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(Reuters)   Warren Buffett, the other noted American communist after Ben Stein, wants to raise taxes on the rich   (reuters.com) divider line 133
    More: Interesting, Warren Buffett, American communists, ordinary income, State of the Union  
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780 clicks; posted to Politics » on 27 Nov 2012 at 9:18 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-27 12:03:08 PM  

max_pooper: Having a property tax based upon income instead of valuation will encourage over buying. That is not a sustainable situation as evident in the last real estate bubble.


I'm not advocating progressive property taxes.

jigger: Headso: Many of the states with the (artificially) lowest taxes are the ones that require the most money from the federal government.

And maybe they would receive less. But, like I said, every time an income tax or sales tax proposal comes up it is shot way down. People in those states don't put up with high taxation.


They don't put up with it because they can have their low taxation cake and eat it too through federal spending and programs. They would raise regressive taxes because those are the only ones they have or they would cut programs that help the poor and middle class.
 
2012-11-27 12:09:08 PM  

jigger: Carn: Yep. There should be no cut off.

How about a lower cut off?


A lower cut off makes it even more regressive, unless I'm misunderstanding you. I wonder what eliminating the cutoff would do for social security solvency.
 
2012-11-27 12:13:37 PM  
The difference going from 36% to 39.6% in they amount they pay on income over $250,000 is so minor, they won't even skip going out to eat or seeing a new movie.

Regular Average American Family though, it's gonna stop them from spending as much.
 
2012-11-27 12:13:39 PM  

Carn: I wonder what eliminating the cutoff would do for social security solvency.


It would only help marginally, as the expected increase in revenue from high earners would be negated by the majority of them drowning to death in their own tears for having to put in more than they could reasonably expect it to pay out.
 
2012-11-27 12:15:37 PM  

Nurglitch: Cythraul: Nurglitch: Lost Thought 00: Of course he's for it, he doesn't make a dime in income. Call me when he proposes taxing capital gains as income, that'll be real news

Interestingly he lives within his salary, which is pretty modest. He's not using those capital gains to do more than earn more capital.

That's weird. I'd buy an island. Or a small third-world country. What does he do? He uses his obscene amount of money to, make more money!

Something somewhat OCD about that.

At the risk of turning this into a financial planning seminar, there's nothing OCD about being frugal, living within your means, and using your capital to make more capital rather than plowing it into costly money-holes and burning it.

Something I think that doesn't get addressed, or maybe isn't addressed directly when finance is discussed, is what is being financed. Take buying a car versus being a house, if we suppose for the sake of argument that they are apples to apples. A car usually depreciates, and a house usually appreciates, and investing money into things that depreciate, that lose value. To my mind, and to wildly over-generalize, a good economy is driven by investments that create value, and specifically value that can in turn create value.



I will stop there:

Houses do not appreciate. Look at any long term index and it stays roughly exactly the same over 50 or even 100 years. The value growth is generally right at inflation. Any non-inflation value growth leads to a bubble like we just experienced.

Well my grandpa only paid 3,000 for his 1 acre and house and it is worth 300,000 today!. And your grandpa was probably working for 30-60 bucks a week which still equates to around 3 to 1 income / cost ratio.

Cars do lose value due to them being an object that degrades. However, if you bought a car in a garage on a piece of land as one package and never drove the car the property would increase in value at inflation and your car would by proxy also increase in value.
 
2012-11-27 12:28:09 PM  

jigger: Headso: Capital gains are great for middle class and poor people who are trying to get ahead, taxes on capital gains should be progressive and structured in a way where the middle class and poor pay almost nothing when they actually have those gains. People so quick to say just tax capital gains like income should think about how that could hurt small time entrepreneurs.

Let's make life easy. For some reason, people cannot get away from the idea of taxing income, which is immoral and a bad idea. But, if you absolutely must do it, let's go with a 10% flat tax on all income above $50k from whatever source. No deductions on anything, and I mean anything. The bureaucrats determine how much you pulled in that year, you pay 10% on the gross, done, over.


Problem is that does not work even though it seems like a simple solution. Every human has a minimum "minimum living requirement" to just wake up each day and live. A flat rate at 10% punishes people who make less money.

(This is super simplified)

So lets say 100 dollars a day is the minimum to survive (Bills, food, transportation, medical, other miscellaneous)
Guy #1 makes 160 a day ($20 bucks an hour... which is average in many states)
Guy #2 makes 10,000 a day (3.65 million a year)

Guy #1 160 - 16 = 144 - 100 = 44 dollars remaining or about 25% of his income.
Guy #2 10,000 - 1000 = 9000 - 100 = 8900 which is 89% of his income remaining.

The reason we have graduated taxes is to reduce the punishment of those who make less while increasing the burden on those who make significantly more off of the labor of those who make significantly less. Even raising the tax rate to 50% guy #2 would have more of his income available (as a percentage) after taxes and minimum living requirement.

This is why a flat tax, even while seeming obvious, is not the correct solution. Something more along the lines of a 50k deduction then 10% would make more sense. Basically you would not start paying taxes until you make 50,001 dollars. But then you have an argument that over half the country is not contributing anything. Our current tax system is good it just needs adjustment and many of the legislated (Bought by lobbyist's) loopholes removed.
 
2012-11-27 12:34:24 PM  
Buffets already figured out how to hide his money from the feds. He's all for raising the inheritance tax since he's putting all his money in a charitable trust to be run by his kids.

He's as hypocrite.
 
2012-11-27 12:40:44 PM  

Kazrath: Something more along the lines of a 50k deduction then 10% would make more sense. Basically you would not start paying taxes until you make 50,001 dollars.


That's actually exactly what the person you were responding to proposed.

jigger: let's go with a 10% flat tax on all income above $50k from whatever source.


See?
 
2012-11-27 12:45:22 PM  
It's amusing that Buffett is in the very upper reaches of the wealthy minority, and yet the lesser (and therefore presumably less successful) multimillionaires regard him as a class traitor.
 
2012-11-27 12:46:09 PM  

incendi: Carn: I wonder what eliminating the cutoff would do for social security solvency.

It would only help marginally, as the expected increase in revenue from high earners would be negated by the majority of them drowning to death in their own tears for having to put in more than they could reasonably expect it to pay out.


Thanks for the laugh haha
 
2012-11-27 12:46:14 PM  

jbuist: That's actually exactly what the person you were responding to proposed.


Thank god I'm not the only one. I was getting confused.
 
2012-11-27 12:48:01 PM  

Nurglitch: Lost Thought 00: Of course he's for it, he doesn't make a dime in income. Call me when he proposes taxing capital gains as income, that'll be real news

Interestingly he lives within his salary, which is pretty modest. He's not using those capital gains to do more than earn more capital.


Yeah -- no $200,000 car, no $100,000,000 house, no private army, . . . who does he think he is, anyway?
 
2012-11-27 01:02:42 PM  
Wow. Shamefully disingenuous. Buffett (and anyone) are free to argue for higher taxes on the rich. The appropriate level of progressivity is inherently subjective and a matter of opinion.

But buffett has always been wrong on the "my taxes vs. my secretary's" argument. He owns roughly a third of Berkshire Hathaway. Berkshires pretax earnings last year wee $15.3b, his proportionate share is $5.1b. berkshires tax expense last year was $4.6b, his share is $1.53b. So of his share of pretax earnings of 5.1b, corp taxes took 30%. The remaining 70% remained invested in berkshire, and when realized via dividend or sale of
Berkshire stock, would be taxed at 15% for an all in rare of about 40%, before state taxes. I'd suspect buffett's secretary's rate is far below that.

Also, re the "send that guy with the good idea to me" he is full of it as well. Yes, nobody is going to turn down a fantastic investment opportunity Because of an increase in taxes. But they aren't all fantastic. Some are marginal and an increase in potential taxes will reduce incentive to invest. He might not forego any deals because of a tax hike, but across the economy a tax hike will reduce expected returns on investment, thus reducing investment. This also is a fact.

Buffett KNOWS these facts. He's not some ignorant clown who gets all his economic and finance education from think progress and Paul krugman. Buffet is a brilliant investor who understands taxes. Therefore he is lying. Shameful.
 
2012-11-27 01:03:43 PM  
I have nothing to add to this stimulating thread other than to say I know somebody who says he nearly ran over Warren Buffet and Bill Gates in the parking lot of Gorat's.

He was a fraction of a second and about five feet away from wiping out billions (or at least hundreds of millions) of dollars of market cap - but probably would have also been responsible for a whole lotta money going to charities simultaneously.
 
2012-11-27 01:05:21 PM  

jbuist: jigger: Ooh, FICA's a flat tax, isn't it?

Sorta. It's a flat rate but it cuts off after $106k (or something like that) in income. It's really regressive.


Social security is a regressive program?
 
2012-11-27 01:17:53 PM  

Kazrath: Houses do not appreciate. Look at any long term index and it stays roughly exactly the same over 50 or even 100 years. The value growth is generally right at inflation. Any non-inflation value growth leads to a bubble like we just experienced.

Well my grandpa only paid 3,000 for his 1 acre and house and it is worth 300,000 today!. And your grandpa was probably working for 30-60 bucks a week which still equates to around 3 to 1 income / cost ratio.


Have you heard of the Herengracht house index?

A finance professor has tracked housing prices in a posh area of Amsterdam from the 1620s to the 1970s, and in a follow-up study added to the data set up to 2008.

Link to full text of original paper

In the long run, real estate values track inflation.

Of course, there is considerable volatility, and during one's lifetime there can be significant variations in valuation. In other words, "the market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent."
 
2012-11-27 01:31:13 PM  

Carn: incendi: tenpoundsofcheese: Redacted for people who have TPOC on ignore

Couldn't be bothered to read the article or the thread before waltzing in and taking a dump, eh?

Trolls gonna troll.


Farks pretty damn tolerant when it comes to trolling, but it does have a limit.

I think this is beyond that limit.
 
2012-11-27 01:31:30 PM  

Debeo Summa Credo: Wow. Shamefully disingenuous. Buffett (and anyone) are free to argue for higher taxes on the rich. The appropriate level of progressivity is inherently subjective and a matter of opinion.

But buffett has always been wrong on the "my taxes vs. my secretary's" argument. He owns roughly a third of Berkshire Hathaway. Berkshires pretax earnings last year wee $15.3b, his proportionate share is $5.1b. berkshires tax expense last year was $4.6b, his share is $1.53b. So of his share of pretax earnings of 5.1b, corp taxes took 30%. The remaining 70% remained invested in berkshire, and when realized via dividend or sale of
Berkshire stock, would be taxed at 15% for an all in rare of about 40%, before state taxes. I'd suspect buffett's secretary's rate is far below that.

Also, re the "send that guy with the good idea to me" he is full of it as well. Yes, nobody is going to turn down a fantastic investment opportunity Because of an increase in taxes. But they aren't all fantastic. Some are marginal and an increase in potential taxes will reduce incentive to invest. He might not forego any deals because of a tax hike, but across the economy a tax hike will reduce expected returns on investment, thus reducing investment. This also is a fact.

Buffett KNOWS these facts. He's not some ignorant clown who gets all his economic and finance education from think progress and Paul krugman. Buffet is a brilliant investor who understands taxes. Therefore he is lying. Shameful.


Buffett is not the same entity as the corporation Berkshire. Most people don't count corporate taxes on invested companies as a tax to their personal income. The equation begins at the capital gains tax rate, and Buffett has always been consistent and technically correct about this, the best kind of correctly.
 
2012-11-27 01:32:13 PM  

Carn: Debeo Summa Credo: Wow. Shamefully disingenuous. Buffett (and anyone) are free to argue for higher taxes on the rich. The appropriate level of progressivity is inherently subjective and a matter of opinion.

But buffett has always been wrong on the "my taxes vs. my secretary's" argument. He owns roughly a third of Berkshire Hathaway. Berkshires pretax earnings last year wee $15.3b, his proportionate share is $5.1b. berkshires tax expense last year was $4.6b, his share is $1.53b. So of his share of pretax earnings of 5.1b, corp taxes took 30%. The remaining 70% remained invested in berkshire, and when realized via dividend or sale of
Berkshire stock, would be taxed at 15% for an all in rare of about 40%, before state taxes. I'd suspect buffett's secretary's rate is far below that.

Also, re the "send that guy with the good idea to me" he is full of it as well. Yes, nobody is going to turn down a fantastic investment opportunity Because of an increase in taxes. But they aren't all fantastic. Some are marginal and an increase in potential taxes will reduce incentive to invest. He might not forego any deals because of a tax hike, but across the economy a tax hike will reduce expected returns on investment, thus reducing investment. This also is a fact.

Buffett KNOWS these facts. He's not some ignorant clown who gets all his economic and finance education from think progress and Paul krugman. Buffet is a brilliant investor who understands taxes. Therefore he is lying. Shameful.

Buffett is not the same entity as the corporation Berkshire. Most people don't count corporate taxes on invested companies as a tax to their personal income. The equation begins at the capital gains tax rate, and Buffett has always been consistent and technically correct about this, the best kind of correctly.


Also the best kind of grammar.
 
2012-11-27 01:48:52 PM  

Carn: Carn: Debeo Summa Credo: Wow. Shamefully disingenuous. Buffett (and anyone) are free to argue for higher taxes on the rich. The appropriate level of progressivity is inherently subjective and a matter of opinion.

But buffett has always been wrong on the "my taxes vs. my secretary's" argument. He owns roughly a third of Berkshire Hathaway. Berkshires pretax earnings last year wee $15.3b, his proportionate share is $5.1b. berkshires tax expense last year was $4.6b, his share is $1.53b. So of his share of pretax earnings of 5.1b, corp taxes took 30%. The remaining 70% remained invested in berkshire, and when realized via dividend or sale of
Berkshire stock, would be taxed at 15% for an all in rare of about 40%, before state taxes. I'd suspect buffett's secretary's rate is far below that.

Also, re the "send that guy with the good idea to me" he is full of it as well. Yes, nobody is going to turn down a fantastic investment opportunity Because of an increase in taxes. But they aren't all fantastic. Some are marginal and an increase in potential taxes will reduce incentive to invest. He might not forego any deals because of a tax hike, but across the economy a tax hike will reduce expected returns on investment, thus reducing investment. This also is a fact.

Buffett KNOWS these facts. He's not some ignorant clown who gets all his economic and finance education from think progress and Paul krugman. Buffet is a brilliant investor who understands taxes. Therefore he is lying. Shameful.

Buffett is not the same entity as the corporation Berkshire. Most people don't count corporate taxes on invested companies as a tax to their personal income. The equation begins at the capital gains tax rate, and Buffett has always been consistent and technically correct about this, the best kind of correctly.

Also the best kind of grammar.


Corporations are double taxed because they are people too, my friend.
 
2012-11-27 01:57:49 PM  

Parthenogenetic: Kazrath: Houses do not appreciate. Look at any long term index and it stays roughly exactly the same over 50 or even 100 years. The value growth is generally right at inflation. Any non-inflation value growth leads to a bubble like we just experienced.

Well my grandpa only paid 3,000 for his 1 acre and house and it is worth 300,000 today!. And your grandpa was probably working for 30-60 bucks a week which still equates to around 3 to 1 income / cost ratio.

Have you heard of the Herengracht house index?

A finance professor has tracked housing prices in a posh area of Amsterdam from the 1620s to the 1970s, and in a follow-up study added to the data set up to 2008.

Link to full text of original paper

In the long run, real estate values track inflation.

Of course, there is considerable volatility, and during one's lifetime there can be significant variations in valuation. In other words, "the market can remain irrational longer than you can remain solvent."


Amsterdam from 1620 to 1970 is rather a special case. It has remained a prosperous, urban trading center over that entire period of time. That study does not allow for increases of value due to changes in land use and development.

A like sized parcel on the banks of what is now called the Chicago River would show a far different result from 1620 to 1970.
 
2012-11-27 02:34:08 PM  

btchin trans-am: Carn: Carn: Debeo Summa Credo: Wow. Shamefully disingenuous. Buffett (and anyone) are free to argue for higher taxes on the rich. The appropriate level of progressivity is inherently subjective and a matter of opinion.

But buffett has always been wrong on the "my taxes vs. my secretary's" argument. He owns roughly a third of Berkshire Hathaway. Berkshires pretax earnings last year wee $15.3b, his proportionate share is $5.1b. berkshires tax expense last year was $4.6b, his share is $1.53b. So of his share of pretax earnings of 5.1b, corp taxes took 30%. The remaining 70% remained invested in berkshire, and when realized via dividend or sale of
Berkshire stock, would be taxed at 15% for an all in rare of about 40%, before state taxes. I'd suspect buffett's secretary's rate is far below that.

Also, re the "send that guy with the good idea to me" he is full of it as well. Yes, nobody is going to turn down a fantastic investment opportunity Because of an increase in taxes. But they aren't all fantastic. Some are marginal and an increase in potential taxes will reduce incentive to invest. He might not forego any deals because of a tax hike, but across the economy a tax hike will reduce expected returns on investment, thus reducing investment. This also is a fact.

Buffett KNOWS these facts. He's not some ignorant clown who gets all his economic and finance education from think progress and Paul krugman. Buffet is a brilliant investor who understands taxes. Therefore he is lying. Shameful.

Buffett is not the same entity as the corporation Berkshire. Most people don't count corporate taxes on invested companies as a tax to their personal income. The equation begins at the capital gains tax rate, and Buffett has always been consistent and technically correct about this, the best kind of correctly.

Also the best kind of grammar.

Corporations are double taxed because they are people too, my friend.


Corporations are not end users of the income they generate. They cannot consume goods for enjoyment or sustenance the way a person would. They are mere conduits through which individuals collectively own a business. Just like an LLP is a conduit through which individuals own businesses.

Unlike sole proprietorships or llps, however, income taxes take two bites out of corporate business income before it ends up in the hands of the owners. You can agree with this for progressivity reasons, but those who compare the dividend or cap gains tax rates to ordinary tax rates without considering corporate taxes are stupid or lying.

You are correct there there is double taxation, though. Well, technically it's not quite double, do its more accurate to use the phrase "taxed twice".
 
2012-11-27 03:03:18 PM  

Debeo Summa Credo: btchin trans-am: Carn: Carn: Debeo Summa Credo: Wow. Shamefully disingenuous. Buffett (and anyone) are free to argue for higher taxes on the rich. The appropriate level of progressivity is inherently subjective and a matter of opinion.

But buffett has always been wrong on the "my taxes vs. my secretary's" argument. He owns roughly a third of Berkshire Hathaway. Berkshires pretax earnings last year wee $15.3b, his proportionate share is $5.1b. berkshires tax expense last year was $4.6b, his share is $1.53b. So of his share of pretax earnings of 5.1b, corp taxes took 30%. The remaining 70% remained invested in berkshire, and when realized via dividend or sale of
Berkshire stock, would be taxed at 15% for an all in rare of about 40%, before state taxes. I'd suspect buffett's secretary's rate is far below that.

Also, re the "send that guy with the good idea to me" he is full of it as well. Yes, nobody is going to turn down a fantastic investment opportunity Because of an increase in taxes. But they aren't all fantastic. Some are marginal and an increase in potential taxes will reduce incentive to invest. He might not forego any deals because of a tax hike, but across the economy a tax hike will reduce expected returns on investment, thus reducing investment. This also is a fact.

Buffett KNOWS these facts. He's not some ignorant clown who gets all his economic and finance education from think progress and Paul krugman. Buffet is a brilliant investor who understands taxes. Therefore he is lying. Shameful.

Buffett is not the same entity as the corporation Berkshire. Most people don't count corporate taxes on invested companies as a tax to their personal income. The equation begins at the capital gains tax rate, and Buffett has always been consistent and technically correct about this, the best kind of correctly.

Also the best kind of grammar.

Corporations are double taxed because they are people too, my friend.

Corporations are not end users of the income they generate. They cannot consume goods for enjoyment or sustenance the way a person would. They are mere conduits through which individuals collectively own a business. Just like an LLP is a conduit through which individuals own businesses.

Unlike sole proprietorships or llps, however, income taxes take two bites out of corporate business income before it ends up in the hands of the owners. You can agree with this for progressivity reasons, but those who compare the dividend or cap gains tax rates to ordinary tax rates without considering corporate taxes are stupid or lying.

You are correct there there is double taxation, though. Well, technically it's not quite double, do its more accurate to use the phrase "taxed twice".


There is no double taxation. Corporation pay income taxes on income generated. Individuals pay income taxes on income generated. The money only becomes the investors money, after it has been transferred. It is no different that money you use to pay the plumber has already been taxed as income and will be taxed again when it becomes income earned by the plumber.

Any sort of LLC that uses after tax income to transfer money left over after paying expenses to its sole employee/owner needs to hire a better, more Jewish accountant.

A large corporation can "transfer" money left over after paying expenses to the share holders through investing that money in growing the business and making the shares more valuable. The corporation does not have to pay income taxes on the money is used to hire extra outside sales staff to encourage more business nor does it pay income taxes on the money spent to increase its production and warehousing capabilities nor money spent on additional delivery trucks and drivers.The value of that package of money spent on growing the business has potential to generate greater income for the investor than if it was simply transferred to them via cash. Of course there is the risk that the investment will not not pan out, but that risk that is required to be taken to avoid paying corporate income taxes.

Hoarding cash reserves should yield a higher tax than investing it. That's using the tax code to encourage growth and economic expansion, that's exactly the way it should be.
 
2012-11-27 03:10:50 PM  

max_pooper: Hoarding cash reserves should yield a higher tax than investing it. That's using the tax code to encourage growth and economic expansion, that's exactly the way it should be.


Forget it Max. It's Potatotown.
 
2012-11-27 03:49:33 PM  

btchin trans-am: max_pooper: Hoarding cash reserves should yield a higher tax than investing it. That's using the tax code to encourage growth and economic expansion, that's exactly the way it should be.

Forget it Max. It's Potatotown.


It certainly is, considering "hoarding cash reserves" is investing it. What do you think happens to the cash that is "hoarded" by corporations? Do you think it goes in a farking mattress or into a safe in the CEOs office?
 
2012-11-27 04:26:55 PM  
That Freedom hater!!!!!
 
2012-11-27 04:28:16 PM  

DoomPaul: But if we raise taxes on the rich, they won't create anymore high paying jobs!

[i47.tinypic.com image 770x664]




Beautiful!
 
2012-11-27 04:45:11 PM  

Debeo Summa Credo: btchin trans-am: max_pooper: Hoarding cash reserves should yield a higher tax than investing it. That's using the tax code to encourage growth and economic expansion, that's exactly the way it should be.

Forget it Max. It's Potatotown.

It certainly is, considering "hoarding cash reserves" is investing it. What do you think happens to the cash that is "hoarded" by corporations? Do you think it goes in a farking mattress or into a safe in the CEOs office?


It goes into a bank, but it's still "cash."

You should run for the mayor of Potatoetown,

"Hoarding cash reserves" it definitely not investing it. Cash is not an investment. I used the term "hoarding" to refer to cash held by the corporation. If a corporation wishes to sit on its money left over after paying expenses as cash sitting in a bank account, that's fine, it will be taxed as income. If the company wishes to use the money for business expansion, even better, that's why it is not taxed as income. It's better for the economy because it expansions GDP and it's better for the investor because they company's value increases along with the shares the investors own.
 
