September 25, 2011

IRA STOLL: The Buffett Tax Gambit.

By framing the fiscal-policy discussion this way, as a debate over whether the “super-rich” should pay more, Buffett and his allies in politics and the press avoid certain other questions. And those questions are more important ones. Questions like:

• Who should allocate capital, the people who earned it and own it, or the politicians in Washington as influenced by their lobbyists and campaign contributor cronies?

• How did we accumulate $14 trillion in debt so rapidly, and what are the consequences of that?

• How and why has federal spending grown to $3.8 trillion in 2011 from $1.8 trillion in 2000?

As weak a case as Warren Buffett and Barack Obama have for raising taxes on the “super-rich,” it is nevertheless a debate they would almost certainly prefer to some of the alternatives.