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Warren Buffett Tells ABC Rich People Should Pay Higher Taxes

Warren Buffett, chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg
Warren Buffett, chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway. Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Nov. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Billionaire Warren Buffett said that rich people should pay more in taxes and that Bush-era tax cuts for top earners should be allowed to expire at the end of December.

“If anything, taxes for the lower and middle class and maybe even the upper middle class should even probably be cut further,” Buffett said in an interview with ABC’s “This Week With Christiane Amanpour” that is scheduled to air on Nov. 28. “But I think that people at the high end -- people like myself -- should be paying a lot more in taxes. We have it better than we’ve ever had it.”

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi plans to take up President Barack Obama’s plan to extend some of the tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush when the House returns after Thanksgiving. The legislation would retain lower tax rates and increased credits that apply only to the first $250,000 of a married couple’s gross income or $200,000 of a single person’s.

Unless Congress acts, marginal income tax rates will rise across the board, tax credits that benefit families will be slashed, and tax rates on capital gains and dividends will increase. In addition, a federal tax on estates worth more than $1 million will be resurrected after expiring for 2010.

“The rich are always going to say that, you know, just give us more money and we’ll go out and spend more and then it will all trickle down to the rest of you,” Buffett, chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., said in the interview. “But that has not worked the last 10 years, and I hope the American public is catching on.”

House Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer yesterday didn’t rule out backing a temporary extension of the Bush tax cuts for households earning more than $250,000 a year. He said he plans to discuss the matter with Obama.

“I’m certainly going to talk to him about how we move the ball forward,” Hoyer said on the CBS “Face the Nation” program.

To contact the reporter on this story: Juliann Neher in Washington at jneher1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Silva at msilva34@bloomberg.net

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