Entries in Warren Buffett (8)


Warren Buffett to Match Republicans’ Tax Donations

Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Billionaire Warren Buffett said he will match voluntary tax contributions from Republican members of Congress, and triple that of the Senate Republican leader, Time magazine reported.

In regards to paying less in taxes than those worse off, Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in September said if Buffett, “is feeling guilty about it, I think he should send in a check.”

The CEO of investment firm Berkshire Hathaway, who is worth $39 billion according to Forbes, has long advocated for the rich to contribute a larger share of the country’s tax revenue. He wrote an op-ed in the New York Times in August 2011 regarding tax policy such as advocating for higher taxes on capital gains.

That month, President Obama proposed a plan to reduce the deficit with spending cuts and tax increases on millionaires, dubbed the Buffett Rule.

Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) then introduced the, “Buffett Rule Act,” an option on tax forms allowing the wealthy to donate more in taxes to reduce the deficit.

Buffett told Time for this week’s cover story that he will match Republicans’ voluntary contributions.

“And I’ll even go three for one for McConnell,” Buffett said.

McConnell is worth at least $10 million, Time reports, a drop in the bucket compared to Buffett, who some critics have accused of playing fast and loose with his own taxes over the years.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


GOP Candidates, President Obama Could Pay Higher Taxes under Buffet Rule

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(WASHINGTON) -- Some GOP presidential candidates may have more to lose than political points if the debt super-committee adopts President Obama’s deficit reduction plan, one provision of which would raise taxes on some millionaires to ensure that high-income earners do not pay a lower tax rate than middle-class Americans.

According to his 2010 tax return, Obama’s effective federal income tax rate was about 24 percent. With a reported income of about $1.7 million, the president paid the same rate as a married couple who earned $101,000 after deductions. Under the Buffett Rule, the president would undoubtedly have to pay higher taxes to push his taxable income into the highest 35 percent tax bracket.

GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney would likely have a much heftier tax burden as well because the majority of his income came from his investments, many of which are taxed at a lower rate than salary. Romney is the wealthiest candidate on the GOP primary ballot bringing in between $9.6 million to $40 million in 2010, according to campaign disclosure forms.

By ABC’s approximations, Newt Gingrich reported the second-highest income, totaling between $2.6 million and $2.7 million. Almost all of Gingrich’s income was paid in the form of dividends from his company, Gingrich Productions. Although Gingrich falls into the millionaire category, he probably would not pay significantly higher taxes under the Buffett Rule because dividends are taxed at virtually the same rate as salary.

Herman Cain, on the other hand, could see a fairly large increase in his taxes under Obama’s Buffett Rule because a large portion of his income stream is from less-taxed capital gains. Cain’s disclosure forms showed that he took in between $230,000 and $1.3 million from capital gains in 2010.Cain’s total income for the year was between $1.1 million and $2.4 million, making him the third wealthiest GOP presidential candidate.

Rick Santorum, the fourth-highest paid GOP candidate, would probably not see his tax burden increase significantly because his 2010 income of between $1.4 million and $1.6 million came almost solely from salary. The former Pennsylvania senator earned $1.3 million in consulting and news media contributor fees.

All of Jon Huntsman’s reported income came from his investments, but it was unclear whether the bulk of it would fall under the higher-taxed dividends or lower-taxed capital gains. Huntsman reported earning between $688,700 and $3.7 million in 2010 making him the second wealthiest candidate if his profits came in on the high end of the approximation or the sixth wealthiest if he earned closer to the low end of his reported income range.

Depending on where his income level actually lies, Huntsman may fall short of the Buffett Rule tax increases. The same is true for his fellow GOP contender Ron Paul, who reported earning between $400,000 and $1.3 million in 2010.

About $174,000 of Paul’s income is from his congressional salary, which would theoretically not be taxed at a higher rate under the Buffett Rule.

