Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Why does Warren Buffett pay less in taxes than his secretary?

Let’s take a look at this article from the libertarian Cato Institute.

Excerpt:

In 2007, Buffett said that he paid a 17.7 percent tax rate. Alan Reynolds notes that Buffett earns large amounts of capital gains, which are taxed at a maximum federal rate of 15 percent. People in the top income groups do report a lot of capital gains, which reduces their overall effective tax rate. However, capital gains are included in chart 1, above, and you can see that the top income groups still pay much higher tax rates than others on average. One reason is that a large amount of income at the top is small business income, which is hit by ordinary income tax rates of up to 35 percent.

You have to go to the extreme top end of the income spectrum in order for capital gains realizations to really push down overall effective tax rates. The IRS publishes data for the 400 highest-income taxpayers. For these taxpayers, the average effective income tax rate in 2008 was 18.1 percent.

Since the beginning of the income tax, we have nearly always had special treatment of capital gains for some very good reasons, as I discuss here. I point out that virtually all high-income nations recognize that capital gains are different and that special rules are needed. A number of OECD nations have long-term capital gains tax rates of zero, including New Zealand and the Netherlands.

Another important aspect to this debate regards the link between capital gains and dynamism in the economy and dynamism in tax payments. The political left makes it seem as if there were a permanent aristocracy at the top end of the income spectrum in America. However, IRS data show the exact opposite—the top 400 are a highly dynamic group. Notice first in IRS Table 1 that 57 percent of AGI for these taxpayers is capital gains. That is a key reason why the people in this group are constantly changing—large capital gains realizations are occasional events that rocket people to the top of the AGI heap. One example is when an entrepreneur sells her successful and longstanding business and retires.

The last table in the IRS document reveals the dynamism. The IRS traced the identities of all taxpayers who showed up in the top 400 anytime between 1992 and 2008. The IRS found that there were a huge 3,672 different taxpayers who appeared during that timeframe. Of these 3,672, fully 73 percent only appeared once in the top 400! And 85 percent appeared only once or twice.

So at the top end of our capitalist system is a continual generation of new wealth and new wealthy people, and that dynamism reflects the still-energetic and free-wheeling nature of our economy.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Warren Buffett is a big hypocrite.

Excerpt:

Two weeks ago, when billionaire Warren Buffett called for higher taxes on rich people like him, the liberal media predictably gushed and fawned.

Yet when Americans for Limited Government revealed last week that Buffett’s company Berkshire Hathaway has been in an almost decade-long dispute with the IRS over how much taxes it owes, these same press members couldn’t care less:

According to Berkshire Hathaway’s own annual report — see Note 15 on pp. 54-56 — the company has been in a years-long dispute over its federal tax bills.

According to the report, “We anticipate that we will resolve all adjustments proposed by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (‘IRS’) for the 2002 through 2004 tax years at the IRS Appeals Division within the next 12 months. The IRS has completed its examination of our consolidated U.S. federal income tax returns for the 2005 and 2006 tax years and the proposed adjustments are currently being reviewed by the IRS Appeals Division process. The IRS is currently auditing our consolidated U.S. federal income tax returns for the 2007 through 2009 tax years.”

Americans for Limited Government researcher Richard McCarty, who was alerted to the controversy by a federal government lawyer, said, “The company has been short-changing the tax collection agency for much of the past decade.   Mr. Buffett’s company has not fully settled its tax bills from 2002-2009.  Yet he says he’d happily pay more.  Except the IRS has apparently been asking him to pay more going on nine years.”

As if that wasn’t bad enough, Obama’s cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline will benefit Buffett.

Excerpt:

Some 20,000 middle-class jobs could have immediately come from Obama’s approval of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada, with hundreds of thousands more created over the project’s lifetime. Yet he shut it down, even while he claimed in his address that he supported an “all of the above” energy strategy.

As Bosanek might be aware, her boss stands to benefit handsomely from that decision, much as other Obama supporters, like the campaign donors who owned Solyndra and other green enterprises, cleaned up from the diversion of tax dollars from the middle class into green boondoggles.

Keystone XL was designed to transport oil from the Canadian tar sands to the Gulf of Mexico. It apparently also would have enabled oil producers in the booming oil fields of North Dakota to ship their product to Gulf refineries more cheaply.

