Tax-cheat Timmy to be swapped out?

By WND Staff

Warren Buffett and President Obama in the Oval Office, July 14, 2010

Billionaire investor Warren E. Buffett called Republican presidential candidates “pathetic” and “stupid” for unanimously opposing tax increases as part of any debt-cutting deal with the White House.

Buffett made the remarks in an interview Monday with Charlie Rose after the talk-show host asked him what he thought of all eight GOP hopefuls rejecting even a 10-to-1 ratio of spending cuts to tax hikes at last week’s Iowa debate.

“That’s pathetic … stupid,” Buffet said.

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Despite his storied Wall Street persona, Buffett is a registered Democrat who sees eye-to-eye with President Obama on economic policy.

He contributed $4,600 to Obama’s last campaign – along with $28,500 to the Democratic National Committee – while stiffing John McCain and Republicans during the same 2008 election cycle.

According to other FEC records reviewed by WND, Buffett last year gave $4,800 to help reelect Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. He’s also donated to the Progressives United Political Action Committee, a group that funds the campaigns of leftist candidates.

Obama has said Buffett would make a “good choice” to head the Treasury Department, since he shares his views on improving “tax fairness” and income redistribution.

Obama said Buffett “understands that it is not enough just to help those at the top.”

Buffett earlier this month penned a New York Times column calling on the rich to pay more in taxes to help close the yawning budget gap. Echoing Obama, he said, “Our leaders have asked for ‘shared sacrifice.’ ”

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is expected to step down after serving out the current administrative term. Buffett told Rose he has already picked a successor to run his company, Berkshire Hathaway Inc., in the event he steps down as chief executive.

That a businessman who made his fortune in America’s free-market system would parrot an anti-business president has left not a few observers scratching their heads.

But in Obama’s 2006 memoir, he recounts visiting with Buffett at his office in Omaha, Neb., and quotes Buffet telling him that he whole-heartedly endorses his plan to raise taxes on the rich.

“If there’s class warfare going on in America, my class is winning,” Buffett lamented.

He also favors other Obama policies, including universal health care and college, along with more urban reinvestment.

“The market isn’t so good at making sure that the wealth that’s produced is being distributed fairly or wisely,” Buffett told Obama. “Those of us who’ve benefitted most from the market should pay a bigger share.”

According to recent IRS data, however, the top 1 percent of taxpayers paid about the same amount of federal individual income taxes as the bottom 95 percent.

Even as he complains about being undertaxed, Buffett confirmed on the “Charlie Rose Show” that he takes advantage of IRS tax breaks, including “carried interest” on income, and also draws Social Security benefits.

Buffett also wants to restore the so-called death tax ended by President Bush.

“When you get rid of the estate tax,” he told Obama in their private chat, “you’re basically handing over command of the country’s resources to people who didn’t earn it.”

Buffett also complained that he pays too little property tax on his Laguna Beach, Calif., estate, and wants to repeal California’s anti-tax measure, Prop. 13.

Obama says he asked Buffett how many of his fellow billionaires shared his views.

“I’ll tell you, not very many,” he laughed. “They have this idea that it’s ‘their money’ and they deserve to keep every penny of it.”

Buffett told Rose most rich got that way because they are “lucky.”

Obama acknowledged it may be surprising to some “to hear the world’s foremost capitalist talk in this way.”

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