Americans like two things in their entertainment: tense, down-to-the wire climaxes; and sequels. Last night’s resolution to the debate surrounding the so-called fiscal cliff provided both. Several anxious hours after the “official” deadline marking the edge of the fiscal cliff, the U.S. Congress passed legislation to avert the worst of the enormous tax hikes that would have occurred as the Bush-era tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 were set to expire on January 1. The bill made it through the Senate by a vote of 89 to 8 and passed the House of Representatives with a margin of 257 to 167. Overall, the impact of the agreement is slightly friendlier than we anticipated, though still leaves room for a sequel of sorts: two more months of policy uncertainty regarding the spending side of the cliff debate (this will coincide with a likely standoff over raising the government’s debt ceiling too). We’ve written a bit more here, but theses are some of the broad strokes.
Posts tagged ‘Bush tax cuts’
Warren Buffett, the Oracle of Omaha, reiterated his view on a so-called “millionaires tax” in an op-ed piece in the New York Times on Sunday. If you’d like to read about what a billionaire thinks about what millionaires should do, it’s an interesting read.
Here’s a quick summary of his views:
First, in the not so distant past, marginal tax rates for upper income households and tax rates on capital gains and dividends were quite high and – guess what – the wealthy weren’t throwing their money under a mattress, they were investing. Second, the rich should pay their fair share in taxes. Buffett suggests that households with incomes above US$500,000 (not the US$250,000 that Obama has proposed) to return to the pre-Bush era tax rates. And he reiterated his “Buffet Rule,” which calls on Congress to develop a minimum tax for millionaires: 30% for income between US$1 million and US$10 million, and 35% for incomes over US$10 million. Finally, he is, of course, pushing for debt sustainability – moving revenues to 18.5% to GDP and spending to 21% of GDP. Buffet cites that the United States currently takes in 15.5% of GDP in revenue and spending is about 22.4% of GDP.