Keystone XL would help to advance further development of the oilfields in the Bakken Shale formation, which has led to an economic boom in North Dakota.

Plans were under way to tie into Keystone XL and ship increasing amounts of Bakken oil south through the pipeline to Gulf Coast refineries.

Would we rather get our oil from Canada and North Dakota or from the Middle East through the Strait of Hormuz?

Now Bakken producers say they’ll be dependent on railway tank cars — Buffett’s railway tank cars.

Many of the rail shipments from the Bakken fields are being handled by Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway Co., which has more than 1,000 miles of track in the region.

Buffett’s holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, has agreed to buy BNSF in a deal valuing the railroad at $34 billion. Berkshire already owns 22% of Burlington Northern and will pay $100 a share in cash and stock for the rest.

It is the American people who should benefit from our government’s energy policies, not just billionaires and friends of Obama like Warren Buffett.

Now, that would be fair.

And finally, Warren Buffett’s secretary pays a lot in taxes because she has a huge income, which is highly taxed. Her annual income is at least $200,000.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Republicans introduce bill to let Warren Buffett pay more taxes

From Fox News, a plan to allow people who talk about wanting to pay more in taxes to do so.

Excerpt:

President Obama’s proposed “Buffett Rule”– which would force the wealthiest Americans to pay higher taxes to help cut the nation’s deficits — has met its Republican match.

Republican lawmakers have introduced their own “Buffett Rule” that would allow billionaire investors like Warren Buffett who say they’re not paying enough taxes to voluntarily give more money to the federal government.

Under the legislation, authored by Sen. John Thune of South Dakota and Rep. John Scalise of Louisiana, taxpayers can donate at least a $1 to the Treasury fund for deficit reduction when they file their federal income tax returns starting next year.

“If individuals like Warren Buffett or President Obama are inclined to donate their own personal money toward paying down the federal government’s debt, they ought to have that right to do so voluntarily,” Thune said. “This bill would make it easier for those wealthy individuals who feel they are currently under-taxed to pay more to the U.S. Treasury above and beyond their current obligations, without raising taxes on America’s job creators.”

The first thing to note is that John Thune is a Biola University graduate. He defeated that leftist jackass Tom Daschle to become Senator in South Dakota.

The second thing to note is that Warren Buffett is a big fat hypocrite, since his company is involved in a massive dispute with the IRS over unpaid taxes.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , ,

What happened to Illinois businesses when Democrats raised taxes?

Central United States

Central United States

How do Illinois businesses respond to Democrat Governor Quinn’s tax increases?

From CBS News. (H/T Marathon Pundit)

Excerpt:

The Chicago area will soon have a few hundred fewer jobs, while Northwest Indiana will have a few hundred more.

As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, sources say Modern Forge is moving from Blue Island across the state line to Merrillville, Ind., and the new town is rolling out the its welcome mat for the plant.

[...]On Tuesday, Indiana succeeded as Blue Island-based manufacturer Modern Forge announced it was moving across the state line. CEO Greg Heim said Illinois made it impossible to stay.

“The environment in Illinois, I would say there was no — we did not see any change coming in Illinois,” Heim said. “Illinois continues to stay on a path of not being – for us – a (pro-business) environment and the excitement and energy here in Indiana, that’s very important to us.”

That’s why, after 97 years in Blue Island, Modern Forge is picking up and moving its building and 240 jobs to Indiana.

“It’s a huge thrill for us,” Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said.

Daniels didn’t mince words when he said luring business is the Hoosier State’s #1 priority. And there’s no question that Illinois – and companies like Modern Forge – are main targets.

He claimed that “well over a dozen” businesses have moved from Illinois to Indiana in the past few months. “And it’s not like this just started recently,” he added.

In fact, it really ramped up last year when Illinois lawmakers hiked the state’s income tax. Since then, some businesses have bailed and others threatened to do so, citing high taxes, worker’s compensation issues, lack of incentives and an overall lack of encouragement from the Quinn administration.

[...]According to U.S. Labor Bureau statistics, Quinn needs to do something. Statistics show a steady jobs decline beginning in January, shortly after the tax hike passed.

Daniels said he sees tax concerns in Illinois as a potential Indiana win.

