Multibillionaire investor Warren Buffett repeatedly slams President Bush for "injustice" of tax relief. Taxpayer advocate reminds Buffett that if he doesn\’t like tax cuts, he shouldn\’t take them.
WASHINGTON – Mega-rich investor Warren Buffett is the Robin Hood of the world\’s billionaire club: He has fought tooth-and-nail against both of President Bush\’s major tax relief plans, calling them unjust and giveaways to rich folks like him.
But taxpayers who support the president\’s plan have recently questioned Buffett\’s commitment. Is this man, who is so vocal against tax relief, taking that "unjust" tax relief once it becomes law?
"If the president\’s tax relief plan really is unjust, then Mr. Buffett should be ready and willing to sign a Pledge to his shareholders at Berkshire Hathaway and to every American he harangues that he won\’t accept that relief once it becomes law," said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist, who heads Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) in Washington, the nation\’s leading taxpayer advocacy organization. "Not to do so would make him an obvious hypocrite."
The president\’s plan would reduce taxes by $743 billion over 10 years, by eliminating the double taxation of dividend income and speeding up the implementation of tax rate reduction scheduled for future years. And as 54% of Americans are invested in the stock market, with 70% of the electorate shareholders in the 2002 midterm elections, the plan is both good public policy and great politics.
Yet, at the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting on Saturday, Buffett said the Bush Plan "screams of injustice," and that "the main beneficiaries will be people like me."
ATR has publicly asked Buffett to sign its "Anti-Hypocrisy Pledge," a promise to shareholders at Berkshire Hathaway and the American public that he will not take the president\’s tax relief plan, if enacted, and that he will not take any of the benefits from the June 2001 tax cut either, which lowered marginal rates.
"Buffett is so fabulously wealthy he doesn\’t remember that half of Americans are stockholders and all will benefit from the president\’s plan," continued Norquist. "But as long as he promises to not take the tax relief for himself, he\’s not a hypocrite."