If We Took Buffett's Advice, How Much Would It Help?
Quite a bit—but it likely won't happen
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 16, 2011 12:47 PM CDT
In this May 1, 2010 file photo, Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett gives an interview prior to participating in the annual shareholders meeting, in Omaha, Neb.   (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, file)

(Newser) – Warren Buffett made waves yesterday when he told the federal government to stop "coddling" him and other wealthy Americans and raise taxes on the rich. His plan would roll back the Bush tax cuts on people who earn more than $1 million and on capital gains and dividends income, and would close the loophole that allows a lower tax rate for hedge fund managers. But how much would it actually help? Quite a bit, writes David Kocieniewski in the New York Times: "The tax increase on all three fronts would generate as much as $500 billion in new revenue over the next decade."

That's about one-third of what the "super committee" has to cut from the deficit. "It’s not going to solve the long-term budget shortfall all by itself," says one economist, "but it could be an important piece of the puzzle." Even so, it likely won't happen, or at least not without a prolonged fight: All six Republican super committee members took a no-tax pledge. "This is not a serious solution for deficit control or getting this dismal economy on its feet," adds Rep. Kevin Brady. "Economic growth does not follow a tax increase. So as much as I respect Mr. Buffett, his proposal fails on virtually every level."
 

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