Today’s editorial cartoon was inspired by a blog post from Jeff Jena that blasted Billionaire Warren Buffet for his pittance of a challenge to Republicans in Congress. Now on one hand, I agree with Buffet that certain tax shelters need to be right sized. CEOs who take little salary yet rake in stock options because Capital Gains are charged at a lower rate than income. In the late 80’s and 90’s that rate was closer to 30% and now it is somewhere around 15% so there is precedent for a higher rate. And we are familiar with the notion that Buffet paid less as a percent of income in taxes than his secretary. Maybe Warren should start paying her in stock instead.
A Republican pushed through the Buffet Rule Act that gives individuals an option on the tax form allowing them to give more to the IRS to lower the national debt. Buffet responded saying he would match any Congressional Republican’s donations to the debt dollar for dollar. While it can be looked at as a “put your money where your mouth is” bet, it is CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP on his part.
Based on recent data, Buffet’s net worth is somewhere around $50 billion and the entirety of Congress is around $2 Billions (well overpaid but still 25x less than Buffet). Let’s put that in perspective you and I could understand. It would be the same as someone earning $100,000 a year (Person A) saying he would match dollar for dollar in donations that someone earning just $4,000 (Person B) did. Let’s say they each donate $1000. That is only 1% of Person A’s income while it is 25% of Person B’s. $1000 to Person A is nothing so even if all the Republican’s in Congress donated 100% of their yearly income, it wouldn’t even put the slightest dent in Warren’s pocketbook.