Buffett: The Rich Pay Too Little


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Back in 1986, a turning point in the federal tax reform debate came when President Ronald Reagan realized (with a little help from Donald Regan) how absurd it was that he should pay a lower income tax rate than his secretary. The subsequently-enacted 1986 Tax Reform Act got rid of special tax breaks for capital gains that were helping to make this possible, and brought our federal income tax system back where it should be: taxing wages and capital gains at exactly the same rate.

Twenty years later, the capital gains tax breaks are back with a vengeance-- the top tax rate on capital gains is 15 percent, less than half the 35 percent top rate on regular income-- and Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett is ringing the same bell:
Last year, Buffett said, he was taxed at 17.7 percent on his taxable income of more than $46 million. His receptionist was taxed at about 30 percent.
By most accounts, the driving factor behind his super-low tax rate is that virtually all of his income comes in the form of capital gains.

It's a little bit harder to figure how his receptionist could be paying an effective tax rate of 30 percent, however.

Read more about it here.
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