Would you be willing to pay higher taxes to help ease the debt crisis?

Warren Buffett argued this week that the “mega-rich” are being coddled and said he’d be willing to pay higher taxes to help the United States get its finances in order. Today’s Question: Would you be willing to pay higher taxes to help ease the debt crisis?

  • Hiram

    No. We don’t have a debt crisis in this country. I know because we made a bipartisan decision to extend the Bush era tax cuts. We need to find a way to put money into the economy, to get this country growing again. Once we do, the debt situation will ease.

  • Wade

    No, I pay enough.

    We don’t have a debt crisis, we have a spending crisis. Plus the super rich and the poor can start paying more in taxes and or can get less in social programs. Let’s stop asking those of us who work hard and do our part to do more.

  • Christopher Correia

    No. Between the level of taxes, the ridiculous complexity of the tax reporting and filing process, and the governmental mindsets of “there’s never enough” and the ever-present “we need more”, I do not want to give more money to wildcard outcomes.

  • Sara

    Yes, because I appreciate all that my taxes support — quality education, police departments, fire departments, roads (not always great in MN), and more “quality of life” things like parks and the arts than I am even aware of.

    However, I think our tax system is too complex with too many loopholes. I’ve always thought a flat tax made more sense.

  • http://www.onemomentonelife.com Theresa

    I’m definitely not “rich”, but I feel like I should do my share. I do believe that the “magi-rich” should do their part as well, and that it may require them to be taxed at a proportionately higher rate. When someone who has less than me is in need – I feel it is my responsibility to give what I can, which may be more than they next person. For me, it’s not so much about being taxed as it is knowing or being responsible for how those taxes are being used.

  • Duane

    No, each time the conservatives have agreed to a tax increase in exchange for budget cut, for some reason, the cuts never occurred. This has happened during several previous administrations. This was why the 10 for 1 cut was declined by the participants of the debate in Iowa.

  • Zach

    No. All this talk of regressive taxation gets back to a very American problem. The American tax and benefit model is to rely heavily on graduated income taxes, which are referred to as ‘progressive’, and to offer the major government benefits universally, i.e. irrespective of need. The European model uses far more flat taxes, such as a VAT or a flat tax on earnings, but offers benefits only to those who most need it (universal health care being a partial exception).

    To a large degree, the success of the American right in keeping tax rates low has been because of the dissatisfaction of the American middle class with the inefficient system of progressive taxes and universal benefits, which repeatedly makes American Liberals seem economically incompetent. Only in those countries where there are flat taxes and progressive benefits has the scope of government services been able to expand to the level desired by American Liberals.

  • Barry Scanlan

    Absolutely. Taxes support all of us in so many ways. We need taxes to maintain a high quality of life and services. In nations where there are poor government services, there is a large gap between the haves and have nots (El Salvador and Guatamala come to mind). As the richest nation on the planet (most of those riches in the hands of the mega-rich, who should pay a greater share of taxes) we as a nation should take care of all Americans. That is what would keep America great — if we let people die from a faulty health care system, if we poorly fund education, etc, we will not be the America of our parents and grandparents.

  • Mike

    As I value the benefits from living in this great state and country, I am willing to pay more to HELP solve the problem as long as everyone takes a share in the solution. A balanced approach of spending cuts AND increased tax revenues (whether in increases for the highest earners or closing tax loopholes for those who can afford great tax lawyers) seems like the most practical approach. Otherwise, more fees or hidden taxes will keep appearing like they did in Mr. Pawlenty’s “no new tax” administration. Cutting funds to many social programs seems to hurt the most vulnerable the hardest.

  • John

    No, If they would end the wars, end the federal reserve, require banks to loan out only what they take in and not create debt, stop aid and cut ties to Israel, and end the TSA and homeland insecurity. THEN I would consider paying more taxes BUT I wouldn’t have to, because we would have an excess of funds.

  • Tom

    No. We already have more government than we can afford, why should we add to the problem?

  • Clark

    No In 2009, per recently released IRS data, the top 3% of taxpayers paid more federal income taxes than the bottom 97% of taypayers. These are the taypayers that obama stated don’t pay their fair share.

