America's middle class has a friend in Warren Buffett, one of the richest men in the country. Buffett, worth $47 billion, wants to pay more taxes and thinks his rich friends like Bill Gates and others should too.
Buffett has called on Congress to commit to "shared sacrifice" and raise taxes on people earning more than $1 million per year. Buffett also says America's rich are "coddled" by America's tax code and Congress "as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species."
It wasn't the first time Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway and a resident of Omaha, Neb. has spoken out as an advocate for higher taxes for America's wealthy citizens. But this time he spoke directly to the 12 members of Congress appointed as the Super Committee, charged with deciding how to fix America's deficit problem and cutting $1.5 trillion or more from the federal budget.
Buffett wrote an op-ed piece in Sunday's New York Times urging the super committee to increase income taxes for the 236,000 people who earned more than $1 million in 2009, including taxes on investment profits like capital gains and dividends.
For the 8,000 people who earned more than $10 million in 2009, Buffett recommended an even higher tax increase.
"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," Buffett wrote in the op-ed piece.
Last year Buffett paid about $7 million in payroll and income taxes, he said. That figure equates to 17.4 percent of his taxable income. He said that proportion was lower than any of the other 20 people in his office, with tax burdens ranging from 33 percent to 41 percent.
"My friends and I have been coddled long enough," Buffett wrote, "by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It's time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice."