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Warren Buffett is out with a NYT op-ed calling for a minimum tax on the rich.We’ll get to his specifics in a second, but the part that will get the most attention is his intro, where he calls out Grover Norquist, the powerful activist who gets Republicans to “pledge” that they’ll never raise taxes.
Buffett writes that what Norquist doesn’t get is that no businessman would ever turn down a good, profitable deal due to tax rates.
SUPPOSE that an investor you admire and trust comes to you with an investment idea. “This is a good one,” he says enthusiastically. “I’m in it, and I think you should be, too.”
Would your reply possibly be this? “Well, it all depends on what my tax rate will be on the gain you’re saying we’re going to make. If the taxes are too high, I would rather leave the money in my savings account, earning a quarter of 1 per cent.” Only in Grover Norquist’s imagination does such a response exist.
With the fiscal cliff debate heating up, criticism of Grover Norquist and his influence is growing louder.
This weekend, a few different Republicans said they would consider violating the Norquist pledge as part of a Fiscal Cliff deal. That’s leading to (possibly premature) headlines about how his influence is on the “wane.”
As for Buffett’s proposed ideas, he calls on Congress to establish a minimum 30 per cent on tax on incomes between $1 million and $10 million, and for a 35 per cent tax rate on incomes above that. As for existing proposals from the Obama administration that call on the rate to revert to pre-Bush levels for those making $250,000 or above, Buffett suggests a slightly higher threshold, perhaps even as high as $500k. He also says the government should aim for a policy of taking in 18.5 per cent of GDP in taxes, while spending 21.5 per cent of GDP.
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