    Obama has blamed Bush for the problems the past 3 years but after spending $4 trillion over and above revenues since he became president, unemployment is still high, the economy is in neutral and private employers are still waiting for the economic hit from obamacare and dodd-frank.

    If obama and the far left confiscated every dime of income of all those earning above $1 million annually, it would not cover one year of obama spending.

    Obama and the other far left radical democrats knew years ago entitlement spending was a fiscal time-bomb. They assumed taxes would simply keep rising to pay for this spending, as in Europe.

    This is a spending problem and not a tax problem. The democrats are all lying liars and can’t ever be trusted to cut spending so don”t raise taxes one dime until spending is reduced.

  • Rich

    No. First we need to end tax subsidies and all tax deductions including the mortgage interest deduction. Tax expenditures are the very definition of waste and fraud to this pseudo liberal. We might as well be sending checks out to all the beneficiaries of this largess.

    Free Market, it cuts both ways baby…..

  • Philip

    If I made a 6+ figure income, then I guess I would expect to. It needs to be proportionate.

  • Nonny

    Yes, as long as everyone has to and it’s a proportional rate.

  • Mary

    Absolutely! Happy to contribute a bit more if it means we can have a better America. I don’t understand the rational of people who are not the super rich defending the super rich. It makes sense that dollar for dollar the rich pay more than everyone else, it should also make sense that the rich should pay the same or more of a percentage of their income to taxes. 10% to a person who makes only 1000/month has a much bigger impact on someone making 10000 a month.

  • Alex

    Everything costs money. I am a twenty something and I know when I get older I will be paying an exorbitant amount in taxes to fix our roads and keep up with normal maintenance.

    I think the bush tax cuts were a load of crap. People who make more money should be paying their share. (INCLUDING the loop holes) Warren had it right.

    Tax breaks do NOT create jobs. But, I do agree that cuts need to be made. In the right areas. We also need to get out of this expensive war. Move some of that money to working sustainable energy.

  • Larry M.

    I consider paying taxes a patriotic duty. The country’s infrastructure is falling in disrepair and behind in technology and capacity. Our electrical grid is not adequate for demand. We never should have done the unprecedented tax cuts during war (aka. the Bush tax cuts) the idea failed miserably. The Iraq war was unnecessary and based on faulty “intelligence” caused by using rendition (torture) by the proxy Egypt. We have to pay for these mistakes, even though I didn’t vote for the administration that put these horrible policies in place, that is part of being a citizen of the United States is that you end up paying for things you disagree with. We need to cut military expenditures and find a ways to pay for baby boomers turning into senior boomers, I strongly believe in that the cap for paying into Social Security should be raised for higher earners and the failed Bush tax cuts should be repealed immediately.

  • Rick

    The question should not be about “higher taxes” but about the same tax rate. I think everyone should pay the same percentage. Why does the middle class pay 30% of their income and the rich pay only 15%? This is about fair share.

  • Mark

    Yes, as long as everyone else started contributing their fair share as in 20% across the board for the rich with all tax havens and offshore hidden accounts eliminated.

  • Patrick

    I would gladly pay more if I made more. It’s called a progressive tax code and it keeps the economy healthy. Most people don’t even realize that taxes are at record lows. The Democrats are promoting a return to Clinton era rates on the wealthy. Those people also don’t seem remember those rates are 10 percentage points lower than the first 6 years of the Regan presidency. The only resistance is coming from conservative media editorializing and from the those ordinary people that they have managed to convince through anti government rhetoric.

  • Randolph

    There’s no question EVERYONE needs to pay more taxes, and the “rich” even more. We need a fairer and more consistently applied tax system, but we also simply need more revenue to pay for the services we demand of government, the debt we’ve already incurred, and the expense of our military adventurism. It’s really a no-brainer, which is probably why the anti-tax people don’t get it.

  • Linda

    In a heartbeat! The ‘untouchables’, the business owners are holding the rest of the country up for ransom. These people, with the high corporate incomes are NOT creating jobs. Yet we are still coddling them as if they are. Their greed is holding us back. They need to pay their fair share. Each of us should be paying an equal percentage!

