Last week, Warren Buffett again came out in favor of higher taxes for the rich like himself. The next day, President Obama echoed Buffett's comments, proving that they were no more than a carefully orchestrated piece of political rhetoric. Even so, Buffett's article is a good starting point for a discussion of why some people pay higher rates of taxes than those who are rich.
This week, I'm going to dissect Buffett's statements about his own tax rates and those of his staff. I'll also review the various categories of income that qualify for preferential tax treatment and why they are set up that way. In the end, you'll find that special tax treatment is often associated with activities that provide capital for economic growth as well as the requirement to take the risk of losing all of your money.
I'll end up by showing a way that individuals, including Mr. Buffett, can make voluntary contributions toward reduction of the national debt without the unnecessary step of raising taxes. If Mr. Buffett feels strongly that he should pay more for government, he can just send them a check. Unfortunately, the real issue isn't that taxes on the rich have become too small, but that the government's appetite for tax revenue has grown too big.