2012-11-27 06:31:15 PM  

max_pooper: Debeo Summa Credo: btchin trans-am: max_pooper: Hoarding cash reserves should yield a higher tax than investing it. That's using the tax code to encourage growth and economic expansion, that's exactly the way it should be.

Forget it Max. It's Potatotown.

It certainly is, considering "hoarding cash reserves" is investing it. What do you think happens to the cash that is "hoarded" by corporations? Do you think it goes in a farking mattress or into a safe in the CEOs office?

It goes into a bank, but it's still "cash."

You should run for the mayor of Potatoetown,

"Hoarding cash reserves" it definitely not investing it. Cash is not an investment. I used the term "hoarding" to refer to cash held by the corporation.


Cash balances are either in the bank or in money market funds. Do you think they put it in a vault and let it all sit? Is your knowledge of banking based on what you've seen in cowboy movies or cartoons? Money market borrowers use the funds in their own operations, i.e. investment, or the bank lends the funds deposited to firms who are using it for their own operations - again, investment.

If a corporation wishes to sit on its money left over after paying expenses as cash sitting in a bank
account, that's fine, it will be taxed as income. If the company wishes to use the money for business expansion, even better, that's why it is not taxed as income. It's better for the economy because it expansions GDP and it's better for the investor because they company's value increases along with the shares the investors own.


Where do you guys get this crap? Is there some left wing website that posts nonsensical financial talking points for you trolls to run with? You seem to get worse and worse by the day.

A little lesson in accounting and corporate finance: If a company uses its earnings to invest via spending on tax deductible investments (such as hiring another worker- ignoring the fact that actual physical capital investments are amortized for tax purposes over years), it expects to earn a profit on that investment. The taxable income isn't eliminated, it is actually increased assuming the investment is profitable.

So say it made $100 in pre-tax income on our lemonade stand corporation. Uh oh, here comes the corporate tax man! But wait!! Under max_pooper's brilliant tax avoidance plan, all we have to do is reinvest it in the business and we won't have to pay taxes. So we invest by hiring another lemonade stand worker and buying all the lemons and sugar she needs to run it. She sells all the lemonade for a total of $110. A successful investment! Max, you're a genius! Wait, who is that? Why is the tax man coming back? Oh yeah, we spent $100 on our investment, but got $110 back in revenue. Now our taxable income is $110 instead of the original $100. Oh noes!!!

A corporation will only reinvest in projects that are expected to be profitable, and meet its after-tax cost of capital guidelines. These projects are finite in number - at some point it becomes impossible to reinvest all your pre-tax income profitably. At that point the company will stop investing and be stuck with all that taxable income. Which, as I stated before, will be taxed at the corporate level, and again when distributed to the owners.

There is no double taxation. Corporation pay income taxes on income generated. Individuals pay income taxes on income generated. The money only becomes the investors money, after it has been transferred. It is no different that money you use to pay the plumber has already been taxed as income and will be taxed again when it becomes income earned by the plumber.

No, it is different because the income from a plumber's business is not taxed at the business level and again when the plumber takes it out to buy porn or hamburgers or whatever. It is taxed once, at the individual level. Corporate income is taxed once at the business level, via the corporate income tax, and again when distributed to the owner. See the difference now? I certainly hope so because it cannot get much clearer than that.

I await your moving of the goalposts.
 
2012-11-28 12:55:06 AM  

Debeo Summa Credo: Wow. Shamefully disingenuous. Buffett (and anyone) are free to argue for higher taxes on the rich. The appropriate level of progressivity is inherently subjective and a matter of opinion.

But buffett has always been wrong on the "my taxes vs. my secretary's" argument. He owns roughly a third of Berkshire Hathaway. Berkshires pretax earnings last year wee $15.3b, his proportionate share is $5.1b. berkshires tax expense last year was $4.6b, his share is $1.53b. So of his share of pretax earnings of 5.1b, corp taxes took 30%. The remaining 70% remained invested in berkshire, and when realized via dividend or sale of
Berkshire stock, would be taxed at 15% for an all in rare of about 40%, before state taxes. I'd suspect buffett's secretary's rate is far below that.


