That was the stated purpose of Buffett in the NY Times this morning. And the point he's trying to make is that the rich can afford to pay more than 15% on their cash dividend income as well asmore than the 15% tax they pay on capital gains. In other words, Buffett would like to see the Bush tax cuts put through in 2003-- which lowered the tax on dividends and capital gains to 15%-- the lowest level it has ever been in modern times, be raised to a higher level. In the meantime, he, like every other billionaire or centa-milionaire are wise to use whatever advantages the tax code offers them. Please accept my assurance that they are "tricks." Every American citizen can limit their tax on receipt of cash dividends to 15% and their tax on gains for holding stock longer than a year-- also 15%.
But, there are some conservatives on the right who enjoy the blood sport of trying to put down Buffett-- maybe because he is a Democrat and maybe for his battle to convince billionaires to give away no less than half their fortune. He has long been a tareget for Fox News and others who don't like his politics, his unusual midwestern form of "greed." It's a new form of blood sport, suggesting without saying so that both Buffett and Obama want to redistribute wealth.
So, they try to show up Buffett on his arithmetic-- a useless gesture as far as I'm concerned. Or they try to claim he is using "tricks" to keep his taxes down. They're just guessing as none of us have ever seen Buffett's tax return-- though I've been told its extremely short and to the point. And Buffett has always been proud of paying taxes-- whether at the personal level or the corporate level.
By the way, if the "trick" is taking long term capital gains and paying only 15% federal tax on trhe profit-- then a lot more Americans than the 236,883 millionaires are happy to pay them. Unfortunaterly, this year, those tax proceeds are not likely to be substantial-- unless you sold when the Dow was up at 12,700.
The truth is that conservatives-- the zealous anti-tax forces-- have made a spurious attack on Buffett. America does not exist solely for the benefit of the super-rich-- and if you conservatives don't wise up, you're going to experience social unrest in the US. Because the only fair weay for us to reduce the debt and get our budget clkose to balance is to ask every income groupo to give up something. That's all Buffett is saying.