The media are in love with billionaire Warren Buffett. But it’s not for his charitable donations, nor his wise investing sense – it’s because he’s been on a class warfare crusade calling for more taxes on wealthy Americans.
“[A] billionaire has taken your side over taxes and fairness,” “Good Morning America” host Diane Sawyer said November 15. “The country’s second-wealthiest man, Warren Buffett, was on Capitol Hill yesterday. He wants to know why he pays a smaller percentage in taxes than his receptionist. He’s even offered $1 million to any of his billionaire pals who prove him wrong about their percentage and their receptionist’s percentages. But mostly they’re in hiding over the issue.”
“He’s a good guy,” co-host Robin Roberts said.
Buffett testified before the Senate Finance Committee November 14 arguing against the elimination of the estate tax. He said this tax is necessary because the American people deserve more entitlements.
“We need to raise about 20 percent of the GDP [gross domestic product] to fund the programs the American people want from the national government,” Buffett said. “Further shifting of this requirement away from the super-rich is not the way to go.”
One of reporters’ favorite Buffett talking points has been that he pays a lower tax rate than his receptionist.
“He [Buffett] crunched the numbers,” ABC correspondent Bianna Golodryga said. “Buffett pays 18 percent to the feds. His receptionist, like the rest of his staff, pays nearly twice that – 33 percent – a lopsided equation that put Buffett in a Robin Hood frame of mind.”
But columnist Larry Elder showed that assertion is unlikely, even in the most extraneous of circumstances. If she is in the highest of possible tax brackets, the highest percentage she would pay is 25 percent.
Even giving Buffett the benefit of the doubt with the off-kilter percentages, the bulk of tax revenue comes from the rich anyway because of the progressive U.S. tax system, according to the National Taxpayers Union. The top 5 percent of wage earners (those earning an adjusted gross income of $137,056 or more annually) pay more than half (57.13 percent) of the federal income tax collected.
“Good Morning America” attempted to confront other billionaires on Buffett’s challenge to prove they paid a higher percentage than their receptionists, but there were no takers on interview offers, according to Golodryga.