Was Buffett Right? Do Workers Pay More Tax than Their Bosses?

By :: August 23rd, 2011

When Warren Buffett called for higher taxes on the wealthy in a New York Times op-ed last week, the billionaire investor argued that he and wealthy people like him face lower federal rates than the rest of us. Low rates on long-term capital gains and qualified dividends and limited exposure to payroll taxes mean low taxes for the rich, he asserted, while more typical workers don’t get those breaks. He’s right on many of his points but not about the rich paying less tax (relative to income) than average—or even well off—taxpayers.

First, what did Buffett get right? Taxpayers who get lots of income from capital gains and dividends pay less tax than those who earn most of their income from wages. People who get all of their income from long-term capital gains and qualified dividends will never pay a combined federal individual income and payroll tax rate of even 15 percent, no matter how much they make. That’s because the maximum tax on their investment income is 15 percent and they don’t face payroll taxes. (See graph. Note that the graph shows the highest possible tax rate by assuming the taxpayer 1) claims only the standard deduction and personal exemptions; 2) gets no benefit from other deductions, exemptions, exclusions, or tax credits; and 3) bears the cost of both the employer and employee shares of payroll taxes.)


In contrast, single people who get all their income from wages always pay more than 15 percent once their income hits about $12,500. When their income reaches about $500,000, their combined tax approaches 38 percent. The same story applies to married couples, although their effective tax rate is always less than that for singles if only one spouse works. At any total income level, you will always pay a higher tax rate if your income comes in the form of wages than if it is from investments only.

The tax differential between earnings and investment income may be tempered somewhat, if corporate taxes reduce investment returns. Economists disagree about who actually bears the burden of the corporate income tax but some of it likely falls on investors and thus boosts their effective tax rate. Of course, if some falls on workers, it also raises the effective tax rate on their earnings.

Overall, Buffett’s story is correct, but he did get a couple of things wrong.

First, the 41 percent top tax rate he ascribed to his fellow workers appears to be a marginal rather than an average rate. That is, it’s the tax on an additional dollar of income rather than total tax measured as a percentage of total income. A single worker’s earnings must approach $500,000 before his combined income and payroll tax hits even 35 percent and the effective tax rate never tops 38 percent. For a married couple, total earnings have to near $1 million to hit those levels. Those are still very high rates, well above Buffett’s 17.4 percent, but they’re not as high as he asserted.

More importantly, because of progressive tax brackets and the many exclusions, exemptions, deductions, and tax credits, typical taxpayers actually pay effective tax rates well below the levels Buffett cites. And high-income taxpayers usually pay a higher effective rate than he does. The average household in the middle 20 percent of the income distribution (income between about $34,000 and $65,000) will pay combined income and payroll taxes equal to 12.0 percent of total income this year, compared with 19.6 percent for those in the top 20 percent (income over about $104,000) and 20.2 percent for those in the top 1 percent (income over roughly $533,000).

Warren Buffett may be right when he says that high-income taxpayers could pay more, especially given the extremely rapid rate of income growth at the top of the distribution. And he’s certainly correct when he says that the low tax rate on investment income cuts his tax bill well below that of many Americans. But he’s off base when he suggests that all high-income taxpayers pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than their middle-income coworkers.

33Comments

  1. Minorkle  ::  1:52 pm on August 23rd, 2011:

    Tax the rich
    Feed the poor
    Till there are no rich, no more

  2. Vivian Darkbloom  ::  2:43 pm on August 23rd, 2011:

    If we were to bring your logic and your ditty to their logical and poetic end, it would be:

    Tax the rich
    Feed the poor
    Till there are no more rich
    To feed those poor

    The meter is also, in my humble view, superior to the original. Don’t mistake this as trickle down poetry but, poetry, at its best, is often sad, but true.

  3. Soquel by the Creek  ::  4:46 pm on August 23rd, 2011:

    A good post! I’ve commented previously that Mr. Buffett’s math just doesn’t add up. There are also a number of other potential issues that he left unaddressed.

    1. Even ff the effective tax rate were doubled in 2011, the extra income (assuming that it actually generated double the revenues), would still NOT cover this year’s federal budget deficit!

    2. Warren Buffett is on the Forbe’s 400 list of the richest Americans. As one of the Top 400 taxpayers, he represents a 0.00035% fraction of the population of American taxpayers. One should never make broad policy decisions based on extreme outlying data points. The last time Congress did so, it created the Alternative Minimum Tax targeting just 155 high-income households. This poorly-conceived legislation wasn’t indexed to inflation and eventually impacted millions of taxpayers.
    http://soquelbythecreek.blogspot.com/2010/02/rich-dont-pay-taxes-lie-purposely.html

    3. Warren Buffett doesn’t distinguish between income taxes and payroll taxes. Payroll taxes have an income cap because there is also a maximum legal benefit. Regardless of how high your income might be, you don’t get more benefits.

    4. All data indicates that upper-income taxpayers pays a higher effective income tax rate than the vast majority of taxpayers. The only area where they pay a lower effective tax rate is on payroll taxes–again because there is a maximum legal benefit.
    http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxtopics/currentdistribution.cfm
    http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/250.html#table8

    5. Due to our antiquated income tax scheme and the slow economy, a growing share of Americans pay $0 in income tax or receive money back from the government. The Tax Policy Center estimates that 46% of American taxpayers will pay $0 in income tax in 2011.
    http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/publications/url.cfm?ID=1001547

  4. Ralph H  ::  6:39 pm on August 23rd, 2011:

    Also, to your point about payroll taxes; these were sold as a combination annuity and disability insurance, and logically fall somewhere between a tax and a retirement savings account. As such they are weighted in favor of lower income individuals, and really are a pretty good deal (in terms of payback). If you asked most workers if they would opt out, I doubt they would as they see how beneficial the benefits are. The only reason they may not (other than really wealthy individuals) is the fear the system will go belly up.

  5. Soquel by the Creek  ::  12:04 pm on August 24th, 2011:

    Funny, if I were asked, I would choose to opt out.

    Most workers don’t realize that they only pay half of the total payroll taxes–the other half paid by their employer. Anybody that every paid self-employment tax knows already.

    If I had an extra 13% to 15% of my income available EVERY year to put aside for retirement and health care, I would have much better benefits. Plus, I could choose where that money goes after my death.

    But, since the current system relies on payments from current workers to support past workers, I’ll never be asked if I want to opt out. The current system would collapse without workers like me.

    Never mind that current projections show that Social Security and Medicare will only be able to fund a fraction of their stated mission by the time that I’m eligible.

  6. Rob in CT  ::  2:03 pm on August 24th, 2011:

    Lots of people have no income tax liability because they make diddly squat. That’s the problem, not the progressivity of the tax code.

    Buffett’s main point boils down to the different ways we tax different types of income: wages versus capital gains. This could be addressed by taxing capital gains – adjusted for inflation – as normal income.

    But we can’t have that. Gotta protect those marginal cases around whom we shouldn’t build policy. Oh, wait…

  7. Soquel by the Creek  ::  11:21 pm on August 24th, 2011:

    BLOG: Is Warren Buffet Paying His “Fair Share”?
    http://soquelbythecreek.blogspot.com/2011/08/is-warren-buffet-paying-his-fair-share.html

    I have much tremendous respect for Warren Buffett. I own shares in Berkshire Hathaway and he and his group of companies have generated some reasonable capital gains over the years.

    But, is Mr. Buffett right? Do the superwealthy like him pay less than their “fair share” of taxes as he seemingly claims is his New York Times editorial? Mr. Buffett’s non-scientific technique was to ask 20 of his employees how much tax they pay.

    Likewise, Mr. Buffett didn’t distinguish between income taxes, sales taxes, corporate taxes, estate taxes, or payroll taxes. I’ll focus on federal income taxes, which generates one of the largest shares of revenue for the federal government. Payroll taxes (Social Security and Medicare) are another matter that I’ll cover in a later post.

    Unfortunately, Mr. Buffett’s non-scientific sample of 21 taxpayers represents just 0.000015% of the total population of 140 million taxpayers, or about 1 in 6.664 MILLION taxpayers. In statistics, this is called a non-representative sample. Given that Mr. Buffett by himself is also a member of an elite group, the Top 400 taxpayers, any result will be highly skewed.

    Wouldn’t it be great if we could use real IRS data and could validate if wealthy taxpayers were indeed not paying their “fair share”? Oh wait, we can! The IRS provides freely downloadable summary statistics for all income taxes filed by year, income group, etc. Groups like the Tax Foundation and the Tax Policy Center use this data to report on how the tax burden falls on taxpayers.

    According to Warren Buffett’s editorial, he paid $6,938,744 ($6.938 MILLION) in federal income taxes in 2010, representing 17.4% of his taxable income. So, is Warren Buffett scamming the system? The average tax bill for all taxpayers in 2008 (the latest year of data from the IRS), was $7,373, down from $7,911 in 2007. The average taxpayer paid 12.24% of his taxable income in federal income tax in 2008. Taxpayers in the Top 0.1% population paid an average $1,357,143 in taxes in 2008. Warren Buffet paid over $5 MILLION more! The Top 0.1% also paid 22.70% of their total income as income tax. Warren Buffet paid about 5.3% less. However, Mr. Buffett is 80 years old and like many others his age, he likely receives considerable income from long-term capital gains, which are presently taxed at 15%.

    To summarize …
    Warren Buffett paid significantly more in absolute dollars than did the average taxpayer ($6.938 MILLION vs. $7,373).
    Warren Buffet paid a higher percentage of adjusted income in taxes than the average taxpayer (17.4% vs. 12.24%) but less than those in the Top 0.1% of taxpayers (17.4% vs. 22.70%)
    QUESTION: Does Warren Buffett pay more or less of the total share of income taxes than his total share of income?

    Let’s determine how much he made last year. He claims that he paid $6.939 MILLION in taxes and had a 17.4% effective tax rate. Divide $6.939 MILLION by 17.4% and you derive that his adjusted gross income was around $39.878 MILLION (a nice job, if you can get it!). Because 2010 tax data isn’t yet available, I’ll mix some apples and oranges using the top-line 2009 tax summary data. In 2009, the total US adjusted gross income (for tax purposes) was $7.63 TRILLION. The total 2009 federal income tax bill was $865.95 BILLION.
    Warren Buffett’s share of total U.S. income = 0.00052% ($39.878 MILLION / $7.626 TRILLION)
    Warren Buffett’s share of total U.S. income tax bill = 0.00080% ($6.939 MILLION / $7.626 TRILLION)
    As do most wealthy taxpayers, Warren Buffett also pays a higher share of the total tax bill than his total share of US income. In fact, Warren Buffett pays 53% more in taxes than his share of income ((share of taxes / share of income) – 100%). A number greater than 0% indicates that the taxpayer is taxed on both income and on a fraction of accumulated wealth. A number less than 0% indicates that the taxpayer potentially receives government services that are subsidized by all other taxpayers.

    Using 2008 historical data for the Top 0.1% taxpayers (again, Mr. Buffett is in the Top 400 group or the Top 0.0003%), his share of taxes versus total income should be around 85%. His tax payments current are more in line with the Top 1% to 5% of taxpayers. If this Top 0.0003% taxpayer wants to keep up with the Top 0.1% of taxpayers, then his 2010 tax bill should be in the neighborhood of $11.128 MILLION instead of a “measly” $6.939 MILLION. However, if he wants to pay 22.7% of his income as tax to match the Top 0.1%, then he only needs to contribute another 5.3% of his income or $2.114 MILLION. Instead of waiting for the slow-moving Congress to take action, Mr. Buffett is free to voluntarily write a check for an addition $2.114 MILLION or $4.189 MILLION or more, unless perhaps he has better use of that money such as creating jobs.

    The last time that Congress attempted to address “inequalities” in the U.S. tax code, it created the ill-conceived and poorly-constructed Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT). AMT was originally targeted at just 155 high-income taxpayers, who paid $0 in income tax but broke no law and merely followed existing U.S. tax code. Ultimately, because AMT was not indexed to inflation, it impacted millions of middle-class taxpayers (myself included).

    Back to our fundamental question: Does Warren Buffett pay his “fair share” of income tax? He pays significantly more taxes than the average taxpayer, both in total dollars, as a percent of his income, and as a percent of his share of total income. Could he pay more? Undoubtedly. Is he paying his “fair share”? First, tell me what your definition of “fair share” is.

    You know what we’re not discussing while wasting time on the definition of “fair share”? TAX REFORM! I think nearly all sides would agree that our current income tax system is antiquated and internationally un-competitive. Generally, you get less of whatever you tax. The U.S. government taxes work, investments, and savings. Instead, we should be taxing consumption! But, there will likely be no changes until the next major crisis.

    See also …
    New York Times: “Stop Coddling the Super-Rich”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/15/opinion/stop-coddling-the-super-rich.html

    Tax Foundation: “Summary of Latest Federal Individual Income Tax Data”
    http://www.taxfoundation.org/taxdata/show/250.html

    Tax Policy Center: “Current-Law Distribution of Taxes”
    http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/taxtopics/currentdistribution.cfm

    Soquel by the Creek: “‘The Rich Don’t Pay Taxes’ Lie: Purposely Deceptive, Or Backed Up by Data?”
    http://soquelbythecreek.blogspot.com/2010/02/rich-dont-pay-taxes-lie-purposely.html

    Tax Foundation: “Warren Buffett’s Proposed Tax Hikes Would Provide Insignificant Revenue”
    http://www.taxfoundation.org/news/show/27556.html

    Tax Policy Center: “Buffett is Right: Raise Taxes on the Wealthy”
    http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/publications/url.cfm?ID=901442

  8. Matt  ::  10:09 am on August 25th, 2011:

    So, tax the rich until there are only the poor? That is what will happen.

    Why do democrats believe that this scheme is ok? Is it ok for a poor person to walk into a wealthy persons home and take their assets? No. That is a crime. Yet democrats think it is ok for the government to walk into a wealthy mans home, take his assets and then give it to the poor.

  9. Matt  ::  10:24 am on August 25th, 2011:

    You obviously have never completed a tax return. That is what I do for a living. The plain and simple truth is that if you have a married couple with 2 minor children and they make $100,000 a year, do not own a home, they would pay just over 7k in tax. Or 7%. Even though they are in the 15% income tax bracket.

    Let’s say they make $80,000. They would pay just over 4k in tax or 5%. Even though they are in the 15% bracket.

    There are reasons why 46% (ALMOST 1/2 OF THE COUNTRY!!!) will not pay any tax. 1) There are taxpayers that make substantially less than this amount. Such as teenagers and college students as well as some single parents and married couples. 2) Home ownership. Mortgage interest and property taxes can significantly reduce your taxable income. 3) MORE KIDS. Each child, generally, is an exemption, reducing your taxable income by $5,700. Also, there is the child tax credit of $1,000 off your tax per child. (The child tax credit starts to phase out at $110,000 of income for married couples).

    So if the couple making 80,000 have 4 kids their tax is only $472. Even though they have income in the 15% tax bracket.

  10. DensityDuck  ::  12:29 pm on August 25th, 2011:

    If Warren Buffet thinks that the rich ought to pay more for the benefit of society, then maybe he could spend some of that forty-five BILLION dollars he has in assets.

    With the money that the top 500 earners have in the bank, we could have paid for every house in the country. We could have paid off those mortgages and let those people start saving money, and restore the labor mobility that’s so critical to a successful economy.

    People who talk about income taxes are trying to hide the truth from you, because they don’t want you to understand exactly how much money these people have–and how little they actually *do* with it all.

  11. Soquel by the Creek  ::  1:18 pm on August 25th, 2011:

    DensityDuck, Here’s a brilliant idea! Let’s outright confiscate the combined assets of ALL the people on the Forbes 400 list of richest Americans. I’m not talking about merely taxing them, I mean outright confiscate it!

    That way, we could partially pay down this year’s $1.3 TRILLION plus budget deficit.

    Unfortunately, next year and the years after, we’re completely out of (other people’s) luck.

    “How Little they actually *do* with it all.” Really? It’s not buried in their backyard. It’s INVESTED in companies that hire people, make useful things, create wealth, and generate tax revenue! Some of it is invested in banks that make loans to RESPONSIBLE borrowers.

    By the way, you might want to check your facts. I don’t believe that the combined accumulated wealth of the top 500 earners would buy every house in the country.

  12. Soquel by the Creek  ::  1:22 pm on August 25th, 2011:

    CHART: Average Federal Income Tax Rate by Income Group (1998-2008)
    http://soquelbythecreek.blogspot.com/2011/08/chart-average-federal-income-tax-rate.html

  13. PETE_R  ::  1:54 pm on August 25th, 2011:

    I wonder if Buffett’s comparison would shine if he compared himself to many Public Employees or Govt Federal workers EXEMPT from Payroll Social security taxes.

    No way—Exempt employees (many Teacher’s) do not pay any social security payroll taxes.

