What Buffet really said about the Buffet rule (843 hits)
Media Matters For America / Research
Published: Sunday 13 May 2012
“Oh, it doesn’t -- it is a small improvement in a very bad tax system. It doesn’t cure all, it doesn’t cure all revenue problems remotely.”
Right-wing media claimed that Warren Buffett "blast[ed]" the Buffett rule and that he "isn't totally in favor" of it, citing a CNBC interview in which Buffett said the rule is a "small improvement" that "doesn't cure all revenue problems." But during that interview, Buffett said that he's "fine" with the rule as introduced by Senate Democrats and that it "encompasses the principles that I believe in."
Buffett: I'm "Fine" With The Buffett Rule; "It Encompasses The Principles That I Believe In"Buffett On CNBC: "I'm Fine With" The Buffett Rule; "It Encompasses The Principles That I Believe In." From the May 7 edition of CNBC's Squawk Box:
ANDREW ROSS SORKIN (co-host): You know, Warren, to me, one of the most interesting answers that came out of the meeting was about the Buffett rule, and in particular, sounded to me like you were indicating that what the White House has done with the Buffett rule is different than what you would've done. And I think you used the quote that it's been butchered a bit. Could you elaborate on that?
BUFFETT: No, no. No, I said some of the commentary about it has been butchered or - but no, I would not say the rule at all has been butchered. Obviously, if I were writing a bill myself, there would be - there'd be a little difference. For one thing, there would probably be a different break point - maybe at $10 million or something of the sort. But, it's interesting - you mention the term "White House" because it's Senator Whitehouse who introduced the bill - Senator Whitehouse of Rhode Island. And I wrote him a letter after he introduced the bill and said I'm fine with it. I mean, everybody would do something a little bit differently, but it encompasses the principles that I believe in.
Buffett then responded to co-host Becky Quick's comment that "some of the criticism [of the Buffett rule] that's come out, though, has been that it's really a Band-Aid on a really bad tax system":
BUFFETT: Oh, it doesn't -- it is a small improvement in a very bad tax system. It doesn't cure all, it doesn't cure all revenue problems remotely. In my original article, I said, you know, we've got major problems on the expenditure side. And, no -- but it -- no, all it does is it says that when you've got 131 of the 400 largest incomes in the country that are averaging 270 million, you have a hundred -- a third of them paying at rates less than 15 percent, counting payroll taxes. That is something that should be corrected. [CNBC,Squawk Box, 5/7/12, relevant portion begins around 3:30]