Neither Perry nor Bachmann would be affected by the Buffett Rule, seeing as their incomes were significantly less than the $1 million threshold.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Cornyn Wants to See Warren’s Buffett’s Money

United States Senate(WASHINGTON) -- Now that President Obama has unveiled the “Buffet Rule” as the key principle behind his deficit reduction plan, one prominent Senate Republican is calling on billionaire Warren Buffet to publicly release his tax returns.

“If he’s going to be the gold standard, so to speak, in terms of what our tax policy should be, let’s look at them,” Senator John Cornyn, R-TX, said to ABC’s Jonathan Karl.

Featured prominently in the Administration’s $2 trillion deficit reduction plan is the “Buffett Rule,” a controversial provision named after Warren Buffett that establishes a minimum tax on Americans making $1 million or more in income.  Ahead of the president’s proposal, Buffett penned an op-ed in the The New York Times called “Stop Coddling the Superrich,” where he argued that he should not be taxed at a lower rate than his non-billionaire staff.

Cornyn suggests the Administration’s proposed “Buffett Minimum Tax” (BMT) is really just a revamped version of the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) – an unpopular measure first adopted in 1969 that was designed to hit the super wealthy.

“Unless we stop this, 30 million middle income tax payers will be affected,” Cornyn said in presumed defense of the middle class.  “It’s an illusion to say we’re only going to tax the rich.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Republicans Blast Obama’s ‘Buffett Rule’

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama has yet to release details of the so-called “Buffett Rule” he plans to introduce Monday, but Republicans already say they aren’t buying it, calling it “class warfare.”

Obama will try to make billionaire Warren Buffett’s name part of the United States tax law.  The White House confirms to ABC News that as part of a speech on long-term deficit reduction, the president will propose a “millionaire’s tax.”

“The Buffett Rule” would require any American making more than a million dollars a year to pay at least the middle class tax rate.  Buffett, one of the richest men in the world who is known as the “Oracle of Omaha,” has for years declared that the rich need to pay more in taxes.

“I think that people at the high end -- people like myself -- should be paying a lot more in taxes,”  he told ABC News in November 2010.  Recently, Buffett wrote in an opinion piece that the country “should stop coddling billionaires.”

The president has been seizing on that position to bolster his argument that the rich need to pay more.

“Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary -- an outrage he has asked us to fix,” the president told a joint session of Congress earlier this month when he revealed his American Jobs Act.

Here is how the president’s plan might work using Buffett as an example:  A few years ago, Buffett said his secretary made $60,000 and paid 29 percent in taxes.  The billionaire made $46 million but only paid 17 percent in taxes, about $8 million.  Under the millionaire tax, if Buffett paid that middle class rate of 29 percent, he would owe another $5.5 million in taxes.

Republicans rejected and mocked Buffet’s argument.

“If he’s feeling guilty about it I think he should send in a check … But we don’t want to stagnate this economy by raising taxes,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday on NBC’s Meet the Press.

“The Buffet Rule” will be just part of long-term deficit reduction and tax reform plan the president will propose in a speech Monday, the White House said.  Obama has long contended that the rich need to contribute more.  It is a populist plan and polls have found it has general support among Americans.

Republicans, however, call it divisive.

“Class warfare will simply divide this country more.  It will attack job creators, divide people and it doesn’t grow the economy,” Rep. Paul Ryan said on FOX News Sunday.  “Class warfare may make for really good politics, but it makes for rotten economics.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Taxes: Michele Bachmann vs. Warren Buffett

Win McNamee/Getty Images(GREENVILLE, S.C.) -- Michele Bachmann rejected Warren Buffett’s plea for the wealthy to pay more in taxes.

“We also believe, unlike Warren Buffett, that taxes are high enough already,” said Bachmann at a campaign event in South Carolina.

Buffett’s argument was that because of lower rates on certain types of income, like capital gains made in the stock market, he pays a far lower tax rate -- percentage of his annual income -- than his secretary.

“I have a suggestion. Mr. Buffett, write a big check today," said Bachmann. "There’s nothing you have to wait for. As a matter of fact the president has redefined millionaires and billionaires as any company that makes over $200,000 a year. That’s his definition of a millionaire and billionaire. So perhaps Mr. Buffett would like to give away his entire fortune above $200,000. That’s what you want to do? Have at it. Give it to the federal government. But don’t ask the rest of us to have our taxes increased because you want to have a soundbite. We want to have real job creation in this country and that’s what we’ll stand for as fiscal conservatives.”

