Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Sounds like a great boss.

Michael Frank uses some math on Buffet's complaints that he's not paying enough in taxes.

No matter how one cuts it, Buffett’s total federal tax burden of 17.4 percent is below the norm for the “super-rich.” Among the wealthiest 0.1 percent of taxpayers, for example, the average tax rate in 2008 was 22.7 percent. Even among the top 400 taxpayers, Buffett still fared well. The average rate among this elite group still came in at 18.1 percent. Clearly, Mr. Buffett’s tax accountants earned their fees.

Buffett also argues that his tax burden is considerably below those of his employees. He writes that his 17.4 percent tax burden was “actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent.”

If this is accurate, Buffett ought to loan out his tax team to his employees. The same IRS tax data indicates that our tax code is an enormously progressive one, in the sense that, on average, high-income taxpayers fork over a much higher percentage of their income to the IRS than do the less well-heeled. Let’s say Buffett’s employees are in the top 10 percent of all taxpayers. If so, they appear to be vastly overtaxed. In 2008 that bloc’s average tax rate stood at 18.7 percent. (If you’re wondering, the average tax rate for all taxpayers in 2008, according to the IRS, was only 12.2 percent.)

One expects one's boss to make more than you, and yes one can expect a self-interested money-grubbing pragmatic boss to use every accounting trick to minimize fiscal loss.

But to have said boss then bleat about how little he pays? And how he pays a lower rate than you? Of course topping it all of are his demands that rates go even higher. Not just for him, but for everyone in his bracket.

That's liberalism in nutshell. How generous can you be at getting the State to take money from others by force to pay for things you like?

Mr. A would agree.

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