Warren Buffett, 81, revealed to the press that he made an astonishing $62.9 million last year, but he only paid $6.9 million in federal income taxes, which amounts - he freely admitted this week - to just a paltry 10 per cent of his total income.
Buffett says he wants to open the American public's eyes to just how little taxes people in his upper income bracket often end up paying.
Attempting to lead by his own example, his stated aim is to show up the claims of his fellow ultra-rich for what he believes they often are: eye wash.
Buffet's low tax rate is in itself something to envy, and he's betting that the American public will get the message.
Buffett's revelation is also a clear assist to President Obama, who is currently calling for the implement a national tax on the country's wealthiest one per cent, an idea supported by the public but strongly resisted by Republicans.
Buffett says he wants the public to know that only $39.8million of his salary was taxable because much of his income is generated from investments which are taxed at a significantly lower rate than standard wages.
That's the kind of eye-opening political and economic message that conservatives call class warfare, but Buffett is unmoved by their accusations. He wants, his says, for the country to know that many of his employees pay a tax rate in the 30 per cent range as opposed to the teens like he does.
'If you could get other ultra rich Americans to publish their returns along with mine, that would be very useful to the tax dialogue and intelligent reform,' Buffett wrote in a letter to Republican Senator Tim Huelskamp of Kansas.
'I stand ready and willing - indeed eager - to participate in this exercise,' Buffett continued, in a letter that was quoted by The Daily Mail.
Buffett wrote that rather than raising taxes on the middle classes, the people that should really be targeted are much higher earners than that,suggesting that the country's top 400 earners should be the real source.
'Having the 'favored 400' make their tax returns public - even if only code letters were attached to the various returns - would be a big step in informing legislators and the public of what needs to be done,' Buffett wrote to Huelskamp.
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