Bazillionare Warren Buffett (worth $52 billion) complained to NBC News that he pays a lower income tax rate than his employees and he thinks he should pay more. We have a couple of suggestions for Mr. Buffett so he can stop feeling so guilty.
First, it’s safe to assume Mr. Buffett isn’t doing his own taxes, he makes too much to use a 1040 EZ form and we can’t imagine him in front of a PC using Turbo Tax and he’s not rolling into an H & R Block at noon on April 15th. So we can safely say that he has an accountant, probably a team of accountants, doing his taxes.
Mr. Buffett, since you want to pay more in taxes, we suggest you throw away every receipt you get throughout the year, just chuck them into the trash. At the end of the year you’ll have nothing to write off and your tax rate will increase. Maintenance on your yacht(s) written off as a business expense probably knocks a couple of bucks off your bill, so don’t take it, or anything like it.
Your houses (we assume you have a couple) probably cost a pretty penny and, most likely at the advice of an accountant, you are paying a mortgage instead of having paid straight-up cash. Don’t deduct your interest – any of it. Again, you tax bill goes up.
You recently gave and/or pledged billions to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to provide clean drinking water to poor areas of the world and fight malaria, among other things, and we applaud you for this. But you probably got a healthy deduction for that donation – don’t take it. Up goes your bill.
There are countless loopholes and accounting tricks available to rich guys like you, we don’t know them, but we bet your accountant does (otherwise what are you paying the guy for). Don’t use them. Do a straight-up tax return with no deductions beyond your individual deduction. Your employees are paying a higher tax rate because they don’t have teams of accountants combing through the tens of thousands of pages of the tax code looking for ways to save them money. How this doesn’t occur to you is a mystery. But we’re not done.
There is a good chance that your corporation owns just about everything you own, or at least a good chunk of it. Corporate tax law is just as screwed up at income tax law – opt out! Take all of your income as income, pay yourself a salary! Get taxed on what you get!
Try living like a normal person and not avail yourself of all the advantages out there for you.
Or you could advocate for a flat tax where you couldn’t use those tricks.
Better yet, instead of lamenting the fact that you can’t send more money to Washington, use it for good by investing it in small companies, start up companies all over the country. That would stimulate the economy and, just as importantly, create jobs! Hire people, hire good workers to do good things in good jobs that contribute to society, provide goods and services people want and need. Then roll the billions you make off of that back into the same sort of enterprise, and so on. More people with good jobs, innovation, economy grows, the cycle repeats.
How someone can who has achieved what you’ve achieved, especially in the field in which you’ve achieved it, is mind-boggling.
Why don’t you do what you want Washington to do. If there’s something the government does better than the private sector does, we’ve sure as hell never seen it. Put your money where your mouth is, better yet, put it to work!
This is basic math, sir. You have a brain, you have the ability and you have the knowledge – don’t waste that still set by looking to government. More people working, better jobs, a stimulated economy will all lead to increased revenues to the government anyway. The government is collecting more money now, after the tax cuts you lament, than any time in history – by much more than liberals predicted.
The problem is spending, spending on Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Those 3 programs consumer 2/3rds of the entire budget, and that’s going to increase exponentially as the baby-boomers retire that we need a stimulated economy – and massive reforms of those programs (in a hurry!) – to help us be able to keep anything of what we make.
No offense, but you’ll be long dead by 2040 and those 3 programs consume 100 percent of the federal tax revenues. You want to make a difference, if you’re serious, make one of the companies you start be one that raises awareness of that and the need for reform.
Or just cut us a check for the difference between what you pay and what you think you should pay. We wouldn’t want you losing sleep.