By Bill Wilson
The Obama Administration has turned to billionaire Warren Buffett,
chairman and chief executive of financial giant Berkshire Hathaway, to
make the case for raising taxes on the rich because, says Buffett, he
can afford it. On Aug. 22, the White House reportedly chatted with Wall
Street’s most famous investor to get his thoughts about the sputtering
What likely got the Administration’s attention was Buffett’s
oped in the New York Times. Buffett proposed that “It’s time for
our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.” He implied he
would like to see the capital gains be treated equally as income.
To wit, he wrote of the so-called “super-rich”, which he apparently
defines as households earning $1 million or more a year: “Most wouldn’t
mind being told to pay more in taxes as well, particularly when so many
of their fellow citizens are truly suffering.” Isn’t that nice of Mr.
But if he were truly sincere, perhaps he might simply try paying the
taxes the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) says his company owes? According to
Berkshire Hathaway’s own annual report — see Note 15 on pp. 54-56 —
the company has been in a years-long dispute over its federal tax bills.
According to the report, “We anticipate that we will resolve all
adjustments proposed by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (‘IRS’) for
the 2002 through 2004 tax years at the IRS Appeals Division within the
next 12 months. The IRS has completed its examination of our
consolidated U.S. federal income tax returns for the 2005 and 2006 tax
years and the proposed adjustments are currently being reviewed by the
IRS Appeals Division process. The IRS is currently auditing our
consolidated U.S. federal income tax returns for the 2007 through 2009
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