Billionaire Warren Buffett Defends Tax Rate Change Proposed by President Obama

Increasing taxes on the wealthy would bring fairness to U.S. taxpayers across the board, billionaire investor Warren Buffett said on Wednesday, backing the tax reform that President Barack Obama proposed in his State of the Union address.

During Tuesday night’s State of the Union address, President Obama, for the first time, put a minimum percentage figure on the amount of taxes the ultra-rich should pay – 30 percent – an idea that has been referred to as the “Buffett rule.” Photo: Pete Souza/The White House

In a week when taxes and tax returns have dominated the headlines, billionaire investor Warren Buffett jumped back into the political debate and showed his returns exclusively to ABC News’ Bianna Golodryga, adding, “I have never had it so good. … What has happened in recent years, we were told a rising tide would lift all boats, but the rising tide has lifted all yachts,” reports ABC.

Buffett’s secretary since 1993, Debbie Bosanek, sat next to her boss just hours after being invited by the president to the State of the Union address, where the president made her the face of tax inequality in America.

On Tuesday, Obama proposed a minimum effective tax rate of 30 percent on those who earn a million dollars or more, reviving his call for the so-called “Buffett rule,” designed to prevent millionaires from paying a smaller share of income taxes than middle-class taxpayers.

Buffett published an editorial in August stating that his own 17.4 percent effective tax rate was lower than that paid by wage earners in his office. He also said wealthy people should pay more taxes, Reuters reports.

Bosanek pays a tax rate of 35.8 percent of income, while Buffett pays a rate at 17.4 percent.

“I just feel like an average citizen. I represent the average citizen who needs a voice,” said Bosanek. “Everybody in our office is paying a higher tax rate than Warren.”

“The question is what is fair when you have to raise multi-trillions to fund the United States of America,” Buffett said in a joint interview with his long-time secretary, Debbie Bosanek, on ABC News.

“<Raising taxes> will not change my behavior. I have paid all different kinds of rates and I’ve always been interested in making money. I believe this should be a defining issue. Debbie works just as hard as I do and she pays twice the rate I do,” said Buffett, a Democrat and Obama supporter.

Buffett, a Democrat and Obama-supporter, had one question for Mitt Romney: “Do you think the tax system should be perpetuated?”

He doesn’t blame the former Massachusetts governor or any of the ultra-rich for paying lower tax rates than most Americans and challenged Congress to make a change.

“I don’t pay hardly any payroll taxes,” Buffett said. “Gov. Romney hardly pays any payroll taxes, Newt Gingrich hardly pays any payroll taxes. Debbie pays lots of payroll taxes.”

Buffett also lashed out at assertions by some Republicans that the “Buffett rule” is class warfare, the report said.

“If this is a war, my side has the nuclear bomb,” Buffett said. “We have K Street (Washington lobbyists). We have Wall Street. Debbie doesn’t have anybody. I want a government that is responsive to the people who got the short straw in life.”

Shortly after the proposed millionaires’ surtax was first raised, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell told NBC’s “Meet the Press”: “With regard to (Buffett’s) tax rate, if he’s feeling guilty about it, I think he should send in a check.”

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