Time for Warren Buffett and his Secretary to Release Their Personal Tax Returns

By: January 24, 2012

The political theater of the Obama Administration continues at this evening’s State of the Union Address. Debbie Bosanek, Warren Buffett’s personal secretary–you know the woman who has become the poster-child for President Obama’s attacks on the “unfairness” of the not progressive enough tax code–will be seated in the  First Lady’s box this evening. Buffett has repeatedly lectured to us about a tax code in which his secretary pays a higher tax rate than he does.

Ms. Bosanek, who until recently had only been thrust into the public dialogue over “fairness” and redistribution by her publicity seeking and political favor hunting boss (note how his Burlington Railroad company benefits financially from the President’s decision to halt the Keystone Pipeline) has now thrust herself into the national debate.

Fair enough.

Now that she’s voluntarily participating in the public arena, I call on both Ms. Bosanek and Mr. Buffett to release their own personal tax returns for the past four years. Let’s see what their tax rates really are. This is an important political argument that will be a central theme of the Obama campaign for the rest of the year. Having made the claim on behalf of the Obama campaign, it’s time for Mr. Buffett and Ms. Bosanek to demonstrate its veracity.

I suspect we’ll find that Mr. Buffett has benefited significantly from his own lobbying of Congress. And I’m curious to see exactly how much higher Ms. Bosanek’s tax rate is than Mr. Buffett’s.

The analysis of their personal tax returns is likely to be highly educational for the entire country.

Michael Patrick Leahy is the editor of the Voices of the Tea Party e-book series, co-founder of the Nationwide Tea Party Coalition, and co-organizer of Election Day Tea Party 2012. His new book,Covenant of Liberty: The Ideological Origins of the Tea Party Movement, will be published by Broadside Books in spring, 2012. He can be reached on Twitter at @michaelpleahy .



14 Responses to Time for Warren Buffett and his Secretary to Release Their Personal Tax Returns

  1. texmex says:

    buffet talks a good story but, his attorneys are arguing with the IRS about HIS taxes from two years ago….

  2. JAL says:

    Well if Warren’s income is like Mitt Romney’s, he might pay only 15%. Well, on top of the 35%, right? So sure, looking at the 15%, the “secretary” probably does pay more.

    The question for me is why doesn’t Warren give his “secretary” some smart investment advice, as well as access to a top notch tax attorney to get her out of that shameful predicament.

    Instead of making the rest of the American taxpayers, rich and old, have to listen to and underwrite his Obama pandering.

  3. John says:

    Mr Buffett runs the company. He chooses to pay himself a modest salary to manage gazillions of dollars.
    He chooses to take the majority of his earnings as capital gains.
    Salaries… big and small … are taxed at a much higher rate than capital gains.
    Since Mr Buffet says he wants to pay the same rate as his secretary, all he has to do is take all of his earnings in salary and give up the capital gains.

    That would be the patriotic thing to do.

  4. Don says:

    Oh, that is too good!

  5. TheOtherHand says:

    Mr. Buffett is giving most of his money to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation when he dies, rather than paying estate taxes to the Federal government.

    Why? He has said that he is sure Bill and Melinda can make better decisions about where the money can be spent than the government can. But he is quite happy to have you give your money to the Federal government.

    Buffett always talks about how the rich should pay more in taxes, but have you ever heard him suggest that the government should get its spending under control? I have not. He loves big bloated government spending programs, and he wants you to pay for the programs instead of paying himself.

  6. sleemis says:

    see slate article from months back…. it says he give her stock each year. What is her blended rate?
    i agree she and buffett show show their returns.


  7. Dr. Deano says:

    “all he has to do is take all of his earnings in salary and give up the capital gains”

    Actually, it isn’t even that complicated. If he were serious, Buffett would simply pay the IRS the difference between his cap gains tax liability and what it would be had he taken the same amount as salary…

    Buffett is willfully and with malice aforethought, deluding people to aid Obama in his efforts to divide us along class lines.

    In return, Buffett gets ‘stuff’ like the Keystone pipeline decision that lines his “15%” pockets even more. And millions upon millions of clue-challenged Americas think he is standing up for them… That’s the truly sad part.

  8. zefal says:

    Remember this guy also was Arny the governator main economic adviser. How did that work out? Oh, Arny did the “responsible” thing (unlike Scott Wilson in Wisconsin) and raised taxes like the Fraud of Omaha said to do! And then California reigned in its deficit spending and everyone (who moved out of Cali) lived happily ever after!!!

  9. james says:

    what is her yearly salary? No one will say. Im willing to bet that since she is his secratary, her salary is much higher than any normal secratary. (or mine) Mine isnt all that bad, but im sure it’s not as high as her and I pay around 20% out of taxes out of my salary.

  10. Greg says:

    Almost no one pays more than 15% effective tax rate on income. The average tax payer pays around 12% and less than 3% of tax payers pay more than 15% The only tax payers who pay more than 15% are high salary individuals (above 200K) who are not heavily invested in stocks.

    I make 80K and am still among the 47% who pay $0 or less in income taxes because of mortgage deductions and child tax credits. However, if you look on a tax table, 80K is in the 25% bracket, but I don’t pay 25%, I pay 0%. I’m sure if we looked at their tax forms Warren Buffett’s secretary pays a lower rate than he does.

  11. Gordon says:

    I agree. Ms Bosanek voluntarily placed herself in the spotlight but allowing the Obama administration to use her as the poster child for tax hikes on the wealthy. She and Mr Buffet need to prove the claim about their relative rate rates.

    • mra says:

      ABC news just reported Buffet’s Secretary paide a 35.8% tax rate. I looked at latest tax tables and to pay over 35% you have to have taxable income of about $380,000. So she already is in the class that President Obama wants to tax more. Wonder if the Secretary knows that????

  12. Pingback: Tax, Obama and Buffett’s far-from-average secretary | Business blog | Business, finance, media and technology views from the Financial Times – FT.com

  13. James says:

    I make 75-80k a year, but I only work 8 months our of the year. Im not the smartest when it comes these things, but I do know that every full pay period deposit, there is 18% federal deducted from my deposits. My question would be, is that normal?

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