Economics Department


Date of this Version



Omaha World-Herald, Sunday, August 21, 2011


Copyright ©2011 Omaha World-Herald.


Recently in the New York Times, Berkshire Hathaway CEO Warren Buffett had advice for Congress's debt panel: Raise my taxes. For several years, Buffett has lamented his low tax liability. He contends that he is not paying his fair share because he pays just 17.4 percent of his taxable income to Uncle Sam, while others in his office who are much less well off pay an average of 36 percent. Buffett wants Congress to raise taxes on incomes over $1 million and raise them further for those making over $10 million. In particular, he wants taxes increased on capital gains and dividends, which are taxed at lower rates than ordinary income and represent a much larger share of income for the "super rich." Politicians and economists have taken various positions on this issue, but the main justification for Buffett's proposal — his comparison of tax liabilities — is misleading.