A lot of people are talking about what Warren Buffett just said on CNBC because it sounded controversial, like he might have disagreed with Obama’s tax and stimulus plans.
Eric Cantor’s communication director Brad Dayspring, for example, has been tweeting up a storm on the matter.
So let’s look at what he said and what it means.
Are you happy that Obama used your name for the “Buffett rule?” Andrew Ross Sorkin asks Buffett.
Buffet said, “Sure, I mean, I wrote about it.”
ARS then asked if Buffett agreed with Obama’s tax plan.
“I don’t know what their program will be,” he said, “but MY program would be on the very high incomes that are taxed very low – not just high incomes, not just some guy making $50 million playing baseball, his taxes won’t change. Make $50 million appearing on TV, his income won’t change. But if they make a lot of money and they pay a very low tax rate, like me, it would be changed by a minimum tax that would only bring them up to what the other people pay.”
ARS: Does that mean you disagree with Obama’s new jobs proposal which will be paid for by raising taxes on taxes on houses with incomes over $250,000?
Buffett: “No – that’s another program that I won’t be discussing. My program is to have a tax on ulta rich people who are paying very low tax rates, not just all the rich people, and it would probably apply to 50,000 people.
ARS: That means you disagree with the president? (ARS gets really excited about this.)
Buffett: “No no, you may disagree, but … I will look at the overall plan that gets submitted to Congress, which they are voting on, and decide net, do I like it, or do I not like it.
“And there’s no question there will be parts I disagree with,” he said.
ARS: “But are you a supporter of his jobs plan right now?”
Buffett: “I am a supporter of the action he’s trying to get Congress to join him in taking to really do something rather than sit there and go in different directions -“
ARS: “But you agree with all the details?”
Buffett: “I haven’t looked at all the details.”
At first Buffett said he won’t comment on it, and then he said he’d look at the final plan that was proposed to Congress and make his decision after that.
So he didn’t throw Obama under the bus – he straddled both sides of the road – but it sounds like he might not endorse the tax plan that Obama asks Congress to support.