Former AmEx CEO Harvey Golub is wealthy, just like Warren Buffett, but unlike Buffett, he has no desire to fork over a larger portion of his income to the federal government. How dare Buffett assume he’s “coddled” with low taxes, writes Golub in the Wall Street Journal, when the truth is he’ll pay "80%-90% [of this year’s income] in federal income taxes, state income taxes, Social Security and Medicare taxes, and federal and state estate taxes.” But Golub’s biggest problem with Buffett’s argument is the fact that taxes are collected unfairly and spent unwisely.
“Before you call me greedy, make sure you operate fairly on both fronts,” he writes, noting that while 3% of the nation’s earners pay nearly half of the nation’s income taxes, “almost half of all filers pay no income taxes at all.” Paying less is fine, “but they should pay something.” And when it comes to how the government spends tax dollars, Golub has a laundry list of complaints that all boils down to the simple fact that government is failing to spend money on "programs that work." (He cites everything from sugar-farmer subsidies to money spent on trains no one travels on.) “Before you ‘ask’ for more tax money from me and others, raise the $2.2 trillion you already collect each year more fairly and spend it more wisely,” he concludes. “Then you'll need less of my money.” (Click for a similar argument and its rebuttal.)