Warren Buffett wants to pay higher taxes

Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, testifies before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission on June 2, 2010. AP Photo

Warren Buffett
AP Photo

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett wants to pay higher taxes.

In an op-ed in the New York Times, the chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway urged politicians in Washington to raise taxes on the "mega-rich" who have been "coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress."

Buffett, who has repeatedly argued for higher taxes on the rich, said the tax rate on his 2010 taxable income was about 17.4 percent, lower than any of the other people who work for him. Their rates ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent, he said.

The oracle of Omaha, as he is known, called on the newly-created "super committee" of 12 lawmakers tasked with improving the nation's fiscal health to immediately raise taxes on the richest 0.3 percent of Americans, though he declined to specify what he thinks the rate should be.

Buffett said the notion that capital gains tax rates should be lower than taxes on wages because it promotes investment is folly.

"People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off," Buffett wrote.

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

Buffett said that the tax rates on his investment income were higher in the 1980s and 1990s than they are today and that has resulted in fewer jobs.

"I would note that a net of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000. You know what's happened since then: lower tax rates and far lower job creation," he wrote.


CBS MoneyWatch Editor-at-Large Jill Schlesinger seeks to clarify how much money those higher rates could raise.

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    CBSNews.com Deputy Politics Editor Corbett B. Daly is based in Washington. He has worked at Reuters, Thomson Financial News and CBS MarketWatch.

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