Warren Buffett may be having mixed success in taking his Giving Pledge overseas. But his “Buffett Rule” on taxing the rich is quickly becoming a global rallying cry.
The latest chorus comes from Britain. After the Times of London exposed a legal tax-avoidance scheme used by close to 1,000 of the country’s top earners, politicians and pundits called out the wealthy as unpatriotic, unethical scofflaws.
The famous British comedian Jimmy Carr was one of the people “outed” by The Times as a tax avoider, after he reduced his tax rate to about 1 percent of his $5 million income by sheltering it through a firm based on the island of Jersey. Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron called Mr. Carr’s strategy “morally wrong.”
Let’s recall that Cameron is a Conservative, so this isn’t the usual class-warfare of the left. And Mr. Carr apologized for what he called “a terrible error in judgment.”
The controversy has sparked a renewed call to tax the rich and close unfair loopholes. Some say the nation’s 50 percent tax rate on top incomes is a charade. Simply enforcing the top tax rate and ensuring that all of the rich paid the sticker price would prevent deep cuts to the middle class and poor, they argue. Others are calling for a tax on financial transactions that would be difficult to avoid.Page 1 of 3 | Next Page