Warren Buffett: “Lower My Taxes!”

Warren Buffett has recently made headlines by saying that the rich — people like him — should be taxed more.  But as I noted before, he went to court to dispute taxes the IRS said he owed, rather than just pay what the government said was, if not his fair share, at least his legal obligation.  If he thinks he should pay more, why doesn’t he at least pay what the IRS says he owes?

Now, according to this story, NetJets, one of Buffett’s companies, spent $1.5 million lobbying Congress for a specific provision in the Federal Aviation Administration Modernization and Reform Act that would save his company $25 million a year over the next three years in lower taxes.

For someone who argues that rich people like him should pay more in taxes, Mr. Buffett certainly works hard to see that the higher taxes he advocates for other rich people won’t apply to him.  When you spend that much to lobby for lower taxes, that goes some distance toward explaining how he could pay a lower tax rate than his secretary.

Randall G. Holcombe is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and DeVoe Moore Professor of Economics at Florida State University. His Independent books include Housing America: Building Out of a Crisis (edited with Benjamin Powell); and Writing Off Ideas: Taxation, Foundations, and Philanthropy in America .
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