Earlier this week, The New York Times ran an approving piece written by Julia Werdigier about prominent wealthy Europeans who have echoed Warren Buffett’s call to raise taxes on higher income earners.
The article notes that while these calls for higher taxation have been heard in France, Germany and Italy, the same cannot be said for Britain. Indeed, Werdigier quotes the headline from an article written in The Guardian by Polly Toynbee titled, “Where is Britain’s Warren Buffett or Liliane Bettencourt?”
Frankly, I am surprised that Toynbee would pose such a question. Surely she remembers when Britain had marginal tax rates of up to 98% during the 1960s and 1970s under both Labour and Tory governments until Margaret Thatcher had the good sense to reduce them.
Think of all the British musicians who left the U.K. and became tax exiles – The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Rod Stewart. Even Donovan was affected as he recounted in his autobiography a few years back. Mr. Leitch wrote, “The British revenue were taxing all of us stars 98 percent. That’s Ninety-Eight pence to them, two to us. George Harrison wrote his song “Taxman” for the best of reasons. How much can one man possibly need?”
Yes, how much can President Obama possibly need? Should fifty percent appear to be small, be thankful I don’t take it all, indeed. If Warren Buffett were to turn over his entire fortune to President Obama, it wouldn’t be enough to satiate his appetite for spending.