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Buffett: Stop coddling the super rich

Aug 15 2011 13:19 Reuters

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New York -  Billionaire Warren Buffett urged lawmakers to raise taxes on the country's super rich to help cut the budget deficit, saying such a move will not hurt investments.

"My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It's time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice," The 80-year-old "Oracle of Omaha" wrote in an opinion article in The New York Times.

Buffett, one of the world's richest men and chairperson of conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, said his federal tax bill last year was $6 938 744.

"That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4% of my taxable income - and that's actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33% to 41% and averaged 36%," he said.

Lawmakers engaged in a partisan battle over spending and taxes for more than three months before agreeing on August 2 to raise the $14.3 trillion US debt ceiling, avoiding a US default.

"Americans are rapidly losing faith in the ability of Congress to deal with our country's fiscal problems. Only action that is immediate, real and very substantial will prevent that doubt from morphing into hopelessness," Buffett said.

Buffett said higher taxes for the rich will not discourage investment.

"I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone - not even when capital gains rates were 39.9% in 1976-77 - shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain," he said

"People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off."
warren buffett  |  us debt  |  deficit  |  taxes
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