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Is it time to reform the tax code? [Most commented]

August 18, 2011 |  1:23 pm

Warren Buffett 
Republicans criticizing Warren Buffett's complaints about the tax code don't seem to realize that his  ideas are similar to Ronald Reagan's, The Times' editorial board wrote in an editorial Thursday. Buffet wrote in a New York Times op-ed that when it comes to taxes, the super-rich get off easy in comparison to the middle class. The last time the tax code was reformed was under Reagan in 1986, when loopholes were closed and the number of tax brackets was reduced, the board wrote:

Yet in the years since, Congress has steadily drilled loopholes back into the code while lowering the tax burden for wealthy people who make money through investments rather than labor. That was the source of Buffett's complaint.

The response from Republicans, who are working tirelessly to block all attempts to level the playing field by raising taxes on the wealthy? Playground jeers. "For tax-raising advocates like Warren Buffett, I am sure Treasury would take a voluntary payment for deficit reduction," Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) said in a tweet.


Practically no one would pay voluntary taxes, not only because people resent paying more than their fair share but because, unlike charities, government spends money on many things that individual donors would prefer it didn't. Of course, Buffett's conservative critics know this; like most bullies confronted with a powerful argument, they'd rather mock it than try to refute it.

Readers on the discussion board wouldn't pay voluntary taxes either, but many agree that it's time to reconsider the tax code.

The rich are the ones influencing Congress against the rest of us

Anyone who criticizes Buffet for being honest about the way the mega-rich are abusing our country better be super rich themselves or they're a complete idiot.  I cannot understand middle class Americans who side with Millionaires on budget issues.  They're never going to let you join the club.  Give up the fantasy and realize the rich must keep you poor or they will be less rich...and they'll sacrifice the entire country to avoid that.  They're the ones influencing congress to set the rules against you.  WAKE UP!

--the Middle1

If you hate government spending, limit the benefits you take to what you put in

if you hate government spending so much, why don't you limit - until you die - the benefits you take from the government to only the amount you put in. You'd never take that deal the same way no one wants to voluntarily pay extra in taxes. Michele Bachmann cries and moans about too much spending and earmarks, but then writes numerous letters asking for the very same money. Same concept.


We need to reform the tax code

The tax code in this country is tens and tens of thousands of pages long. It has been conservatively estimated that the tax code contains gives aways for hundreds of billions of dollars and in fact the pork in the tax code may well reach north of 1.3 trillion dollars. Finally, if we taxed the earnings of everyone in this country that earned more than 250,000 dollars year at 100 percent, would we be able to balance our budget and begin to reduce the long term debt? The answer to this question is no. We need tax reform in this country. Instead we get distracted by issues such as the rich paying more to divert attention from the real problem. The need to reform the tax code, the need to create a system of taxation that is fair and raises the revenues needed to run the country, and to stop politicians from using the tax code of this country to reward supporters - favored special interests. Sadly, there are no adults in the room who will act in the interest of average hard working Americans. 


Everyone should pay the government, but the government doesn't know how to spend?

The author says people don't give voluntarily to the government because "government spends money on many things that individual donors would prefer it didn't." So on one hand, Mr. Buffett says we the taxpayers should pay more taxes because government knows best, and on the other hand, the author says he shouldn't have to voluntarily pay more because government doesn't know best. So which is it? Sounds like someone wants to pay lip service to equality, all the while keeping his  money safely in his own pocket.


We need shared sacrifice

The Republican refutation to Mr. Buffett's call for the wealthy to contribute more encapsulates their philosophy, which is against the common good.  Their idea: if YOU want to give more then YOU do it.  Buffett's idea:  WE all need to do it.

In differentiating his belief from the Republican approach, Mr. Buffett would hardly be living up to his own dictum by doing it himself and not encouraging others of his wealthy ilk to do it, too.  For only by shared sacrifice can the wealthy contribute as a group toward solving a problem started and exacerbated by the 6 years of George Bush and his Republican Congress.


If the super-rich are being taxed the same as the poor, that's not right

[…] Warren Buffet reported that he paid 17%. He was able to pay this because he qualifies for certain deductions that either allows him to ignore certain types of income or to take large/HUGE deductions on certain types of income.  He simply referenced that based on the tax code/law that there is a flaw in the system whereby his employees paid an average of 28% tax and he paid 17%.

I am a Republican, NOT a fan of taxes. I prefer a gov't be as small as possible while still capable of doing "the job." Taxes are necessary for gov't services, anytime you take money out of the private sector you reduce spending and investment which are the true gas for our economy.  But, I believe in equity. It is wrong for a person making [way] more to pay a tax rate that is [way] less.

IF the super-rich are being taxed at the same rate basically as a "pauper," that is not right or just.

I'm not a "Tea Party" person. I'm NOT a fan of anyone in govt who draws a line and simply won’t listen to discussion with an open mind. That is how a child behaves. So, Tea Party person – How do you justify not adjusting the tax law so the super-rich pay a fair percentage. You can't say eliminate taxes or Govt is not necessary. That will simply put you in the "dumb" class. 


*Spelling errors in the above comments were corrected.


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Photo: Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett. Credit: Arne Dedert / EPA

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