On ABC's This Week Christiane Amanpour interviewed 3 of the wealthiest Americans to discuss their individual pledges to give away their hard earned wealth. Here are some of the interesting comments made by Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Ted Turner...
BUFFETT: the rich are always going to say that you know, just give us the money and we'll go out and spend more and then it will all trickle down to the rest of you. But that has not worked the last 10 years, and I hope the American public is catching on.
The debate over whether the rich should pay more taxes takes place outside Washington, DC as well. In Washington State for instance where Bill Gates Sr. has been passionately championing a new tax on the rich. Washington is one of seven states with no state income tax.
AMANPOUR: Proposition 1098 that was in Washington state to try to bring a wealth tax championed by Bill Gates, Sr., supported by Bill Gates, it failed.
BUFFETT: Right. Got beat pretty badly, but I really admire Bill Sr. for what he did on this. I mean there's a guy that's going out and trying to do something for his state and, unfortunately, lost.
AMANPOUR: What do you say though to the executives? One, apparently, was even a Microsoft executive who spent a lot of money trying to defeat that.
BUFFETT: they're not alone in those look at who fights in terms of the estate tax and in terms of higher tax rate. That's what K Streets all about in Washington. And, unfortunately, the politics is a game of push and pull and you get to push with money.
AMANPOUR: Are you disappointed that it got defeated?
B. GATES: I voted yes and I was hoping that it would pass. But that's done now.
AMANPOUR: Do you agree with the former Federal Reserve Chairman, Alan Greenspan that all Bush era tax cuts should come to an end?
BUFFETT: no, I think -- or actually you might extend them further for the lower class, middle class, maybe upper middle class but I think that you should raises taxes on the very rich. I lived in periods where capital gains taxes were 39.6 percent, when earned income taxes were 70 percent and our economy did just fine.
AMANPOUR: why do you think there isn't there more of that kind of debate....
BUFFETT: I think that it hasn't been to the interest of the people in Washington to get as riled up about that as they get riled up about other things. You know, we're going to raise $2.2 trillion this year or something like that. Nine hundred billion will come from individual income taxes. Nine hundred billion will come from payroll taxes. So the payroll taxes become 40 percent of our total revenue just like the income tax. And people that talk about how the rich pay their share and all that sort of thing, they totally ignore the payroll tax. You know, I did this little survey in my office a few years ago and there were 16 people who responded. And I had the lowest tax rate of the 16. I didn't have any tax shelters. I didn't have any tax planner. It was all courtesy of the U.S. Congress. I mean, they did my tax planning for me. And, literally, the average for the office, counting payroll taxes was 32 percent and mine was 16 and a fraction percent.
AMANPOUR: their rationale is that by giving you a tax break, so to speak, which is what it amounts to, you help all the others...that it trickles down.
BUFFETT: Yes. Well, all I can say it hasn't trickled. You know, as I said, a rising tide has listed all yachts, but the row boats have been left behind.
TURNER: I still pay quite a bit of taxes but not as much as I would if I didn't give so much money away. I get a lot of deductions.
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