The Campaign Spot

Shouldn’t ‘Millionaires’ Taxes’ Target Actual Millionaires?

This morning, Warren Buffett appears on the op-ed page of the New York Times, renewing his call for “Congress, right now, to enact a minimum tax on high incomes. I would suggest 30 percent of taxable income between $1 million and $10 million, and 35 percent on amounts above that.”

It is an echo of his 2011 op-ed, “Stop Coddling the Super-Rich,” that called for Congress to “raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million” and “for those who make $10 million or more — there were 8,274 in 2009 — I would suggest an additional increase in rate.”

It’s worth noting that Buffett’s millionaire’s tax has the notion of taxing actual millionaires; remember that Obama wants to increase taxes on “the wealthiest,” defining it households with an annual income above $250,000. In some parts of the country, a couple or two parents making roughly $125,000 each may be considered wealthy, but in other parts, with a high cost of living, that may only support a relatively modest lifestyle — far from the multimillionaires evoked by this tax discussion.

Note that many states have enacted their own “millionaires’ taxes” that kick in at much lower levels of income — an 11 percent tax on income over $175,000 in Hawaii, a 9.9 percent income tax on income over $125,000 in Oregon, a 9.3 percent income tax on income above $48,029 in California, an 8.98 percent income tax on income above $66,105 in Iowa, and quite a few others.

Elsewhere, Susan Estrich laments that she voted for Obama to preserve Obamacare and Roe v. Wade, but “I did not vote for Obama because I think I am paying too little in taxes.”

Candidates are package deals, of course.


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