This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Buffett's Op-Ed on Taxes Too Little, Too Late

Stocks in this article: MCO MHP SBUX BRK-A BRK-B LZ

BOSTON ( TheStreet) -- Warren Buffett's opinion article in The New York Times, in which he volunteered to pay higher taxes and said his super-rich friends would be willing to do the same, has become a rallying cry for average Americans fed up with partisanship in Congress that led to a downgrade of the country's coveted triple-A rating.

The only problem is that the billionaire investor's published view on tax breaks comes far too late after the debt-ceiling debate, and now Buffett's argument begs more questions about his timing, leadership and motivation.

Warren Buffett

While the rich have been "spared," as he put it, from the shared sacrifice thanks to tax breaks, Buffett points out the inequity in the fact that the poor and middle class have been fighting wars for the U.S. while tightening their own belts. Buffett says he would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including dividends and capital gains. Those who make $10 million or more would see an additional increase, according to Buffett's proposal.

For people mad as hell at the U.S. government for the embarrassing way it handled the debt-ceiling debate, Buffett's assertion that the super-rich would be amenable to paying higher taxes was downright cathartic. Facebook lit up Monday with shared links to Buffett's piece, "Stop Coddling the Super-Rich," while "Warren Buffett" himself became a trending topic on Twitter.

>>View Warren Buffett's Portfolio

As celebrated as Buffett's view is, much of it rings hollow. For one, if Buffett was taking advantage of tax breaks when paying his income tax, why couldn't he simply have ignored the exemptions on his taxable income? Buffett notes that he paid only 17.4% of his taxable income for 2010, well below the other 20 people in his office.

If he feels so guilty about the tax breaks he has exploited, and if his Giving Pledge philanthropy effort isn't enough, why doesn't Buffett simply cut a check for the U.S. government to pay down the debt? The Treasury Department is taking online donations to pay down the U.S. debt, so the Oracle of Omaha could throw a few million dollars at the debt from the comfort of his own home if he were truly serious about combating the country's fiscal woes.

1 of 3

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!

Markets

DOW 17,582.21 +225.34 1.30%
S&P 500 2,012.89 +40.15 2.04%
NASDAQ 4,644.3120 +96.4780 2.12%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs