Filmed in 2005 for a Nebraska Public Television program, when questioned about the flat tax by a Nebraska college student, Warren Buffett and Bill Gates talk about how unfair taxation on the rich is.
Warren Buffet does not hesitate to respond, saying:
“Oh, I wouldn’t support it. You’d be amazed how flat it is already. If you look at both the payroll tax which is over 12% now and that applies on the first 80 or 90 thousand dollars of income.. so Bill and I pay practically none of that in relation to our income. The people that work for us.. it’s a big, big uh…tax, so if you take the tax that my assistant or that anybody in our office pays, they’ve got 12% on that first 80 or 90 thousand dollars, and then they have the income tax and their tax rate, literally, in many cases is not …well, it’s the same, maybe even higher than my own rate since they cut the rate on capital gains to 15% of dividends. What is going on in this country in the last… well, very recent years is a huge benefit to the very rich and not that much relief to people down below.
And people… when you read about tax rates they usually leave out the payroll tax and they don’t refer to this 12 and a fraction percent. So we have come, in my view, to a taxation system that’s much too flat in this country and frankly I think that Bill Gates and I should have a higher tax rate on the income we get. We pay a lot of taxes but it’s really at a very low rate and it’s a rate that’s less than half the tax rate that I was paying twenty-five years ago when I was making a lot less money. They’ve really taken care of the rich.”
Buffett went on to say “I could have gone through a good bit of my life without paying any income tax whatsoever and I frankly think it’s very unfair.”
Buffett is currently worth $57.5 billion U.S. dollars, the third richest person in the world.
Bill Gates, currently the richest person in the world with a worth of $70 billion U.S. dollars, said “..The rich should bear a somewhat higher proportion of the [tax] burden than they do today.”
Gates is also the single largest contributor to charity in the world. Buffett, a personal friend of Gates, contributes regularly to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among whose many projects include the goal of eradicating malaria from the planet.