Well, we've known for quite a long time that Warren Buffett, who wasn't always worth $40 billion-plus, has decided that he wants everyone in the top tax bracket to pay even more taxes. Of course, he didn't talk that way at all until he reached old age. I mean, what does he care at this point? His money will outlive him, so what the hell?... "I might as well have it taxed away." So generous.
And comes now another guilt-ridden multi-billionaire, Pimco's Bill Gross, who this month wrote:
"If you're in the privileged 1%, you should be ... willing to support higher taxes on carried interest, and certainly capital gains readjusted to existing marginal income tax rates ... The era of taxing 'capital' at lower rates than 'labor' should now end."
He goes on to confess that he's suddenly feeling "guilty."
Bill Gross is simply one of the mega-rich who readily admits that the favorable and economically productive tax policies of Presidents Reagan and Bush II helped to propel him to the highest reaches of the so-called "1%." But, for him and Buffett, the personal wealth game is essentially over, so higher tax rates aren't going to bother them much. After all, Buffett is 83, and Gross turns 70 in April.
But what about those further down in the 1%? They're not all billionaires. In fact, data from 2008 show that admission to the 1% began at just $380,000 in annual income. Lots and lots and lots of people make more than that. But if they have any notions about someday investing their money to become as wealthy as Buffett and Gross, well, those two billionaires will have none of that! "The salad days are over," they would declare, "and you just weren't born at the right time. Tough luck."
Is the 1% an exclusive club? Not really. But the 0.00000001% is, and these two selfish jerks want to keep it that way.