The Buffett tax

Today President Obama announced yet another tax proposal to reduce out debt.  This tax increase is only on the real millionaires and billionaires.  The thousandaires (i.e. those making more than $200,000 whose taxes will rise if the Bush tax cuts expire, as the President desires) won’t have to worry about this new proposal.

The Buffett tax is the result of gabillionaire Warren Buffett’s statement that his tax rate is lower than his secretary’s.  The reason that is true I’ll leave for another post, but, let’s look at the President’s proposal. 

The President wants to establish a minimum tax rate for the true millionaires and billionaires presumably to insure that the Warren Buffetts of this country pay the same tax rate as the Warren Buffett secretaries of this country.  So far, the President hasn’t told us what that minimum tax rate is, but, whatever it is, it will do little to reduce the debt,  assuming, of course, that the President intends to use any of it on debt reduction.

In 2009, we had 22,000 taxpayers who earned more than $1 million a year.

Those earners are expected to pay an average of $845,000 this year…

Let’s say the President doubles their taxes… we are $15 trillion in debt, so an extra $845,000 per year in taxes multiplied by 22,000 taxpayers will erase our debt in… My head hurts.

But, something else occurs to me, and that is the President’s choices.  First he appointed Timothy Geithner as his Secretary of the Treasury (the man in charge of the IRS), and soon thereafter, we learned that Mr. Geithner did not pay all of the taxes he owed. 

Now we have the President pointing to his friend Warren Buffett as someone who wants taxes to increase.  Mr. Buffett is currently contesting tax returns going back to 2002.  And, if the IRS is correct, Mr. Buffett owes close to $1 billion in back taxes.

Personally, it’s hard to take the President seriously on taxes when Geithner and Buffett are his “go to” guys.


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The Sound Off Sister was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and special trial attorney for the Department of Justice, Criminal Division; a partner in the Florida law firm of Shutts & Bowen, and an adjunct professor at the University of Miami, School of Law. The Sound Off Sister offers frequent commentary concerning legislation making its way through Congress, including the health reform legislation passed in early 2010.


  1. Shared Sacrifice on September 19, 2011 at 8:12 pm

    Chuck Woolery has the solution- and looks very presidential too!??

  2. SoundOffSister on September 19, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    I am sorry.? I neglected to give you the answer.? With the Buffett tax?in?my above “doubling” example,?we would be able to pay off our current debt in 806 years, assuming, of course that all budgets for the next 806 years were balanced.

  3. Shared Sacrifice on September 19, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    Maybe I’ve watched too much Columbo, but something’s bothering me…? You just gave “the answer” but there didn’t appear to be any questions or question marks in your post.? But please don’t feel like you’re a suspect because the real criminal is in the white house…

  4. essneff on September 19, 2011 at 10:53 pm

    This is simply generation theft…… Warren Buffett , who?is praised to the heavens for his charitable contributions should be thanking the tax code as the reason that his “INVESTMENTS NOT HIS EARNED?INCOME”? is the reason he can?make these charitable contributions….?he kind of reminds me of Andy DeVine when I hear him… an ?awh shucks type of guy….. and then you hear that Berkshire Hathaway is fighting the Feds on corporate taxes owed from as far back as 2002!!!?? What happened to shared sacrifice?? ?O’Reilly?or should I say “Talking Points” had it right for a change tonight,?Talking Points income is taxed at 36% fed & another 7% if TP lived in CT…… Talking Points is a?shrewd investor….. after the 43% fed & state hit, TP buys some stock,which could go up or down……. if ?TP’s investments?make money after 12 months, the profits are taxed at 15% even though they were purchased with dollars afyer a 43% hit??….. ??the fact that Jingles, I mean Warren Buffet doesn’t take a salary & all his income is from stock investments?reveals how bogus his & our young socialist president’s?arguement is…… what miserable hypocrites!!??

  5. sammy22 on September 19, 2011 at 11:36 pm

    I think the idea is to reduce budget deficits, not eliminate the national debt.

    • essneff on September 20, 2011 at 12:13 am

      sammy….. really?…… the first failed stimulus put 8,500,ooo,000 of new debt?on to the backs of your kids & grandkids & their kids & grandkids…….. CUT SPENDING…….? that $800.5 billion failed stimulus should not be added to the present budget baseline &?is criminal….. these tax increase proposals?will not reduce the debt….. we need the economy to grow…….. we are becoming Greece…… why can’t you see that????

    • Dimsdale on September 20, 2011 at 3:29 pm

      ?bama wants to reduce the deficit by putting us in more debt.? Industrial strength stupid.? Do you borrow on your credit card to pay credit card bills?
      An economic cutting off of your head to spite your face?

  6. Tim-in-Alabama on September 20, 2011 at 1:23 am

    Looks like another stupid idea from Bumpy Barry O’Bama is the new whipping boy for this blog.

  7. winnie on September 20, 2011 at 6:49 am

    I think Buffett should increase his secretary’s salary so she/he can be in a lower tax bracket.??? That would be the *fair* thing to do.

  8. crystal4 on September 20, 2011 at 7:31 am

    Let’s just continue the 10 years of “trickle down”, then!
    (The “Job Creators” took the money and ran, they did *not* create jobs!)

    • Shock and Awe on September 20, 2011 at 11:07 am

      It is better than this president’s policy of Tsunami Poverty, it destroys all in its path.? The key to growth is a decrease in taxes, a decrease in regulation and an increase in certainty.?? Buisness has the money, but they do not know if they can afford possible future expenses because of unknown regulation. they may be able to afford to hire now, but not afford the emplyee in a year because of new expenses

    • Dimsdale on September 20, 2011 at 3:30 pm

      Better some trickle down wealth than ?bama and the Democrat’s trickle up poverty.

    • Anybody but Obama on September 22, 2011 at 9:03 am

      Crystal4(August25th) Its their money to invest where they want. Like jobs czar GE CEO Jeff Immelt moving business to China.

  9. Lynn on September 20, 2011 at 8:30 am

    Just wondering, does this new additional tax increase affect Jimmy Buffet? I’ll have another Margarita please, with salt.

  10. sammy22 on September 20, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Hey essneff, not even Paul Ryan is talking about paying off $14T. Reducing budget deficits may slow down the growth of the debt (the de-rating will make borrowing cost more, BTW). As far as paying off the debt, I say, only in your dreams!

    • Dimsdale on September 20, 2011 at 3:33 pm

      Particularly, as noted in my above post, these clowns want to pay off the deficit with more debt.? Start with halting the increasing spending, then tackle the debt.?
      Nice of you to just give up though.?

    • GdavidH on September 20, 2011 at 6:25 pm

      Don’t worry Dims, Sammy22 will get that fighting spirit back in January 2013 when a republican president is elected. As with GWB, The spending will once again become the biggest de-structionator of the American way, only solved by a democrat congress and another “pay as you go” ( how’s that workin’ out)?legislative act.?The double standard will be?impossible to ignore by all except the MSM.

  11. Common Man on September 20, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    Treasury Sec Geithner was pressed at a WH briefing on the number of millionaires who pay taxes at a lower rate than middle-income families. He said that people who make most of their money in wages pay taxes at a higher rate, while those who get most of their income from investments pay at lower rates. Warren Buffet gets most of his income from investments. Increase the tax on investments will pull capital out of a weak market, further choking the economy. Try spending less, Mr President. Duh!!

  12. NH-Jim on September 20, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    If it were true that Buffet pays less than his secretary in percentage then I have a novel idea that I have not heard one person exclaim!
    Instead of raising Buffet’s (et al, filthy rich) taxes, how about lowering her’s (et al, all of US!)
    And, reduce the spending (i.e. no more friggin’ stimuli).
    Are you listening Larson, Murphy, Delauro, Courtney, & Himes?

    • NH-Jim on September 20, 2011 at 2:07 pm

      By the way, here are the 2010 IRS Tax Brackets:
      Bracket___Single filer_________Married filing jointly
      10%_____$0 – $8,375_________$0 – $16,750
      15%_____$8,375 – $34,000_____$16,750 – $68,000
      25%_____$34,000 – $82,400____$68,000 – $137,300
      28%_____$82,400 – $171,850___$137,300 – $209,250
      33%_____$171,850 – $373,650__$209,250 – $373,650
      35%_____$373,650 – ?+________$373,650 – ?+

    • NH-Jim on September 20, 2011 at 2:18 pm

      So, let us assume for discussion that Mr. Buffet pays his secretary a handsome $375,000/year.? That would put her in the 35% tax bracket.? So are we to believe, as Mr. Buffet (and the president) have stated, that he has a personal income less than $373,650?? Mr. Buffet, you have stepped out publicly in favor of this bill, then please furnish your tax returns as proof.
      Put up or shut up, Mr. Buffet!

    • ricbee on September 21, 2011 at 1:33 pm

      I’m in serious trouble,they are going to want $5,000 from me this year & they ain’t getting it.

  13. Anybody but Obama on September 20, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    I heard it called the Buffon Tax, I liked that

  14. sammy22 on September 20, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    Once again: disinformation. The post talks about reducing the debt w/ this tax “proposal”, which is not the case (w/ the usual hyperbolas about how many centuries it would take). Then, when the argument loses traction different issues result in a mish-mash.

    • GdavidH on September 20, 2011 at 6:30 pm

      mish-mash, pish-posh.

      ?This nonsense has no chance of passing and Obama knows it.?Is it still?too early for Sammy to vote for Obama for president 2012??

    • Dimsdale on September 21, 2011 at 12:01 am

      Then you should enlighten us: what is the point of this tax “proposal”??? Yet more taxes (and the death spiral of more deficit spending and debt)?
      How about just tossing red meat to his liberal base?

