The super rich & taxes

Let’s hear it for Warren Buffett, the mega-rich CEO of Berkshire Hathaway. In an essay published Sunday before last in The New York Times, titled “Stop Coddling the Super-Rich,” he puts the lie to all those who insist that America’s millionaires and billionaires pay more than their fair share in taxes.

Last year, Buffett paid $6,938,744 in federal income and payroll taxes. “That sounds like a lot of money,” he writes. “But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income—and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office.”

Many of the super rich pay even less than he does—15 percent on most of their earnings and practically nothing in payroll taxes. Most members of the middle class, on the other hand, “fall into the 15 percent and 25 percent income tax brackets, and then are hit with heavy payroll taxes to boot.”

“My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress,” he writes. “It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.”

Hear, hear.