Warren Buffett wrote in to the New York Times today, calling on Congress to raise tax rates for those who he terms the "mega-rich." Among the chief complaints outlined in Buffett's letter, was that the upper class enjoyed a lower tax rate than middle class families, due to tax loopholes and "legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species."
The 80-year-old Buffett, currently the third wealthiest person in the world, has long championed the cause of the less fortunate. He turned heads in 2006 for promising to donate the majority of his wealth to charity, and told critics that he hoped to leave his children with only "enough money so that they would feel they could do anything, but not so much that they could do nothing." He then encouraged others in his tax bracket to do the same, by co-founding The Giving Pledge with fellow billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates. The trio urged the wealthiest one-percent to give most of their fortune to philanthropic causes, and members now include Barron Hilton, Barry Diller and Mark Zuckerberg.
As of 2010, more than 40 of America's richest families had hopped on the giving train, according to Buffett, many committing to "sums far greater than the 50 perecent minimum level." That includes the three wealthiest people in the country (are you listening, