Thanks to MV for passing this along – Warren Buffett has always gone out on limbs and here he goes again. He knows our country – especially our country’s politicians – has lost its way and fairly taxing the most wealthy is exactly what can lead us to the right path. In this article he tells of paying around 17% of his taxable income while many middle-class Americans pay up to 40% of their taxable incomes. Buffett calls it “coddling the rich” and I couldn’t agree more. Coddling those at the very top of our income earning ladder who have acquired the majority of the economic resources in our country makes us a country of extreme Haves and Have-Nots. Those who have abundance wealth enjoy more tax credits and access to powerful people while paying a much smaller overall income tax, and those who are on the bottom 90% of the wealth ladder pay higher taxes, get less from the government in terms of tax credits and safety nets, and end up barely being able to pay their bills and feed their families.
And what about “entitlements”? I have practiced a new response to all those people who tell me that “government entitlement programs must go” before we raise taxes on anyone:
1. Do you own a home? Are you paying a mortgage? Then you are part of (probably the nation’s largest) entitlement program – it’s called your mortgage interest tax credit and in many cases it earns you more per year than a family receives from the government in food stamps per year.
2. Are you, or do you know, someone who owns land registered as agricultural for tax purposes? Wooops. There’s another entitlement program.
3. Have you taken on any home improvement projects to lower energy costs and submitted those receipts for a tax credit? Hmmmm….
4. Do you send your child to private school and live in a state where there is a loophole for claiming that tuition as charitable contributions to an educational institution? There’s another.
5. And what about these entitlements: You are entitled to police security in your community; You are entitled to being protected by a fire department if you need them for any reason; You are entitled to drive and walk on public roads and sidewalks; You are entitled to free and public education from grades Kindergarten through 12. Want to get rid of those too?
We are not yet entitled to any of these things with dignity if we are poor or struggling in any way, but there sure is pride and dignity in receiving that mortgage interest tax credit/entitlement!
Thanks Warren – we need more of you and your fellow billionaires to speak out loudly and clearly.