    They pay rates far below Buffett’s comparisons.
    Pete

  14. Rob in CT  ::  4:48 pm on August 25th, 2011:

    My household could be said to be in the “28% bracket” but of course we don’t pay that much, because 28% is the marginal rate, not our overall rate.

    I am aware of the various tax deductions in the code (and if I had my way, I’d rip most of them out and rebalance the rates, but my system would be highly progressive).

    Your point #1 supports my argument: the reason many people don’t pay federal income tax is because they simply don’t make enough money. Some of those are teenagers, yeah.

    Your point #2 I’m well aware of. I have a mortgage, for instance. I think it would be interesting to consider a phase-out for mortgage interest. It’s one thing to encourage homeownership. It’s another to encourage the biggest mortgage one can possibly get.

    Point #3 is good to note: we subsidize having kids. It may be a good idea to discuss whether we still think that’s a good idea. On the one hand, kids are expensive and we want people to have some kids. On the other, if you subsidize something you tend to encourage (or at least not discourage) it. Should we consider phasing out the credit on more than 2 kids?

  15. Rob in CT  ::  7:29 pm on August 25th, 2011:

    I forgot to add:

    The real issue I have with your comment is that it’s completely irrelevant to the point I was making (well, reiterating):

    Capital gains vs. income tax. You went off on an income tax tangent. Buffet’s best point is the differnce between cap. gains rate (15%) and income tax rates and how that results in ultra wealthy guys like him paying a lower rate than, say, I pay.

    You completely ignored that and went off on a rant about income tax deductions.

  16. BRK  ::  8:07 pm on August 25th, 2011:

    Wow, the rich were taxed 90% (and were still rich) during WWII. We are talking 4% people. Revenue is needed to cover wars that were not paid for by the people our country voted for. It’s called taking responsibility. I know the GOP wants to take responsibility right? (sarcasm)

  17. Soquel by the Creek  ::  1:57 pm on August 26th, 2011:

    BRK, you are correct. During World War II and until the Kennedy Tax Cuts, the top marginal tax rate was over 90%! However, people forget a few other facts.

    * The bottom marginal tax rate was over DOUBLE what it is today.

    * After World War II, the United States was the ONLY economic game in town. The Nazis had destroyed our European economic competitors and their industrial capacity. The Japanese had destroyed China. The United States destroyed both the German and Japanese industrial bases. More than half the planet was imprisoned by oppressive governments. If you wanted something manufactured, you bought it from the Unite States.

    * Marginal tax rates are much different than effective tax rates. Raising marginal tax rates rarely (never?) generates the expected amount of revenue because it distorts economic behavior. Any intelligent being reacts to pain, be it real or economic.

    Today’s situation is vastly different from post-World War II.

    Here’s a quick history of U.S. income tax policy and current tax rates.
    http://soquelbythecreek.blogspot.com/2011/03/tax-infographic-is-political-rorschach.html

  18. Luke  ::  5:45 am on August 27th, 2011:

    People responded to your post with points about income tax brackets because you are talking about tax brackets. You then cite 15% bracket, and later try to say you were only referring to the capital gains tax rate of 15% (not bracketed, just a single rate — if you were a CPA you wouldn’t confuse the two). Sorry, your post if confusing, it’s not just multiple people reading it wrong because of their own issues.

    Plus, how many couples with children make all their income from capital gains? It’s scary if you fill out tax returns for a living. Use Turbo Tax people. Most married couples making 100K combined (in income, like real people, not Warren Buffet and his billionare buddies) are in the 25% bracket for income above $69K (keep in mind it’s marginal folks, the average rate isn’t going to match the bracket you’re in, without even taking deductions into consideration).

    Warren Buffet makes a good point about the super-rich using the cap gains rate as an income tax “loophole”, but his choice of words to describe it was silly and only applied to his own, unique situations. Saying “most workers pay more taxes” than their boss is misleading at best. Most people’s supervisor make 50-200K+ depending on the industry, etc., which isn’t that much if you are married, have kids, and a house, etc. Even with deductions people in that situation can pay an effective tax rate that exceeds the 15% Warren Buffet and other super-rich old people pay on their capital gains. Warren Buffet isn’t a typical boss. He isn’t even a typical CEO. It’s like saying Bill Gates is like most people’s boss, or the creep that runs Facebook. An earlier post did a good job of explaining that.

