Washington keeps talking about “shared sacrifice”—but it's not asking the mega-rich to join in, writes Warren Buffett in the New York Times. “While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks.” It seems that lawmakers “feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species.” The investor offers himself as a case in point: Last year, his taxes amounted to just 17.4% of his taxable income, while everyone else in his office paid an average of 36%.
He reflects on the 60 years he's spent working with investors, and notes that he has yet to see someone balk at making a sound investment because of tax rates—"not even when capital gains rates were 39.9% in 1976-77." As Congress’s new deficit-reduction panel begins its work, Buffett offers a suggestion: “For those making more than $1 million,” he writes,” raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including, of course, dividends and capital gains." Those making $10 million or more should see a second increase, he recommends. It’s time for Washington to stop the coddling and "get serious about shared sacrifice."