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Thread: French executives echo Buffett, volunteer to pay more tax

  1. #1
    SiriuslyLong is offline
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    French executives echo Buffett, volunteer to pay more tax

    PARIS Top executives from some of France's most successful companies including L'Oreal, Total and Danone are following the lead of U.S. billionaire investor Warren Buffett by offering to pay a one-time tax to help their government tackle its worsening debt load.

    The 16 executives, including the heads of car maker Peugeot-Citroen and Air France-KLM, said in an open letter that "at a time when the public deficits and the prospect of worsening government debt are threatening the future of France and Europe" they consider it "necessary to contribute."

    The letter was published on the web site of French weekly magazine Nouvel Observateur on Wednesday, ahead of the government's presentation of a list of new deficit-cutting measures.

    Liliane Bettencourt, the L'Oreal heiress and Europe's richest woman, also signed the letter. Bettencourt once took a $41.5 million tax rebate thanks to an election campaign promise by President Nicolas Sarkozy to cap the taxes of the super-rich. He reversed that pledge in March.

    The letter's authors Total CEO Christophe de Margerie, Peugeot-Citroen CEO Philippe Varin, ex-Renault CEO Louis Schweitzer and others say the "exceptional contribution" by France's richest taxpayers is their way of showing solidarity at a time when Sarkozy is demanding sacrifices from all French citizens.

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    Maybe Buffet and Soros will follow their lead???

  2. #2
    SiriuslyLong is offline
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    ..Tax My Fortune! Please! Why Warren Buffett Should Volunteer to Pay Higher Taxes
    By Daniel Gross | The Lookout – Mon, Aug 15, 2011..

    Our Yahoo! Finance colleague Daniel Gross argues that if Warren Buffett wants rich people like him to pay higher taxes, he should ask them to do as he does, not just as he says, and write the government a check:

    Warren Buffett Monday penned an op-ed in the New York Times in which he urged Congress to raise taxes on him and other rich folks. He pointed out that in a time of rampant inequality and fiscal crisis, it is absurd that many wealthy people pay much lower taxes on income earned from investments than middle-class pay on income earned from their wages.

    An excellent point. But talk is cheap, especially when the talk is about how you are being undertaxed. If Buffett thinks he should be paying more, critics say, he should just send a check to Washington. And that's a great idea.

    A century ago, anarchists used to speak about 'propaganda by deed' — a bold stroke that would capture attention, inspire change, alter public opinion, perhaps even foment a revolution. Of course, back then it meant, say, throwing bombs into the middle of a crowd. These days, a rich person — or corporation — could carry off such a coup by simply writing a check to the government.

    Throughout history, businesspeople have occasionally taken highly public actions that were seemingly irrational, risky and self-impoverishing. In 1907, during a vicious stock panic that threatened to engulf the U.S. financial system, J.P. Morgan single-handedly stepped in. "This is the place to stop the trouble, then," he said, while putting his own funds at risk to orchestrate a bank bailout. Amid the panic, John D. Rockefeller loudly deposited money in a troubled bank and pledged to buy stocks. In 1914, at a time of rising labor unrest, Henry Ford shocked his competitors (and the establishment) by announcing he would pay assembly line workers the above-market wage of $5 per day. These moves may not have seemed economically rational at the time. People who commit big sums to equities in the middle of crashes generally lose money, and businesses that intentionally pay unskilled labor above-market wages tend to go out of business. But they were actually very shrewd investments in the system. If U.S. markets ceased to function, J.P. Morgan's firm would have been among the biggest losers. Ford reasoned that his company would prosper if he could turn the automobile from a luxury product into a utility for the working- and middle class. He wanted to pay his workers enough so they could afford to buy his products. It worked out pretty well for Ford and his heirs.

    More follows here -

  3. #3
    Havakasha is offline
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    Why Taxing the Rich Is Good for America
    Posted 10:30AM 08/24/11

    Last week, Warren Buffett wrote an incredible opinion piece in The New York Times asking the federal government to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans, himself included. "My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress," he argued. "It's time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice."

    Buffett's editorial sent economists and politicians into a frenzy as they debated the merits and implications of his request. Underlying the chatter is an important question: Does our country benefit, financially, from taxing our wealthiest citizens?

    According to Bruce Bartlett, who's held senior policy roles in both Ronald Reagan's and George H. W. Bush's administrations, as well as on the staffs of Reps. Ron Paul and Jack Kemp, "in 2008, those in the top 1 percent of the income distribution, with incomes over $380,000, had an effective tax rate of 23.3 percent. In 1986, a year when the real gross domestic product grew a healthy 3.5 percent, their effective tax rate was 33.1 percent. It has been much lower every year since."

    Bartlett, who culled Internal Revenue Service data for his analysis, which appears this week in his New York Times column, goes on to say: "If this group were still paying 33.1 percent, federal revenue would have been more than $166 billion higher in 2008 alone. That would be enough to reduce the budget deficit by about 10 percent this year. If the top 1 percent of taxpayers had continued to pay the same effective tax rate they paid in 1986 every year from 1987 to 2008, the federal debt today would be $1.7 trillion lower."

    While Bartlett acknowledges the assumptions implicit in his calculations, the bottom line is clear. America has lost boatloads of money thanks to our willingness to cut taxes on those who can most easily afford to pay them. This despite our country's history of successfully taxing the rich. Under Reagan, for example, the richest 1% of Americans paid one-third of their income to the federal government.

    Between High European Taxes and Low U.S. Rates, a Happy Medium

    Those who argue against higher taxes often fear that an increase will slow economic growth. But history dispels that myth. As William G. Gale, an expert on tax policy at the nonpartisan Brookings Institution, wrote on, "Even the massive tax increases during and after World War II -- amounting to a permanent rise of 10% to 15% of gross domestic product -- and the much smaller tax increases in 1990 and 1993 did no discernible damage to U.S. economic growth."

    The debate over whether and how much to tax the rich isn't new. But it's extremely important in the current economy. The debt ceiling deal reached earlier this month includes spending cuts, but does nothing to increase revenues. Additionally, the spending cuts come primarily from programs that support low- and middle-income households. The richest Americans? They're virtually exempt from chipping in to resolve the nation's budget problems.

    Which is why Buffett is publicly asking to pay more in taxes -- and why he's right. After all, "households in the top 1% of the distribution can afford to contribute," argues Gale. "They have done enormously well during the past 30-plus years. In 1979, their income accounted for 10% of total income. According to the most recent data (from 2008), their share of total household income more than doubled to 21%. In contrast, real income for middle-class workers has remained roughly constant over the same time frame."

    In his opinion piece, Gale outlines a variety of options for raising taxes. In all cases, he's advocating for moderation. "None of this means that the U.S. needs to move to European taxation levels," he writes. "But between the depleted tax revenues we raise now -- the lowest share of the economy in six decades -- and the high taxes experienced in European countries, there is plenty of room to raise revenues in an economically sound manner to support a reasonable level of government."

    Or, to put it more bluntly, our country is in the throes of a debt crisis. We're delusional to think that we can continue with the current tax rates. So let's stop asking whether or not we should raise taxes on the rich and instead turn our attention to how we can most effectively do so.
    Loren Berlin is a reporter with the AOL Huffington Post Media Group. She can be reached at, on Twitter at @LorenBerlin, and on Facebook.

    See full article from DailyFinance:

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