Fair points. A few thoughts:
- I think it's certainly fine to question Buffet's motives. I can see a few reasons why he would post an article like this.
1. He wants the good press. A billionaire asking for his taxes to be raised is noteworthy and probably wins him public favor.
2. There is some political game being played behind the scenes, and he will individually benefit in some valuable way by holding this position.
3. He believes what he wrote and sees this article as a way he can try and create change.
I am inclined to think that all three are in play to some degree. If you see another angle, toss it out there.
My sense is that there isn't something going on behind the scenes to make this stance more profitable for Buffet directly. But let's say, for the sake of argument, that there is a significant direct benefit that Buffet will receive if taxes on the super rich are actually raised to the same level of the lower class tax rates. The fact remains that while Buffet did pen the article, raising taxes on the super rich is not his idea. It has been around the block, supported by economists, politicians, and the like, and his is simply the latest voice to chime in. So even if there is a sinister motivation for Buffet, we shouldn't dismiss the proposal based on his endorsement.
- I completely agree with you that Buffet has and continues to take advantage of the very loopholes that he's arguing to close. I don't fault him for that, though. In a free market society we want our businesspeople and entrepreneurs to take advantage of every opportunity to be financially successful. But that's exactly why a shift in policy is a good solution to reducing our massive debt. Government regulations and taxes help to set up an environment that serves the national interest, not just the interests of people like Buffet.
-I think Buffet's proposal is limited because of the medium he was using. There are plenty of fully formed ideas on how to equitably raise revenues to help pay down the national debt.
Right now, with unemployment high, job growth stagnant, and poverty rates rising, the working poor are paying a significantly higher percentage of their earnings in taxes than people making over $10 million a year. This seems extraordinarily unfair to me. By simply raising the tax rates of the super rich to be even with the lower class, we can make a huge dent in the deficit.
Here's to a deeper discussion.