Buffett withholding judgement on ‘Buffett Rule’

Chris Moody

President Barack Obama named his plan to raise taxes on individuals making more than $1 million a year after billionaire investor Warren Buffett, who wrote an op-ed article in The New York Times calling for a tax increase on the wealthy, and suggested in an interview with CNBC Friday that he's withholding judgement until more details are available.

Here's the transcript

CNBC: "Are you happy that the way it is being described? Is the program that the White House has presented, a million dollars and over, your program? "

Buffett: "Well, the precise program which will -- I don't know what their program will be. My program would be on the very high incomes that are taxed very low. Not just high incomes. Somebody making $50 million a year playing baseball, his taxes won't change. Make $50 million a year appearing on television, his income won't change. But, if they make a lot of money and pay a very low tax rate, like me, it would be changed by a minimum tax that would only bring them up to what other people pay."

CNBC: "Does that mean you disagree with the president's new jobs proposal which would be paid for by raising taxes on households with incomes of over $250,000?"

Buffett: "That's another program that I won't be discussing. My program is to have a tax on ultra-rich people who are very tax rates. Not just all rich people. It would probably apply to 50,000 people in a population of 300 million."

There has been some debate about what Buffett meant by his response, and whether he was distancing himself from the "Buffett Rule." The disagreement, it appears, is due to a lack of details about the plan itself. The White House hasn't said specifically how it would work, but says the rule would apply to "people making more than $1 million a year" and would ensure that they do not "pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than middle-class families pay." From the interview, it appears Buffett is on board with the spirit of the policy.

When asked about The American Jobs Act, a separate piece of legislation that Obama proposed earlier this month, Buffett said he plans to examine the bill once it's written and will make a judgment about his support.

"There's no question there will be parts I disagree with," he said.

Video after the jump:

This article has been updated and the headline has been changed to clarify Buffett's comments since the details of the White House plan are still pending.