Also, re the "send that guy with the good idea to me" he is full of it as well. Yes, nobody is going to turn down a fantastic investment opportunity Because of an increase in taxes. But they aren't all fantastic. Some are marginal and an increase in potential taxes will reduce incentive to invest. He might not forego any deals because of a tax hike, but across the economy a tax hike will reduce expected returns on investment, thus reducing investment. This also is a fact.

Buffett KNOWS these facts. He's not some ignorant clown who gets all his economic and finance education from think progress and Paul krugman. Buffet is a brilliant investor who understands taxes. Therefore he is lying. Shameful.


That's assuming that Berkshire Hathaway (as well as other corporations) is almost entirely financed by equity. If a corporation borrows money to make an investment, that debt is tax deductible. This lowers their effective tax rate. In extreme cases, this can actually produce a negative effective tax rate for the corporation even before taking into account all the other ways corporations can hide their money from taxation; Brookings estimated that the average effective tax rate on a debt-financed investment is -6%.

All that said, yes, Berkshire Hathaway has tons of capital and likes financing its investments through equity. But they are almost certainly sui generis. Far more companies finance investments through debt than through equity. The average effective tax rate on corporations in 2011 was just over 12%, far lower than the 35% top marginal rate. That means the average qualified dividend and long-term capital gain from a corporation is getting taxed at an effective rate of 27%. So even if you take into account imputed corporate taxes, the rate being paid on qualified dividends and long-term capital gains can still be lower than what people can pay on wages. And if you go to the extreme end of debt financing like many large companies do, the effective tax rate can be lower than people pay on their first dollar of wages thanks to FICA taxes. Please tell me how that is even remotely fair.
 
2012-11-28 03:59:29 AM  

Debeo Summa Credo: Corporate income is taxed once at the business level, via the corporate income tax, and again when distributed to the owner. See the difference now?


The corporation and the owner(s) are not the same entity. That is, in fact, one of the purposes of corporate personhood. For example, the owner(s) aren't individually responsible for the corporation's debt should it go bankrupt. Since the corporation and its owner(s) are not the same thing they are taxed separately and it's not double taxation any more than any other income transfer.
 
2012-11-28 05:38:43 AM  

hinten: The most amazing thing to see is that the comments under TFA all focus on the fact that "poor people don't even pay 1% in taxes."


Which is impossible, unless they're buying nothing but food, and even then, only if their state doesn't put a sales tax on food.
 
2012-11-28 05:48:33 AM  

jncgrasshopper: tenpoundsofcheese: jncgrasshopper: tenpoundsofcheese: Wut a surprise!


I would suggest 30 percent of taxable income between $1 million and $10 million, and 35 percent on amounts above that. A plain and simple rule like that will block the efforts of lobbyists, lawyers and contribution-hungry legislators to keep the ultrarich paying rates well below those incurred by people with income just a tiny fraction of ours. Only a minimum tax on very high incomes will prevent the stated tax rate from being eviscerated by these warriors for the wealthy.

Right: he says it wouldn't hurt to raise capital gains, but wut a surprise, he only has a proposal to raise the income tax.
surprise!
He has NO proposal to raise the capital gains tax. NONE.

It's not the raising of taxes, it's the enforcement of a minimum tax. You're reading comprehension is lacking.


The problem with a minimum tax is that that does create the scenario that the right says raising the highest tax bracket rates would: People would arrange it so their incomes would only be $999,999.99...thus not be subject to the sledgehammer that would come when they cross the threshold.

A better way would be to introduce a few new progressive tax brackets....say, 70% of all income above $1 million, and 95% of all income above $10 million. This, plus the raising of the current highest tax bracket to 40%, and the treating of capital gains like normal income, would be the true catalyst to the economy.

/Don't overthink it Warren. The structure is there; use it!
 
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