Buffett Says U.S. Businesses Haven’t Been Hurt by Taxes

Warren Buffett, the billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A), said U.S. businesses haven’t been hurt by taxes and have benefited from declining rates in the past few decades.

“Corporate taxes have not been a problem for corporate America,” Buffett, 82, said today in an interview on CNBC. “The biggest beneficiary of reductions in tax rates in the last 30 or 40 years has been corporations, and the biggest increase has been in the payroll tax.”

Buffett, the world’s fourth-richest man, is pressing for higher taxes on the wealthy as U.S. lawmakers consider ways to avoid the fiscal cliff, which would impose more than $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts starting in January. President Barack Obama has proposed lowering tax rates for some businesses while reducing tax deductions.

“We’re raising dramatic amounts from the middle class,” Buffett said, citing the payroll tax. “It’s the most regressive tax.”

A reduction in the payroll tax to 4.2 percent from 6.2 percent percent is scheduled to expire at the end of the year. The tax is capped, so high earners only pay it on a portion of their wages.

“I’m paying practically no payroll tax,” Buffett said. “I pay it on my salary of $100,000.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Noah Buhayar in New York at nbuhayar@bloomberg.net; Zachary Tracer in New York at ztracer1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scheer at dscheer@bloomberg.net

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