  15. Gary J on September 20, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    Buck – up people

  16. bill88w on September 20, 2011 at 9:49 pm

    We should have a reverse Buffett Rule to reduce taxes and here’s why:
    By Daniel Mitchell, Ph.D. via The Heritage Foundation
    The tax cuts of the 1920s
    “Tax rates were slashed dramatically during the 1920s, dropping from over 70 percent to less than 25 percent. What happened? Personal income tax revenues increased substantially during the 1920s, despite the reduction in rates. Revenues rose from $719 million in 1921 to $1164 million in 1928, an increase of more than 61 percent.”

  17. Linda Mae on September 20, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    We forget that Geiitner signed an affidavit stating that he had paid the taxes and then was reimbursed by IMF for the tax money that he was supposed to have paid.? To me, that is fraud, or even worse.? That bothers me the most about him – fiduciary malfeasance?? The man is both a tax cheat and also a crook!!!? Perhaps the DOJ should arrest him? – yeah, right!?
    We need to remove Obama and his idiot staff.

  18. Anybody but Obama on September 21, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    Warren Buffon has a salary of $100,000. The rest of his income is derived from capital gains. ?

  19. crystal4 on September 22, 2011 at 9:33 am

    I just saw this comment on the HC website. lawyer 1 detailed exactly how unfair and desastrous the bush tax cuts have been:
    Republican leaders want to keep taxes lower for the wealthy. The Bush tax cuts allow the wealthy to pay less than across the board compared to someone like myself that makes $104,000. I make a nice salary, and to some perhaps a very substantial salary. But the tax percentages I pay are more in line with the general public. The rich however get tax breaks, they pay less tax as a percentage of income than I do or even someone who makes $40,000. Just does not seem fair. The wealthy are also the ones who can afford to put money aside in tax deferred investments and can afford to take advantage of investments that are tax deductible. The rank and file cannot afford the liberties granted to the wealthy. Just does not seem fair that the Bush Tax cuts are no eliminated. After all, have the wealthy hired more employees with the extension of tax cuts… no. Did the wealthy stimulate the economy and spend money at our local shops? No.? The wealthy have held on to their money, invested in themselves, secured the highest returns and paid the lowest taxes… and the Republicans want to protect…

    • Linda Mae on September 22, 2011 at 7:32 pm

      Surely you can learn to do without some material comforts to put at least $20 – $30 away into a tsa – the more you save, the less your total earnings – they offset your tax rate.? You just need to get educated as how to save money.? I know several people making very little who make it their business to invest for their futures.?
      If 10 Americans go out to dinner and the bill comes to $100 – including tax and tip – then each person pays $10 – right?? Not so in Obama’s world.? One person (the top 1%) pays 40% – or $40.? And the bottom 50% pay NOTHING.? That is 5 diners.? That means that the remaining 4 – we middle classers – now pay the remaining $60.? Or $15 each.? We have to pay for the others – spread the wealth around.? Sorry – in life you get what you deserve.? I want that 50$ to pay in at least 1/2 of what they owe – I’m tired of having them live off of my hard work.? You can easily give more of your salary to them if you want – just write the IRS a check.? Plus – I don’t have the nerve to ask the top 1% to pay more because they “have” it.? Can you or I just walk up to a stranger and take money out of his wallet because we want to spread the wealth around???

    • Dimsdale on September 23, 2011 at 3:41 pm

      Could you define the word “fair” for me please?

    • Dimsdale on September 23, 2011 at 3:44 pm

      A flat tax is the ultimate in fairness, crystal.? Do you support one?

  20. crystal4 on September 22, 2011 at 9:33 am

    and the Republicans want to protect them.? I am a Republican, I believe in a smaller more efficient government. I believe in fairness across the board… lets make this happen NOW… Tell Jim V on WTIC 1080 and Rush L to stop twisting the benefits of the Bush Tax credits… you and I have no benefit.. we pay more.

    • Linda Mae on September 22, 2011 at 7:36 pm

      It’s apparent that you haven’t read the new taxes in the Obama American Jobs bill – which he will have to rename if he ever gets someone to file it as a bill – or the list of new taxes we in CT now have to pay????? forget the Bush tax credits – start channeling your anger and energy here at home – write to Malloy and your CT congressmen.? Charity begins at home.

    • Dimsdale on September 23, 2011 at 3:44 pm

      If the Bush Tax cuts become the ?bama tax increases, you and I will pay more, crystal.? And if ?bama has his way, a LOT more taxes.
      Why do we have to be vehicles to send tax money to the politicians so they can misspend it?

  21. NH-Jim on September 23, 2011 at 2:04 pm

    Who is this mystery secretary of Buffet’s anyway?
    At this point in the game, every media outlet was digging through Joe the Plumber’s history to dig up dirt on a guy that just asked a question of candidate Obama.? We knew everything on him, his plumber’s license, his filings, etc.
    How about all the trashing of Sarah Palin’s staff, never mind the trashing of her.
    But, we know absolutely nothing about Buffet’s secretary, nor Warren Buffet for that matter and, yet, we have a “bill” named after him.
    Once again, show us the proof!


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