    Where policy goes wrong is when some consider rich as anyone making $250K a year (and I don’t make that much). If you have student loan, are married, have kids, car payments, a house, etc. you are living nice – but obviously you aren’t rich like Warren Buffet — or even all the millionaires out there. It’s not fair to tax people making $150K more than people who make $50K and hardly pay any income tax at all, aside from payroll tax. It’s really just punishing success. I can understand having higher rates for the mega-rich, and raising the capital gains tax to close that as a possible loophole.

    The Bush tax cuts took to many people off the income tax rolls. They should bring back the 10% bracket, raise the capital gains tax to 20%, and lower the corporate income tax so we can attract businesses and not just investors.

  19. Luke  ::  5:54 am on August 27th, 2011:

    No, we should encourage people to have more kids (well most people at least). Especially the responsible ones who pay their taxes.

    We need workers for the future to pay taxes when you and I are retired, especially with all the baby boomers retiring now. When I was younger and single without kids I used to complain about the child tax credit too. Then my Dad simply explained: how the heck do you think you’re gonna get social security if we don’t increase the number of workers in future generations?

    Our economy will really go in the crapper if we continue the trend starter with the baby boomers — a population with a bunch of old people and not enough young, production workers to help maintain the standard of living for us all (think France). I don’t expect to have much from social security, but we need future generations and need to stop the birth rate from lowering so much, except for one or two demographics. And don’t forget: raising kids costs a lot of money, and takes a lot of time. Sure, it’s a choice the parents make, but in the end most of the kids will benefit all of society.

  20. Wealth, Taxes, and Warren Buffett | The Policy Brief  ::  8:37 pm on August 30th, 2011:

    […] According to the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center, Buffett’s point about the discrepancy between the tax rates on investment income and wage income is a valid and important one. However, most high-earners pay a higher tax rate than Buffett’s 17% and most low- and middle-earners pay a lower rate than the 36% Buffett’s colleagues pay. For Buffett to imply that all, or even most, wealthy people pay a lower tax rate than low- and middle-income people is inaccurate. […]

  21. peter998899  ::  12:01 pm on August 31st, 2011:

    There is no greater stimulus to an econcomy than higher income taxes. I have yet to see one wealthy business owner stimulate the economy when tax rates are low. As soon as tax rates go up, the wealthy business owners will have more incentive to spend earnings on employee bonuses and new capital equipment, rather than pay the income taxes on the money.

    Remember when Bush lowered the rates, all financial planners and CPA’s said – save the money and pay the tax – rates will never be as low. Well, that has come back to haunt the economy, as the wealthy business owners keep their earnings and do not redistribute them to the working class (not the poor) who then go out and buy bigger and better homes, new cars, appliances, home goods, etc.

    Until we give the wealthy in incentive to spend the earnings on people and capital equipment, the econcomy will continue to drag.

    Just think of what would happen if a company had $10,000,000 to award as bonuses to employess. What would stimulate the economy more – putting the money in the owners pocket (to be banked) or spreading the money among 1,000 employess ($10,000) each.

    Another idea –

    There should be a coporate tax penalty on anyone making more than $1,000,000 per year. I recommend the following:

    1. Reduce corporate income taxes to 15%.
    2. Offset this with a new 50% tax (paid by the Corporation) on any individual salary greater than $1,000,000 per year, to be paid by the Corporation. This would keep executive salaries down (who needs more than a $1,000,000 per year to live) and put more money in the workers pockets. Thus, if an individual made $2,000,000 in salary, the Corporation would have to pay a tax of $500,000 on the second $1,000,000 of compensation.

    This tax would reduce or eliminate some of the 8 and 9 figure bonus payments to executives of large companies, which are grossly unnecssary.

  22. Congress May Balk At Higher Taxes On Investments | Christian Media Cross  ::  10:17 pm on September 21st, 2011:

    […] of the Tax Policy Center wrote that “typical taxpayers actually pay effective tax rates well below the levels Buffett cites.” Here are the effective tax rates for different income groups and the number of people they […]

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  25. Taxing the Wealthy on the Margins and on Average | The Principal Blog  ::  11:16 am on November 29th, 2012:

    […] Here are my feelings on Buffet’s op-ed: Warren Buffett believes that there is a moral obligation to have the rich pay more taxes. I think his facts supporting this view are basically right on regressiveness of tax rates (meaning those with lower incomes pay more as a percentage of their income), when he compares people whose income is derived from investments rather than earned income (analysis of Buffett plan from the Tax Policy center is here). […]

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