Bachmann’s own soundbite is not entirely accurate. Buffett did not suggest no one could make more than $200,000. President Obama has said he wants Bush-era tax cuts for those individuals making more than $200,000 and families making more than $250,000 to expire after next year. But those people would not have to hand over every dollar made over $200,000 -- just a higher percentage of that income. And, if the Bush-era tax cuts expire, they’d have to hand over a higher percentage of money made on the stock market.

She would prefer to lower tax rates for the rich and broaden the tax base, making more Americans pay tax. Currently, nearly half of Americans -- those at the lower end of the economic spectrum - do not pay income tax.

The president during the debt ceiling debate also endorsed closing tax loopholes that benefit corporate jet owners and others.

But the White House is betting that Americans won’t mind some tax hikes if it can help close the budget gap, as the president’s top campaign adviser told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos after Republican presidential candidates all said last week they would reject even tax hikes that were offset 10-1 by spending cuts.

Buffett caused a stir with the argument, published in The New York Times, that the rich should pay more in taxes. And he’s trying to influence the “super committee” of lawmakers tasked by Congress with suggesting a solution for the nation’s deficit woes.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Confers with Billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffett

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama invited Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and investment mogul Warren Buffett to the Oval Office Tuesday to discuss a number of issues, including ideas to generate economic growth, and investing in education to better prepare the next generation of Americans.

The White House says Gates’ wife, Melinda Gates, also took part.  The meeting also focused on the trio’s “Giving Pledge,” an initiative that encourages the country’s richest citizens to commit a majority of their wealth to philanthropy.

President Obama has consulted with Buffett several times about economic issues but hasn't always followed the billionaire’s recommendations.  Buffett has previously stated that he favored allowing the Bush-era tax cuts for the nation’s wealthiest individuals to expire at the end of 2010, a viewpoint Obama had before reversing himself in a compromise with GOP leaders on Capitol Hill.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Warren Buffett: Bush-Era Tax Cuts Should Expire, Economy on Rise

Photo Courtesy - Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Time Inc.(WASHINGTON) -- As the debate over the extension of the Bush-era tax cuts heats up in Washington, one of the world's richest men has weighed in on the debate over taxes.

Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, said that the rich should be paying more taxes and that the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy should be left to expire at the end of December.

"If anything, taxes for the lower and middle class and maybe even the upper middle class should even probably be cut further," Buffett said in an exclusive interview with ABC’s This Week with Christiane Amanpour. “But I think that people at the high end -- people like myself -- should be paying a lot more in taxes. We have it better than we've ever had it."

Buffett said the U.S. government took the correct actions in September 2008 to avoid a cataclysmic financial collapse.

"I'm in 70 some businesses at Berkshire so I get figures every day on what's going on. And, week by week, things are getting a little better," he said. "If you look at the year 2010 right straight through, our businesses have generally been on a mildly upward trajectory. Not the ones connected with homebuilding. But, if you take the other 70, they have gotten better."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Billionaire Warren Buffett: Bush-Era Tax Cuts for Rich Should Expire

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(OMAHA, Neb.) -- Warren Buffett says that the rich should be paying more taxes and that the Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthy should be left to expire at the end of December.

"If anything, taxes for the lower and middle class and maybe even the upper middle class should even probably be cut further," Buffett told ABC News. "But I think that people at the high end -- people like myself -- should be paying a lot more in taxes. We have it better than we've ever had it."

The billionaire brushed aside Republican arguments that letting tax cuts expire for the wealthy would hurt economic growth.

"The rich are always going to say that, you know, just give us more money and we'll go out and spend more and then it will all trickle down to the rest of you. But that has not worked the last 10 years, and I hope the American public is catching on," Buffett explained.

The White House announced on Wednesday that President Obama will award Buffett a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, early next year.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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