Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Buffett at it again. He wants to pay more taxes. Heh heh heh. Sure he does. Then he should pay himself more than the $100,000 a year income he gets as CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

However, his billions are tied up in long-term investments, generated through capital gains and dividends, and the capital gains tax is only around 15%. Is Buffett calling for higher capital gains?

Clinton lowered capital gains tax from 28% to 20% and Bush dropped it to 15%. Taxes on capital gains and dividends are really double taxation. The corporation pays taxes, and then the stockholder pays taxes again when he sells his shares.

Berkshire doesn't pay out dividends so no tax on that for Warren. No tax if he doesn't sell the shares, and Warren doesn't sell his shares - he gives them away to his 5 favorite charitable foundations (Gates Foundation and his own kids' foundations). And while Buffett argued to keep the "estate tax" - why not, since the best way to avoid the death tax was give it away before you're dead, which Buffet and others are doing.

Buffett is a smart man. His true income is not his "taxable" income because of his investment and income generating methods. He invests in stocks on a long-term basis, avoids realization of capital gains, avoids taxes on capital gains by giving to charity the appreciated assets, and holds tax-free municipal bonds.

An increase in capital gains tax or income tax will change little for the rich as they have advisors who know how to manipulate loopholes so the tax they pay is not on their true income. How many times do I have to say that.

If Warren really wants to be fair he should demand a tax on assets, as they do in Switzerland. Probably wouldn't hurt Buffett as he owns a simple life in Omaha - but many super rich hold mega assets.

Remember Donald Trump's 2000 proposal of a one-time 14.25% wealth tax on the net worth of individuals and trusts worth $10 million or more. Trump claimed that this would generate $5.7 trillion in new taxes, which could be used to eliminate the national debt. Kinda makes me wonder, how would tax advisors get their clients assets out of that tax. Nonprofit foundation anyone?

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