The HillTube

Buffett: Not even 'Grover Norquist' would stop investing because of the tax rate

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who recently reiterated his call to raise the tax rates on the wealthy, continued to bash Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist's anti-tax pledge on Tuesday.

Speaking on MSNBC's "Morning Joe," Buffett argued that a tax rate increase wouldn't cause the rich to forgo investment opportunities.

"Mika, I'm going to call you at 2:00 a.m. tonight and I'm going to say, 'I've got the greatest stock I've ever seen. I am putting every penny in. Do you want to come along?' And you're not going to say to me 'what's the tax going to be on the gain?' In fact, I don't even think Grover Norquist would say that," said Buffett to MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski.

ADVERTISEMENT
Buffett, an outspoken supporter of President Obama, was defending his call to eliminate the Bush-era tax cuts for high-income earners, which he detailed in a New York Times op-ed on Monday.

Norquist called Buffett's argument "silly" on Fox News on Monday.

"The real economy, the real economy, if he thinks that the government can take a dollar and then you go to an investor who doesn’t have that dollar and it doesn’t affect investment, I’m sorry that’s just silly unless he plans on going to Obama and getting money from a stimulus package and he considers that investment," said Norquist.

The chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway also urged Congress to institute a minimum tax on high incomes. In his op-ed, Buffett suggested a tax rate of "30 percent of taxable income between $1 million and $10 million, and 35 percent on amounts above that."

Buffett referenced a pivotal moment in the presidential campaign, saying that high-income earners who paid no taxes were a part of former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's "47 percent."

"Six people who were in that $200 million category paid nothing at all. They were in Romney's 47 percent. I mean they were the moochers. And they paid zero, you know. The way to get at them is a minimum tax and it's very simple to do," he said.

During the campaign, Romney was caught on camera telling donors at a private fundraiser that 47 percent of Americans who don't pay income taxes are “dependent on the government" and "believe they are victims.”

Romney's remarks sparked harsh criticism from Democrats and concern from his own party on potential fallout from his comments.

Buffett's call for raising tax rates comes as lawmakers work to reach an agreement on a deficit-reduction package to avoid the "fiscal cliff" of spending cuts and tax increases set to hit next year.

When asked if he would invest in the House of Representatives if it was a private industry, Buffett joked, "I think I'd get new management."

"But, I wouldn't give up on the country at all. The country works, it's a wonderful county. And believe me, 535 people aren't going to screw it up forever for 312 million."

More in Defense

McCaskill: CIA report 'would never happen in North Korea or China'

Read more »