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Social Security: What Barack Obama and Warren Buffett Want You to Know

So what does one of those who find themselves in the top 1% think about the issue? Consider Buffett's from a 2011 op-ed in the New York Times entitled :

The honest remarks

So what does one of those who find themselves in the top 1% think about the issue? Consider Buffett's words from a 2011 op-ed in the New York Times entitled Stop Coddling the Super-Rich :

Last year my federal tax bill - the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf - was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income - and that's actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent.

He went on to note that in 1992 the 400 richest individuals in America had a tax rate of 29.2%, but by 2008 that number had dipped to 21.5%. And he himself suggested if he were in control he'd "leave rates for 99.7 percent of taxpayers unchanged," but raise rates for those making $1 million or more.

As the White House would say, this is now known simply as "The Buffett Rule: A Basic Principle of Tax Fairness."

But as he noted in his 2005 annual meeting, he believe Social Security also needed to be reformed.

He said at the time that the cut-off needed to be raised or eliminated altogether, and that perhaps the government should consider raising the retirement age, which it last did in 1983.

Charlie Munger, the second in command at Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway , was even more blunt, saying:

That's the perspective of the Democrat up here, so you might be surprised to hear from the Republican that I think the Republicans are out of their cotton-pickin' minds to be taking on this issue at this time. The thought that more of our GDP will be going to the elderly over time is not [an abomination] to me. Social Security is very successful. Apart from disability - a small part - there's almost no fraud...it rewards work, it's low cost. It's one of the most successful government programs ever.

Obama concluded his remarks in 2011 by adding:

So if we just made a little bit of an adjustment in terms of the cap on Social Security, that would do a significant amount to stabilize the system. And that's just an example of the kinds of changes that we can make.

As Buffett and Munger note, no matter which side of the aisle you find yourself on, one has to hope this is one thing all Americans can agree needs to be changed.

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The article Social Security: What Barack Obama and Warren Buffett Want You to Know originally appeared on Fool.com.

Patrick Morris owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. The Motley Fool recommends Berkshire Hathaway. The Motley Fool owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days . We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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