So that got me to thinking about how fair the tax system really is. Do the well-off pay their fair share, or do they also deserve a tax break?
Well, let’s start with the ultra-rich. Bajillionaire Warren Buffett has argued that he isn’t being asked to pay his share. He went around his office, asking people what share of their income they pay in income taxes. Buffett’s 17.7 percent tax rate compared a bit too favorably with the 30 percent tax rate paid by his secretary.
So it appears that the tax system favors the super-rich over working stiffs.
And Buffett went a step further, putting his money where his mouth is. Last November he issued a challenge to his fellow billionaires:
I’ll bet a million dollars against any member of the Forbes 400 who challenges me that the average (federal tax rate including income and payroll taxes) for the Forbes 400 will be less than the average of their receptionists.
So far, no-one has taken him up on this bet.
Freakonomics takes on taxing and fairness for wealthy vs working people here: