Warren Buffett Urges Tax Increase for Wealthy, Says We're Still in a Recession

The Oracle of Omaha has spoken, and he wants higher taxes -- at least for the wealthy, which of course, would include himself.

Buffett, perhaps America's most famous investor and chairman of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.B), is worth an estimated $45 billion, so he can afford a bit of a tax hike. But it's worth noting that he supports a tax increase, despite arguments that taxing the rich will hurt the economy.

Speaking to Mike Allen of Politico, Buffett unambiguously backed letting the Bush tax cuts expire for "people in the high income levels."

Referring to the tax cuts, Buffett said: "I think it's almost a cinch that they will be extended for the people – I don't know if it'll be exactly [making less than] $250,000, or whatever the number may be, in the end. But I do not that there's going to be, effectively, a tax increase for people up and down the line."

"I think there should be tax increases for people in the high income levels," Buffett added.

Proponents of extending the Bush tax cuts across the board argue that raising taxes on those making more than $250,000 would harm small businesses, because so many of America's 50 million businesses are one-person or small operations. Economists from the Congressional Budget Office and Tax Policy Center agree that the tax increase would affect 3%, or 750,000, of taxpayers who report "net positive business income."

Still in a Recession

Buffett's comments came after an event of the the 10,000 Small Businesses Advisory Council, where the Oracle, along with his associate Lloyd Blankfein, Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs, handed out diplomas. "I've enclosed my 800 number," Buffett quipped to the graduating entrepreneurs, according to Allen.

Buffett also said: "The biggest thing you have going for the American economy, actually, is the regenerative capacity of American capitalism, and that doesn't happen overnight. I mean, this country had a huge, huge wound ... It takes time for wounds to heal, regardless of how good the care is."

The Oracle, who voted for President Obama, said, "I'd vote for him all over again. ... I think he's got the same vision about America I do. ... I think he has the same social goals, very much, that I do."

This despite the fact that Buffett thinks the United States is "still in a recession," despite the fact that economists say the recession officially ended one year ago. "We're not gonna be out of it for a while, but we will get out," Buffett told CNBC in an interview broadcast Thursday.

Earlier this week, the National Bureau of Economic Research said the recession lasted 18 months and technically ended in June 2009. The Oracle told CNBC he "defines a recession differently from the NBER, saying it ends when real per capita gross domestic product returns to its pre-downturn level," Reuters said. That, of course, has not happened.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Timing Your Spending

How to pay less by changing when you purchase.

View Course »

How to Avoid Financial Scams

Avoid getting duped by financial scams.

View Course »

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

99 Comments

Filter by:
rogglsgw

come on!!!!!!!!! do you people really believe with all the tax shelters and loop holes the wealthy really pay any taxes???? if you do i have a bridge in frisco i wish to sell you!!! the tax burdon is on the working middle class, why do you think the wealthy would not except a 15 percent flate tax?? with no loopholes, becouse thay would really have to pay it, in the fifties you either invested in american infastructure, expansion of jobs or you could reach a 90 percent tax rate and you would pay it, and the us became the most powerfull succesfull nation on earth and the weathy made a fortune as well, if you believe the wealthy will out of the goodness of there hearts support america just becouse you dont tax them or give them so many loopholes thay dont pay what they should, then your a moran , and kiss the ass of the wealthy, hopeing for crumbs off there table, what would the wealthy be without the men and woman that work hard to support there needs??? give me a break, were are slowly becomming a fascist state {corpratism} kill the orgenize unions , and go bach to the south of the 20's come on people stop ******* up to the filthy rich and demand, a fare days pay for a fair days labor, or lay down and die

July 11 2011 at 12:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
monseigneurdev

Will we, the muddled-classes, get any of this money or will it be gloriously misspent by the Democrats?

October 02 2010 at 5:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
pbihomes

I HAVE ALWAYS BELIVED IN WARREN BUFFET HOWEVER HE IS STARTING TO TALK LIKE OBAMA. I HAVE A BUSINESS AND MAKE OVER 200K A YEAR AND IF HE RAISES MY TAXES I WILL LAY OFF A FEW EMPLOYEES AND RAISE MY PRICES SO I MAKE THE SAME MONEY. I THINK WARREN HAS LOST IT. I MAY NOT HAVE TO LAY ANYONE OFF IF I CUT THEIR BENEFITS TO COVER MY LOSS BECAUSE OF THE TAX INCREASE. I'LL HAVE TO CHECK IT OUT AND DECIDE WHAT TO DO.

September 28 2010 at 6:53 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
miuofl

They should tax those making more than 100K or 200K a year more. Maybe then they would think twice when these CEO decide to take huge bonuses and pay. Maybe then they will cut there salaries to a more reasonable level and spend some of the cash on the salary of those low level employees who slave away for these people and struggle to buy the everyday needs or to even buy a home. Those low level employee are the ones that will help the economy recover as they are the ones that would spend money on things they have not be able to afford, not the millionaires that have had more than enough money to buy what ever they need. What else are they going to buy to help the economy --- NOTHING.

September 24 2010 at 10:09 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to miuofl's comment
pbihomes

its clear you never worked hard and built a business. i don't take huge bonuses i am just going to keep what i worked for. if they tax me more i raise my prices and cut my employees pay. when did you ever get a job from a poor man????????????

September 28 2010 at 7:05 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
miuofl

Mr Buffet and anyone else with money they want to give away- I would gladly accept an annual gift from you of $10K each year for each of the people in my houshold.

September 24 2010 at 10:03 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
martbild

Is there a law that says Warren Buffett can't just send a big fat check to the US Treasury?

September 24 2010 at 9:30 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
muenft

Warren has reached the point Maslow spoke about..wanting recognition and respect. He is nothing but a Obama boot licker. He has plenty of money in tax protected locations but he gets on t.v. and spouts the obama socialists line for anditional taxes on the 36% they already take. Just think what and explosion of positive things would happen if they announced lower taxes and less government spending. Get up off your knees warren.

September 24 2010 at 8:44 AM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
usacars

High taxes just feed the monster we all know as "Big, Bloated, Wastfull Government." A "Value Tax" is long overdue. Look at your local government and see the waste.

September 24 2010 at 8:06 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
sfamilyent

I agree that the tax cuts for the high income brackets should be allowed to expire, but, more importantly, the long term capital gains tax cut should be allowed to expire. It is ridiculous to think that someone like Buffett is paying a 15% tax rate on his long term capital gain income, while others in the top income bracket are paying 35% on their ordinary income... Taxes on long term capital gains for non-real property should be the same rate as ordinary income...

September 24 2010 at 6:50 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to sfamilyent's comment
thedtecter

Couldn't disagree with you more, there is no reason anyone should be paying 35% tax on anything. That is just pure government usurpage of tax dollars regardless of who it comes from. The probelem is the size of government and the expansive goverment programs, eliminate and reduce them down to a modest size and you don't need excessive taxation.

September 24 2010 at 7:18 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
thedtecter

Everyone should dump all of their shares in Berkshire Hathaway for that remark, when it is worth less than $2/share maybe Warren will think a bit more carefully about offering up higher taxes for others.

September 24 2010 at 5:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply