Buffett Wouldn't Invest in Congress Without 'New Management'

Tuesday, 27 Nov 2012 10:24 AM

By Greg McDonald

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Billionaire investor Warren Buffett says he's still bullish on America, despite the gridlock in Congress over the budget deficit and taxes.
But he said if Congress were a private company, he'd be reluctant to invest now without "new management."
"We've come through a civil war, two wars in the 20th Century, the Great Depression, you name it, and this country works," Buffett said during an appearance this morning on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
"Just look where we were in 1776, and where we are now. I mean, we've got a winning formula."
But when asked if he would invest in Congress if it were a private business, Buffett laughed and said, "I think I'd get new management."
But he quickly added, "I wouldn't give up on the country at all. The country works. It's a wonderful country, and believe me, 535 people aren't going to screw it up forever for 325 million."
Still Buffett acknowledged that members of Congress "sure can" mess things up in the short-term by allowing the impasse over the so-called fiscal cliff negotiations to continue.
Buffett has recommended that Congress and President Barack Obama consider, among other things, a minimum tax on high income earners as a fair approach to increasing revenues and closing loopholes that are now being used by many wealthy investors to pay little or no taxes at all.
"The way to get at that is the minimum tax and it's very simple to do," he said. "And it would only apply on incomes at a million above and then at another level of 10 million and above."
Buffett said people making between $1 million and $10 million a year would pay a rate of 30 percent. Anything above $10 million would be taxed at 35 percent under his proposal.
"It would hit me," he said.
Buffett, one of the richest investors in the world, said the minimum tax makes sense because most of the nation's highest income earners pay less than 15 percent in taxes annually and some  of them pay nothing at all.
"They were in [Mitt] Romney's 47 percent," he joked, referring to the Republican presidential candidate's remarks during the campaign suggesting that nearly half of Americans paid no taxes and were dependent on government services.
"They were the moochers," he added. "They paid nothing."

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