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Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett (file)
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett pleaded with Congress to raise his taxes in a new must-read New York Times op-ed. In his piece titled, "Stop Coddling the Super-Rich," Buffett scolded the "billionaire-friendly Congress" for shielding him and his über-wealthy friends from paying higher taxes, as though they "were spotted owls or some other endangered species."
"While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks," wrote Buffett, who is considered the third richest man in America. He's willing to pay up to help cut the deficit, and threw cold water on the notion that paying higher taxes leads to businesses and people making investing less.
"People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off. And to those who argue that higher rates hurt job creation, I would note that a net of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000. You know what's happened since then: lower tax rates and far lower job creation."
The piece offered specific advice to the debt super committee, charged with the daunting task of re-jiggering America's family budget to trim the 10-year deficit by at least $1.5 trillion:
"Job one for the 12 is to pare down some future promises that even a rich America can't fulfill. Big money must be saved here. The 12 should then turn to the issue of revenues. I would leave rates for 99.7 percent of taxpayers unchanged and continue the current 2-percentage-point reduction in the employee contribution to the payroll tax. This cut helps the poor and the middle class, who need every break they can get."
All of the GOP members on the debt super committee signed Grover Norquist's pledge to never ever raises taxes.
Obama's already started to tout Buffett's op-ed on his bus tour today, using it as a case for increased revenues.