The world’s most famous investor has some advice for Congress: get new management.
Warren Buffett appeared on Morning Joe Tuesday to talk taxes, wealth, and the investing game.
“If the United States Congress, specifically the House of Representatives, were a private industry, would you invest in it? Would you buy it?” Mike Barnicle asked.
“I think I’d get new management,” Buffett said with a wry grin. “I wouldn’t give up on the country. The country works; it’s a wonderful country. And believe me, 535 people aren’t going to screw it up forever for 312 million.”
But Buffett and Barnicle agreed that Congress could screw things up temporarily, as last year's debt ceiling standoff proved.
On Morning Joe, Buffett continued to advocate for higher taxes on the wealthy as a key source of raising the country’s revenues and preventing fiscal cliffs, an idea he championed throughout the 2012 election and often cited by President Obama. He further pushed that idea in a Monday New York Times op-ed where he advocated for a minimum tax on the wealthy.
“The 400 highest incomes of 2009, which averaged at $200 million a piece—a quarter of the people paid a rate at under 15%,” Buffett said. “Six people who were in that $200 million category paid nothing at all. They were in Romney’s 47%—they were the moochers! The way to get at them is with a minimum tax.”
Buffett’s suggested minimum tax, which would tax the wealthy at a rate of 30% on income above $1 million and 35% on income above $10 million, would help the country profit from its uber-wealthy citizens, like former presidential hopeful Gov. Mitt Romney and Buffett himself.
“It would hit me!” Buffett said. Instead of his rate of 15% or 16%, Buffett says he’d end up paying around 35%.