  • Jamie

    // “…the top 3% of taxpayers paid more federal income taxes than the bottom 97% of taypayers.” //

    I don’t know about your exact numbers, but this kind of specious statement is often made by conservatives.The wealthy pay a lot in absolute terms because they make such unfathomable amounts of money. And they need to pay more, their fair share in relative terms.

    I would pay more even though I make a pittance in comparison.

  • Kyle

    Yes. I’d especially be willing to do so if the upwards redistribution of national wealth stopped, though I won’t hold my breath.

    But NPR, please stop playing into this made up issue. There isn’t a debt crisis, we’re nowhere near out of money, taxed or borrowed, to pay for the government’s obligations. Whether you think that borrowing or adding to the debt is a good idea, it is not a debt crisis.

    The causes of our current problems are complex, and there mismatches between the level of spending that the people of America want and the amount that most would like to pay in taxes. However, those problems aren’t going to be solved by diving to one side of that mismatch or the other.

    If you are concerned about the allocation of money the government takes in (either as cuts not materializing or money poorly spent), realize that as a citizen you can impact such behaviors every bit as much as you can influence the levels of spending and taxation on a national scale.

  • terry

    Some of Mr Buffet’s critics say that if he wants to pay more, he can just “mail in a check” to the Treasury. But they don’t seem to get his point, which is that we are all in this together. In other words, we can’t get the country’s work done with individual donations as a substitute for taxes.

  • Lawrence

    I don’t think we have a choice. Obviously, spending cuts will have to be made as painful as they are. But, the problem is some programs will still stay in place, and as long as we’re still fighting a war in Afghanistan and Iraq, we will continue to accrue debt. There is also interest accruing on debt too, so we really don’t have much of a choice any more.

  • Amy

    Yes. I’d be willing to pay more, but I would expect that those who are wealthier than me should pay more, too.

  • Bill

    We have been retired for 11 years with basically no COLA in our pension but are more than willing to pay more taxes to help the economy.

    Everybody with income above the median should help out in proportion to their income.

    Pres. Reagan and Bush (41) and Gov. Arne Carlson all did that in similar situations and it worked.

    If our present taxing levels are correct, as your quests imply, why is the economy is in such

    lousy shape? Mr Buffett stated that in 1976-77, the capital gains rates were 39.9%. It didn’t stop

    investment and the economy was in much better shape.

  • linda

    Yes, I would pay more taxes to get us back on track. All these trueblooded “real” Americans should be willing to pay higher taxes too. They wear the flag on everything but their wallets. I would like to see how many people in this day and age haven’t benefitted from goverment. Some programs helped them survive, some programs may have been just a lift–small, inconsequential. But it was help just the same. No, it appears to be every man for himself. We better be willing to sacrifice a little Or everyone will end up in the soup.

  • Neil C.

    Sure, within reason.

    But here are my big “fundamental changes” before we start messing with marginal tax rates

    – maximum mortgage deduction of $10,000 a year and no mortgage deduction on 2nd homes

    – health care should either be a taxable benefit (if provided by companies) or should be deductable if paid for by the individual (one or the other; be consistent)

    – post-secondary education should be deductable, up to $10,000/year per person and a lifetime maximum of $75,000

    – business profits, that stay inside the company, should be tax-free (In essence, profits that are used as investment capital should be tax free)

    – but once profits are released to owners or employees (dividends, stock buy-backs, salaries, etc.) they should be at the “normal” marginal rate for income, and a high enough rate to pay our country’s bills

    – everyone (no matter how poor or how cunning) should pay some tax. Perhaps something like 5% of gross income, as a floor

    – a whole lot of charities (to which contributions are deductible) should be taken off the list, including many, many religious organizations

    – finally, extremely wealthy individuals should pay their fair share, perhaps through another AMT. Lots of extremely wealthy people are extremely deserving, but they also are benefiting extremely from this place called America and its not like it’s not worth investing in

  • Chris Oinonen Ehren

    We don’t have a lot of money, and as a family we often struggle in April to pay our taxes, as one part of our income the taxes are not prepaid. That said, I feel as a citizen taxes are our duty, and I love my country. I am willing to pay more to see to it that we have good schools for children and support for the struggling in our society, that our infrastructure, like roads and libraries are supported. What I don’t want, is I don’t want to support these things while corporations and the wealthy get breaks and goodies and “incentives”. They don’t create jobs, they sit on their money and send it overseas. I create jobs here. I spend my money pretty much as soon as I get it, here in Minnesota. I pay my bills, and what doesn’t go out as bills goes out for groceries, clothing, school supplies, etc. to local businesses. if there is a break to be had, give it to me, I will spend the money buying more clothes for my teenager, more books at the local bookstore, maybe a nice meal at a local restaurant. If there are more taxes to pay, I’ll pay them. I love my state, and my country, but ask the wealthy and the corporations to pay an amount proportionate to the amount I pay.

  • Al

    Yes!

    We keep hearing the argument that increasing taxes on the wealthy would prevent them from reinvesting in businesses and hiring more people. We also are hearing about corporations sitting on record amounts of cash. If they have record amounts of cash, does this argument still make sense? If only we let them keep more than record amounts of cash they will reinvest?

  • Bill

    Our pensions have had basically no COLA increase since we retired 11 years ago but we

    are absolutely willing to pay more taxes. Everybody with income above the median should be willing to pay more taxes in proportion to their income.

    Pres. Reagan and Bush(41) plus Gov. Arne

    Carlson all imposed that under similar conditions and it worked.

    Mr Buffett stated that in 1976 – 7, the Capital Gains rates were 39.9%. It did not discourage investment and the economy was much better off.

  • Joanna

    This is a misleading question. The context is what the rich do or don’t pay, but then you the MPR audience if we would be willing to pay more. How many of us are “mega-rich”? The issue is that the rich have sucked money out of the economy and want the middle class and the poor to accept draconion cuts to keep their profit system intact. I am absolutely unwilling to pay higher taxes to support this unjust system. When Obama was running for office, he said that those making over 250,000/year would be asked to pay their fair share. I’m still waiting.

  • Karen

    I am well off. I have been pestering my Eden Prairie legislators to tax me more! I believe in good government. There are a lot of tax shelters for the well off who can afford lawyers and financial advisors to help them pay less. Similarly large corporations. This really isn’t fair. Also unfair is the way that many of the top CEOs in the country are paid – it is too far out of whack.

    I believe it is healthier for society as a whole to have a more even distribution of income. I think it is morally right for those of us who have more to pay more. Many of the most important people in our society (teachers, police, etc.) do not make so much that they should be further burdened. It should be the price for living in this usually wonderful society of Minnesota and the USA.

    Nobody likes the freeloaders, and certainly many social programs should be revamped. I know people who are using their unemployment to take a vacation. Too many people really start looking for work after their benefits run out. I would rather see something like the Civilian Conservation Corps in place. At Gooseberry Falls you see all these wonderful things the CCC built that are still in place. What a gift to society, and a worthwhile way to spend our tax dollars.

  • Steve the Cynic

    The real solution is to find a way to tax hoarding. Paul of Tarsus got it exactly right: “The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.” If we had a healthier attitude about money, most of these contentious issues would evaporate. As it is, greedy people hoard money and become wealthy, and then they accuse the poor of being greedy when someone suggests that they share some of it. Both the rich and the poor are deluded when they confuse wealth with happiness and measure their well-being in dollars. Psychological studies consistently show that once a person has enough, more more money does not make one any happier. Yet, we keep acting as if twice as much money equals twice as much happiness. We need to learn what’s really important, and money ain’t it.

  • rose

    NO.. not until there is equity in the tax code

    Eliminate subsidies for farm and food goods… Let the marketplace set the prices even if it means higher prices for consumers in certain areas

    Eliminate payments to foreign governments… Let those countries define the type of government they want to live under and the US can get back to basics negotiations here and abroad

    Establish equity in the tax code by establishing a more “flat tax” approach (with no or limited deductions) for individuals and corporations… NOW.

    Some results of the limited tax code would be: unemployment for lobbyists, government regulators, enforcers and preparers. I can live with that.

    Consider redefining the rules of government accounting including: recognizing revenue and expenses AS THEY OCCUR…

    In my opinion, this is NOT Obama’s fault but neither has he shown leadership in correcting the problem. He has the power to enact something NOW and he has my blessing to do so.

  • DMox

    Yes, we should all be paying more in taxes. We should all be on the receiving end of better government services too. What ever happened to the patriotism that was investing in your country and community? When did it become okay for the most successful to ignore the rest of the community & live a selfish, greedy, parasitic existence at the expense of the least fortunate amongst us?

    I take umbrage at the misleading fact above that “In 2009, per recently released IRS data, the top 3% of taxpayers paid more federal income taxes than the bottom 97% of taypayers.” It is true that they paid more in dollars, but they paid significantly less as a percentage of their total income. I’m tired of the rich twisting the facts to make their case.

    On the other hand, we have done a very bad job of holding our legislators accountable for their mismanagement of our taxes. The government we have today has been so pecked, mangled & distorted to benefit the lobbyists & their clients, that even programs designed to help end up just being a waste of money & time. There has to be some common sense & logistical fairness inserted into the system, or we will careen in this financial direction until we are so polarized, busted & broke, that our society completely fails on an apocalyptic level.

    We need to create jobs & reward real created jobs.

    We need to demand that corporations pay their taxes.

    We need to hold politicians accountable.

    We need to abolish the pay for access government we’ve created by outlawing private lobbying.

    We need to honor our own communities, by going after the parasites that live high on the hog, but pay no taxes.

    We need to evolve socially, & devolve programatically.

    We need to stop squabbling for the crumbs ourselves, and start looking at who really benefits from the current system, and then take them to task.

    We need to stop living like we’re temporarily inconvenienced millionaires.

    We need to stop believing that division will bring our united states closer together.

  • P. Nielsen

    No, until the wealthy begin to pay their proper share and all their loopholes are closed, I am not willing to pay more. For a single person of modest means, I feel I already pay too much while others get by with paying very little or not enough. It’s also time to remove the cap on the wages on which Social Security is taxed as well as force Congress to pay into the Social Security fund, too. If any group deserves a dose of reality, it’s that bunch.

  • Steve the Cynic

    “[Obama] has the power to enact something NOW and he has my blessing to do so.”

    Umm, read your Constitution, Rose. In fact, he doesn’t have that power. Congress does.

  • Sue Engel

    Yes –

    I believe in investment in education, our environment, our state, our health care, our roads etc.

    If we compare business to government – an increase in revenue is needed to meet budgets and pay bills. We need to increase revenue — and while I am not rich – I have no problem being a part of the solution.

    I get tired of the “lower my taxes and leave me alone – but if something goes wrong – the government better be there for me” attitude. I have concern for the future and am willing to invest in it.

  • Greg2

    First – I expect to be taxed more to pay down the debt and to cover governments costs. Second – I expect government to improve efficiency and accuracy of its efforts UNLIKE the private sector which often uses marketing to “convince” us of improvement. Ever seen New and Improved on a products and wondered – what the heck is that.

  • Stephanie

    Yes, let’s all chip in a bit. It’s painful, but necessary. If only it was fair across all income levels.

  • Jo Ann

    Of course. We cannot survive on tax cuts. Think of a middle class and lower class family…there are basic expenses that have to be met and at some point, the belt cannot be tightened anymore–revenues must be increased. Ask the families that are borrowing from banks and loved ones just to keep the mortgage paid and food on the table. They need revenue–not lectures on what expenses to cut.

  • Clark

    In 2007, there were 390,000 tax filers reporting income above $1 million annually. In 2009, there were 237,000 tax filers reporting income above 1 million annually. That is a decline of 39% which is another big reason why government revenue has declined over the past few years. I assume the recent obama recession was the cause of the income drop.

    If equality of income is the desire of far left radicals, then they should be thrilled with the past four years as the recession has become an income leveler.

    In 2007, the over $200,000 earners captured 1/3 of total reported U.S. taxable income. In 2009, the over $200,000 earners captured 1/4 of total U.S.taxable income.

    The far left democrats continue to rant and rave their politics of envy. Your wish to continue taxing high income citizens to expand the welfare state is why Europe is broke.

    Just once, I would like a far left radical to provide valid economic data. I have yet to see any valid economic proof that tax and spend policies grow the economy in the 21st century.

  • Greg2

    the bottom 50% of Americans hold, currently , 1.4 trillion in weatlh. Total American Wealth – is roughtly 60 trillion. ………… Effectivley the bottom economic half of Americans own 2.3 % of the entire nations wealth. You take everything of worth that everyone int he bottom 50% of Americans owns and you couldn’t pay off 10% of the debt. You would also bankrupt everyone of them, no house, no car, no savings, no posessions — nothing. Taxes on the wealthy are the only place that the money/assets currently sit to pay down Americas debt. It is ludicrous to insist on passing more of the burden down to the bottom 50% – that stone is bled dry. American also needs to figure out how to return jobs, income and wealth to the bottom half of Americans or … this problem is here to stay. We have to quit moving assets and wealth up to the top 2% of the population. They should be maxed out a about 20% of the nations total wealth. After that…. its ludicrous excess.

  • Jordan

    Yes.

    I make less than 25,000 a year, I live with a family member because I can’t afford my own home. Yes, I would pay more in taxes to help get us out of this and get back to helping the world.

  • JO

    I believe we all need to do more and take less. There should be a minimum tax for each individual that is a percentage of income. For the poor it would be miniscule, for the wealthy it would be a lot more money but miniscule in relation to assets. I believe what I’ve heard about our current crisis, that it is related to three things; the Bush era tax cuts that we can no longer afford, the wars we are engaged in all over the place, and the greed that created the mortgage crisis (the rich financiers, the unqualified buyers, and the irresponsible middle class and higher who walked away from affordable mortgages because they were worth less than what they paid for them).

  • Jay

    Yes but with one stipulation: Very wealthy people need to pay their “fair share” and loop holes for the wealthy need to be removed. Tax fairness is essential in Minnesota and the U.S.

  • Les Jones

    I have considered myself upper-middle class. My husband pointed out that we’re in the top 5% wealth bracket when you consider the entire planet. Yes, we could pay more taxes, if need be – but the VERY wealthy should pay a similar percentage. Those Bush tax cuts for the wealthy did NOT trickle down to the poorest among us. War and greed keep the debt problem growing. We need bipartisan agreement on some major issues to keep our country afloat.

  • Bob W

    Congratulations on furthering the “tax is tax” meme. Implicit in your question is the assumption that all taxes and taxpayers are equivalent and the only issue is various individuals’ willingness to pay.

    This is baloney.

    As Buffet and others have noted, our present tax system favors the wealthiest. The issue is not who pays but whether taxation should reflect taxpayers’ ability to pay: progressive versus regressive taxation.

    By framing the question as you have, you have – deliberately(?) – advocated for the continuation or expansion of regressive taxation.

    I vehemently disagree.

  • Wayne

    Yes, we should have raised taxes years ago when we went to war. I think Warren Buffet hit the nail on the head, our tax system is broken we need to make it fairer.

  • Jamie

    // “I assume the recent obama recession was the cause of the income drop.”//

    Clark, you’re way off. It wasn’t/isn’t an “Obama recession.” It started during Dubya’s reign, and was so bad that it will take many years, maybe decades to fix (if ever). And Obama probably had nothing to do with the 2009 figures you cite.

    “The Left” (mostly NOT “far left radicals”) don’t want rich people to be taxed more because of envy. They want them to be taxed more because it’s the right thing to do and it’s the smart thing to do.

    Here’s some “valid economic data” for you: Taxes on the rich have been going down for the last few decades and there are no more jobs, and we’re in the worst economic situation since the Great Depression, contrary to what you far right radicals always say about reducing taxes.

  • Dereck

    I say Yes! I would post a comment but don’t feel like getting worked up today.

  • Nicole

    I would accept (and welcome) a progressive income tax increase. Income taxes are lower than any point in my life. The wealthy are especially in need of being taxed rather than being sheltered in a tax bubble. It is clear that supply-side economics is a failure, otherwise the nation would be flush with jobs from wealthy corporations and people reinvesting their money. Instead, it shifted wealth from the rest of America into their pockets. The wealthy won’t spend to stimulate the economy. The rest of America cannot spend (having no money). What’s left is government raising revenue where it can and providing stimulus to push the economy forward.

  • harry sweatt

    Iam for increasing taxes if everyone has some skin in the game. The idea of raising taxes but not on me is dishonest and divisive.

  • http://www.foundingfathersforum.com Jefferson

    Yes, I would definately be willing to increase my own taxes to decrease the deficit and debt. The only thing I would ask is to eliminate all tax credits and all but one deduction. Everyone should pay the same rate with a single $20k/year deduction everyone gets to keep tax free but after that point we should all pay 20% on all income (including capital gains). It’s very simple, I know I would pay more in taxes as would most people and we would waste far less money on accountants trying to find more and more tax loopholes.

  • Cherie

    I am a retired teacher who would be glad to pay higher taxes! My parents skimped and saved and paid taxes much higher on a lower income than I presently have. Thier higher taxes built an interstate highway system, paved the roads in our small town, bulit schools and colleges for their children and grandchildren. Their work thrift and hard work paid off in the small business that allowed them a comfortable retirement.

    My siblings and I attended those schools, and I borrowed money to attend college—a government program. I receved a good education at a public college, and did graduate work at a public university. Even though I have no children, I feel it is not only a duty but a priviledge to return some of the bounty I have received.

    As a country we will only be as safe as the least of us—instead of building gated communities, would we not be safer to take care of our own and return some of of the bounty which our country has produced?

    Isn’t it time to end the myopic selfishness that hides behind a label of “conservatism” and conserve our own society and its future?

  • Deepa de Alwis

    YES! There is no way we can continue to be a first world nation if our infrastures are failing and quality of life is diminishing.

  • Apostolos Kizilos

    Of course, provided those with less income than me pay less because of a lower rate, and those with income higher than mine pay more at a higher rate. No loopholes for the rich; no special allowances for agribusiness or executives and no lower rates for capital gains and dividends.

    A good society is just, which means that the goods of society in welfare and rewards for merit and freedom are all apportioned in good measure.

    We cannot have a just or fair society if 10% of the people at the top own 90% of the country’s wealth. We must close the gap which can transform into a moral outrage and split society by violent means.

    You bet I want to pay more to avoid a disaster.

  • John Dobbs

    We all live in this country. Everyone should be required to pay something. The graduated income tax has worked well for decades and should be resurrected. As a former Republican, I was dissappointed when Bush lowered taxes for those most able to pay. And that’s when our deficits began to swell! As Obama says, we need to address this problem in a balanced fashion….not just let the middle and lower classes shoulder the burden.

  • bob hicks

    Bravo for Buffett!! I think Obama should appoint him as his official ambassador to the super-rich, with the goal of getting commitments from each and every one of them to pay their fair share and to ramp up their charitable giving. Once that’s done, I’ll be happy to “share the sacrifice. ”

  • Paula and Cy DeCosse

    We applaud Warren Buffett — have been wondering when someone would say what he did. We feel very lucky to be in a position where we can say, “Yes — we want to pay more taxes to help others who are losing so much.” The growing gap between rich and poor will destroy our democracy. As Benjamin Franklin said, “We must all hang together or we will hang separately.”

  • Rich

    Yes, I would. In order to have the services and education we need to keep our country and state great, we must be willing to pitch in financially. Taxation is the lifeblood of the social contract we all share in America. In Minnesota, we have had 12 straight years of governors insisting that we need to cut the “fat” out of government and not raise taxes in order to have job growth. This causes three observations. (1) How much “fat” can be left after 12 years of trimming. I’m sure there is still some, but the effort to find it will be greater than the savings. (2) Aren’t we now penalizing those agencies and communities that did a good job of “trimming the fat” early on in that 12-year span. They are now still being asked to make cuts, and all that’s left to cut is “muscle.” (3) After 12 years of these policies, where is the job growth? For that matter, where are the jobs?

  • Ronald

    NO !!!!!!

    Just eliminate all deductions for everyone.

    A progressive tax rate (that we alredy have)

    without all the deductions, will increase revenue and elimanate the need for increased taxes.

  • ChelseaDR

    Absolutely! Though I am in the lowest income bracket (spent the last two years doing AmeriCorps) and am now pursuing become a high school math and science teacher – it is starkingly evident that we need funding for so many public services (most of which are guarenteed under state constitutions). Before I went through AmeriCorps, I graduated from the University of Minnesota- and now that I’m repaying my student loans, it’s easy to see the best way of getting out of debt : don’t make interest only payments! As Americans are on edge about the debt, why not get it paid off as quickly as possible? Even if you have to raise taxes to do it. No new taxes sounds like a nice insurance policy for my generation and my children’s generation to face an even more insurmountable debt picture. Not to mention collapse of social services as we know it.

  • will

    Yes.

    Repeal the pointless and harmful Bush tax cuts that no one asked for, no one needs, and that have substantially deepened the economic mess. This would do more to fix the problem that the Ryan plan, and does not involve destroying the social safety net.

    Trickle-down economics is still voodoo.

  • Josh

    Yes. I would be willing to pay more in taxes. Yes, we need to reign in spending but we also need additional money to pay for services now rather then later. Paying taxes in my opinion it the Patriotic thing to do. It pays for our soldiers and it keeps our government running. If our government isn’t running as a democracy, it will be running as something else. Do the anti-tax people want that?

  • Steve the Cynic

    “The far left democrats continue to rant and rave their politics of envy.”

    That is pure, unadulterated bovine feces, Clark. You imagine everyone covets money as much as you do and assume that’s why they’re in favor of progressive taxation. The real reason is to prevent the kind of hoarding that’s destructive of the common good. Even Thomas Jefferson was in favor of progressive taxation, because he realized that liberty would be threatened if wealth became too concentrated in the hands of too few, as has been happinging over the last three decades. Your avaricious attitude toward money causes problems for ordinary people with a more healthy view of it, who realize that money is a tool, not an end in itself.

  • GENE & PAT

    YES, WE WOULD BE WILLING TO PAY MORE TAXES. OUR INCOME IS CONSIDERABLY LESS THAN THE LEVELS SUGGESTED BY THE PRESIDENT. WE WOULD AGREE WITH BUFFETS’ ARGUMENTS. OUR AGE: IN THE HIGH 70’S.

  • Stephanie

    Wow, I think I had some sort of revelation reading everyone’s comments. How about instituting a soecial hoarding tax on the cash balances of corporations? Either spend it to create jobs like you claim you need it for or hand it over.

  • Richie

    Clark, you know what you are? You are a really, really kind man.

  • Ginny

    Yes, we are all responsible for this mess.

  • Judy Ann

    Of course I would. We are living on retirement income, but we are willing to share. We didn’t get us into this mess, but we can help get us out.

  • FH

    Not until the tax code is addressed, and entitlements and spending are brought under control.

    I am tired of this class warfare and have the rich pay their fair share. Almost 50% of people pay no taxes (what do you think is driving this country’s entitlement attitude). The top 3% pay more than the bottom 97%. If we want more tax dollars, let’s do it in an equitable way.

    What we need to do is eliminate the tax breaks and put in a flat tax. That way all Americans pay taxes – everyone should pay tax into a system where they are getting benefits – even if it is just $1. The so called wealthy will pay more because the tax loopholes are closed.

    Even with this done, we still need to have spending cuts and reform the entitlement programs, as they will be out of control in the near future. Social Security was designed to be a back-up program. It was never meant to be the main retirement program, and when it was set up, the average life expectancy was only 3 more years than the retirement age. It’s has morphed into the primary retirement program for many people, and people are living 20-40 years beyond retirement. The basics of the program were never designed to support this, and projections show that it is not sustainable.

    And government programs never seem to die. Once established, they take a life on of their own. Many of these need to be put to rest, and a number of other programs need their spending managed down otherwise we will simply spend more if we tax more, and the problem will get worse – not better.

  • kurt S

    Warren Buffet can send in whatever he wants.

    P.S. Well said FH.

  • jfh

    No. I share clark’s sentiments. Until the fundamental knee-jerk Democrat-Party solution of classism’s “soak the rich” is beaten down, the line remains in the sand.

    Yes. Put a consumption tax on everything-not-a-service save for food, clothing, and medical. All of us, poor or rich, need to have a cost in being here.

    Current score:

    NO: 20;

    YES: 78

    about what I would expect from the MPR crowd.

  • Steve the Cynic

    Oh, the irony! The rich play the martyr and complain of being “soaked” by taxes, while the wealth gap continues to widen with the trickle-up tax policy we’ve been living under since 2001.

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