Politics

Buffett clarifies position on taxing the rich

Friday, September 30, 2011

President Obama may have thought he had an ally in billionaire Warren Buffet, who recently admitted to paying only $6,000 in federal taxes, which is a lower rate than his secretary. Buffett had said the rich should pay their fair share, but he clarified his statement on Friday.

"It's not to have the rich pay more taxes, but to have the ultra rich who have low tax rates pay more taxes," Buffett said.

And here we go again: The conclusion to a week that began on Monday with the president talking about high earners paying more to decrease the federal deficit.

Obama had thought Buffett to be a philosophical ally, until the multi-billionaire made his clarification Friday morning by drawing a line between the mere rich and the ultra-wealthy.

"The top 400 taxpayers in 2009 average $227 million of income per person," Buffett said. "They pay 21 percent on average. A lot of them pay 15 percent or less."

Standard Staff in Woodside is a community where the average household income exceeds $200,000 a year, but some make much more. It seemed like a perfect place for reactions to what Buffett said about remaking America's tax structure.

Woodside only has a few people in the 15 percent or less tax category. Among the residents who did speak with ABC7, one thing was heard over and over again.

"I'm a fan of proportional taxes," said small business owner Koann Skrzyniarz, adding that the tax should be proportional of "earnings and income."

"It's not who makes the most," said staffing firm employee Mark Williams. "I am in favor of a flat tax, actually."

What about those who make $250,000 per year qualifying as rich? When asked what $250,000 would buy in their neighborhood, one resident said "In terms of a house? Nothing."

In short, it's all relative.

"Somebody who buys a stock index future and sells it ten seconds later, and gets 60 percent of long-term gains? He would have a different world to live in," Buffett said.

It might be in Woodside, but then again, it might not.

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Tags:
warren buffett, taxes, barack obama, politics, wayne freedman
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