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Bill Gates, Sr., Billionaire Warren Buffett, and Others Call for $2 Million Exemption, 45% Estate Tax Rate

Several dozen wealthy people, including Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, Sr., Jimmy Carter, and George Soros, have signed a statement calling for a “strong tax on the largest estates.” The statement was released on Tuesday by a group called “United For a Fair Economy.”

Bill Gates, Sr. noted, “Those of us who have signed this statement to date – including my friend Warren Buffett – believe that a $4 million exemption per couple and a 45% rate, rising on the very largest fortunes, is perfectly reasonable, and should be put into law. Particularly in the face of the devastating cuts to social programs that are being proposed, it would be shameful to leave potential revenue on the table from those most able to pay.”

The contradiction should be noted that these guys are calling for higher taxes which they won’t pay. They are both entirely avoiding the estate tax by leaving their estates to charities. Buffett is leaving his largely to the Gates Foundation, thereby avoiding any tax, and a bunch of his estate is otherwise going into foundations handled by his kids. How is that “fair” and how that will have any impact on the deficit?

Also, Buffett is calling for higher income taxes and capital gains taxes, but Buffett has only $100,000 of earned income a year, gets very little from dividends because his stocks generally don’t declare dividends, and certainly won’t now that the rates are going up, and he rarely sells stocks he buys, so capital gains are not an issue for him. Is this a case of tax hypocrisy?