Buffett: Bush Tax Cuts Favor Corporations, Wealthy
By Joe Ruff
Associated Press Writer
Saturday, March 6, 2004; 3:36 PM
OMAHA, Neb. -- Billionaire investor Warren Buffett accused the Bush administration Saturday of pursuing tax cuts that favor large corporations and wealthy individuals.
"If class warfare is being waged in America, my class is clearly winning," Buffett said in Berkshire Hathaway Inc.'s annual report.
Except for 1983, the percentage of federal tax receipts from corporate income taxes last year was the lowest since data was first published in 1934, Buffett said.
"Tax breaks for corporations (and their investors, particularly large ones) were a major part of the administration's 2002 and 2003 initiatives," Buffett said.
Buffett said many large corporations now pay nothing close to the stated federal tax rate of 35 percent.
In an April 2 speech, Pamela Olson, assistant secretary for tax policy at the U.S. Treasury, referred to "a certain midwestern oracle" when she said Buffett played the tax code "like a fiddle."
However, Buffett said in the report his investment company pays its taxes and is almost certainly among the country's top 10 taxpayers. The company will pay $3.3 billion in 2003 corporate income tax, he said.
"Alas, my 'fiddle playing' will not get me to Carnegie Hall -- or even to a high school recital," Buffett said.
Buffett also accused mutual fund managers and directors of using policies that hurt investors, said chief executives generally continue to be paid too much, and said recent reforms aimed at ensuring independent boards of directors will not work.
Berkshire owns businesses and stock in a wide variety of industries, including insurance, furniture, restaurants, candy and newspapers.
© 2004 The Associated Press