Interesting op-ed piece in today’s WSJ by Harvey Golub, former chairman and CEO of American Express. Golub is not in favor of Buffett’s and Obama’s view that taxes should be raised on the wealthy. He believes he pays enough as it is. One thing he says, doesn’t make sense to me (bold mine):
Now that I’m 72 years old, I can look forward to paying a significant portion of my accumulated wealth in estate taxes to the federal government and, depending on the state I live in at the time, to that state government as well. Of my current income this year, I expect to pay 80%-90% in federal income taxes, state income taxes, Social Security and Medicare taxes, and federal and state estate taxes. Isn’t that enough?
I’m not sure how he came up with 80% – 90%. Seems pretty high to me.
Regardless, I can understand his anger, which is two-fold. First of all, he thinks the rates are high enough (and don’t need to go any higher) and secondly, he thinks the government should spend the tax revenues more prudently:
Governments have an obligation to spend our tax money on programs that work. They fail at this fundamental task. Do we really need dozens of retraining programs with no measure of performance or results? Do we really need to spend money on solar panels, windmills and battery-operated cars when we have ample energy supplies in this country? Do we really need all the regulations that put an estimated $2 trillion burden on our economy by raising the price of things we buy? Do we really need subsidies for domestic sugar farmers and ethanol producers?
I know a lot of you are going to disagree with this. I just think there has to be a better way to tax and spend. It’s the reason why I like the flat tax (even though it would probably mean a bigger tax burden for my family).