Green Room

Warren Buffett: Tax hikes on the rich would be a “morale” boost for the middle class

posted at 1:16 pm on November 28, 2012 by

Liberals regularly insist that their obsession with (job-killing, drop-in-the-deficit-bucket) tax increases on “the rich” has nothing to do with a political strategy centered around class envy.  Perish the thought.  Quoth a certain sitting president, “this is not class warfare; it’s math.”  Over to you, Warren Buffett:

MATT LAUER, TODAY: So bottom line, would raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans have a chilling effect on hiring in this country?

WARREN BUFFETT: No, and I think would have a great effect in terms of the morale of the middle class, who have seen themselves paying high payroll taxes, income taxes. And then they watch guys like me end up paying a rate that’s below that, you know, paid by the people in my office.

A moment of clarity.   Here we have the man after whom the White House’s precious “Buffett Rule” is named letting the truth slip about what’s really at play.  Conservatives have long argued that the Buffett Rule’s trifling impact on revenues and deficits render it useless as a serious policy proposition.  Not so, Democrats indignantly counter, even as they oddly decline to discuss the — ahem — math behind it.  But Buffett himself is essentially conceding the point that actual arithmetic is immaterial in this debate; increasing taxes on wealthy families and successful small businesses is really about making another group of people feel better, if temporarily.  In 2008, Barack Obama famously told Charlie Gibson that he’d favor capital gains tax hikes on the rich even if it resulted in the government taking in less revenue.  Why?  “Fairness,” he explained.  These proposals have never been about “math” at all.  They’ve always been about satisfying an insatiable lefty fetish, practical outcomes be damned.  But remember, Republicans represent the party of rigid dogma, and Democrats inhabit the “reality based community.”

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