“We’ve had a big upsurge in contacts from businesses who want to explore an Indiana location because the arithmetic tells them it’s less expensive to hire people here,” Daniels said.

And more from the Illinois Policy Institute:

In a trend that continues to worsen, more Illinoisans found themselves unemployed in the month of July.

Illinois lost more jobs during the month of July than any other state in the nation, according to the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report. After losing 7,200 jobs in June, Illinois lost an additional 24,900 non-farm payroll jobs in July. The report also said Illinois’s unemployment rate climbed to 9.5 percent. This marks the third consecutive month of increases in the unemployment rate.

Illinois started to create jobs as the national economy began to recover. But just when Illinois’s economy seemed to be turning around, lawmakers passed record tax increases in January of this year. Since then, Illinois’s employment numbers have done nothing but decline.

Data released today by the bureau confirms this downward trajectory. When it comes to putting people back to work, Illinois is going backwards. Since January, Illinois has dropped 89,000 people from its employment rolls.

Democrats complain a lot about companies that outsource jobs. And now we see what causes companies to outsource jobs – Democrats.They cause the very thing that they complain about. That’s insane.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Obama’s job creation advisor ships American business unit to China

From Jack Cafferty of CNN. (H/T Reason to Stand)

Excerpt:

Here is more evidence of the suicide mission this country is on: General Electric announced it’s moving its 115-year-old X-ray business from Waukesha, Wisconsin to Beijing, China.

The X-ray business is part of General Electric’s GE Healthcare unit, and this move is just part of a broader plan by GE to invest $2 billion in China.

This will become the first GE business to be headquartered there. A handful of the unit’s top executives will be transferred to China but otherwise, the company says, none of the 150 staffers in the Milwaukee-area facility will lose jobs or be transferred. However, GE plans to hire more than 65 engineers and a support staff at a new facility in China.

It’s the kind of news that makes you want to reach for something sharp and jab it in your eye. General Electric’s Chief Executive, Jeffrey Immelt, is one of President Obama’s advisers on… ready? U.S. job creation!

[...]Two months after Immelt was named to the council, The New York Times reported that General Electric paid no income taxes last year… thanks to some fancy accounting footwork, even though the company earned $14.2 billion in profits last year – more than $5 billion in the U.S. alone.

Obama named Immelt as the head of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness in January. And it’s no surprise that he is shipping jobs overseas – that’s what happens when you elect a tax and spend socialist as President. When Obama attacks businesses with his anti-capitalist rhetoric, they curtail hiring here and hire in China instead. Who would try to expand a business with an anti-business liberal with his finger on the button? You would have to be stupid to risk your capital in a country that runs 1.65 trillion dollar deficits.

It’s important to understand that big businesses like General Electric are not conservative. Big business wants government to insulate them from competition by using regulations to block new entrants. Small businesses are conservative.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Are the rich paying their fair share of taxes?

Do the rich pay their fair share of taxes?

Do the rich pay their fair share of taxes?

The Hoover Institute at Stanford University tweeted this article.

Excerpt:

The Democrats’ position in the negotiations to raise the debt limit and deal with runaway government debt can be summarized in one mantric phrase: the rich must “pay their fair share” in taxes. White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer, for example, said a day before the Obama’s Sunday summit with Congressmen that any deal requires a “balanced approach that asks the very wealthiest and special interests to pay their fair share.” Earlier this year, Illinois Congressman Jan Schakowsky introduced legislation called the Fairness in Taxation Act, which she justified by saying “It’s time for millionaires and billionaires to pay their fair share.” Clearly, the Democrats think this is a winning formula going into the critical 2012 elections, despite the historically verified fact that raising tax rates on top earners will not over time generate more tax revenues.

Some political Socrates needs to challenge this formula by asking for a definition of “fair.” Clearly, having the top 10% of taxpayers pay 70% of all income taxes––while nearly half of taxpayers pay nothing––isn’t considered “fair” by those who want to increase taxes on high earners. So what would be fair? Having the top 10% pay 80%, or 90%, or 100%? The U.S. already has the most progressive tax system among 24 OECD countries, ahead of socialist heartthrobs like Sweden and Norway, so what more do Democrats want?

It might be a good idea to send this article to your friends, and bookmark it in case you get into a debate.

Filed under: Commentary, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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