprehensive analysis of his investment and political philosophy, not right wing talking points.

It’s hard to believe that people would look up to a man simply because of his exceptional achievements as a capitalist and financier. Joe the Plumber is a much better role model.

And those idiots on Wall Street who keep suggesting that tax rates are too low!

http://www.businessinsider.com/gundlach-presentation-dollars-cents-2011-9#-8

bayam on September 30, 2011 at 7:39 PM

Hey big boy, if you’re so in love with taxes, why has your company been fighting a billion dollar tax bill for the last ten years?

http://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/noel-sheppard/2011/08/29/warren-buffetts-company-hasnt-paid-taxes-years-media-mum

Mumble mouthed moron. Put your money where your mouth is big boy!

itsspideyman on September 30, 2011 at 8:02 PM

he’s still being disingenuous about the way businesses and individuals respond to tax incentives.

Why don’t you read any number of biographies on Buffet and then tell us in more detail how he fails to understand how businesses or capitalism operate. Apparently every major financial institution in the world is run by idiots, as all have either sought out his advise or investment. And you must really disdain those southern conservative idiots running Bank of America who literally gave away the farm to win Buffet’s support.

In response to your specific point, Buffet has made the wild, heretical observation that the fundamental decision to grow a business- for example, to build a new factory- is driven by consumer demand, not tax rates. Imagine that! You might also direct us to any widely accepted analysis that links a policy of lower capital gains taxes to increased investment. (Hint- it doesn’t exist.)

bayam on September 30, 2011 at 8:04 PM

I’m still waiting for this hypocritical old fart to write a check to the IRS.

Typical useful idiot. They never think they’ll be the first against the wall when the new overlords they welcome with open arms take power.

CurtZHP on September 30, 2011 at 8:32 PM

Make $50 million a year appearing on television, his income won’t change.

Put me in the group that says actors need to have their taxes go up. I don’t go to movies because actors (not all, but those like Sarandon and Freeman) shill for Obama and I won’t give them my money. I pay for cable tele but only watch FOX, History, or Military channels.

TulsAmerican on September 30, 2011 at 8:35 PM

As a stockholder of Berkshire, I can say, with no doubt whatsoever, that he is either evil, or senile. No moral person alive supports Obama. Not one.

proconstitution on September 30, 2011 at 8:41 PM

My objection to the Buffett rule is that this proposal is taking up time and oxygen and it’s not a real revenue-raiser. Too few people will be affected — what, 30,000 returns tops?

We’re getting personality-driven, finger-pointing, shame-and-blame strategies from a President with only the most superficial understanding of markets. It’s corporate jets all over again. Optics over substance. He had an opportunity to push for real tax reform, broadening the base and lowering some rates, and making it so the only way to avoid paying income tax is to avoid earning income (from all sources). Instead he decided to kick off his 2012 campaign and make himself look like an economic amateur. Again.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: You’ll know the President’s serious when he stops talking about whom to tax more (generally in direct proportion to their ability to be demonized) and talks more about how to raise revenue (which is necessary) in the least damaging way possible. But he’s not smart enough to have figured that out yet.

DrSteve on September 30, 2011 at 9:28 PM

Hey Warren, why don’t you pay the billion you already owe the IRS!

generouse on October 1, 2011 at 12:44 PM