Donald Trump would be willing to pay more in taxes, he said today in response to Warren Buffett’s news-making op-ed in The New York Times and to President Barack Obama’s exhortation to “put country first.” But, unlike Buffett, Trump doesn’t think all tax hikes are a good idea, economically speaking, because less “patriotic” business “machines” would be apt to take their business outside of the country. National Journal reports:

“I’d be willing [to pay higher taxes],” Trump said on Wednesday, responding to Buffett’s op-ed on ABC’s Good Morning America. “I put country first. A lot of people don’t necessarily put country first…. In many cases, they’re not patriotic. They’re business machines. And they’re going to say, ‘Thank you very much, I appreciate you letting us know. We’re moving to Switzerland.’”

Trump said there would be a “mass exodus” of business if the tax rates were raised. However, he did say that keeping tax breaks for big oil companies would be a mistake. “For us to be subsidizing oil companies is absolutely insane,” he said, breaking from many tea partiers and Republicans who do not want taxes raised on businesses or individuals.

“When [it’s] explained to the tea party, I can’t imagine anyone will stick up for Exxon Mobil or some of these big oil companies making a fortune and paying relatively little in taxes,” Trump said.

Obviously, the nation needs tax reform. The tax system shouldn’t be used to play political favorites. But, in the meantime, the demonization of the rich has got to stop — and presumably well-meaning men like Trump need to stop playing into the hands of those who buy the lie that the rich don’t deserve to keep what they earned solely because they’ve earned more than the rest of us. And, as has been said over and over again, nothing is stopping Warren Buffett or Donald Trump from voluntarily giving more money to the federal government. In fact, that gesture would mean far more anyway as it would signify an over-and-above abundant kind of generosity rather than the mere fulfillment of obligation.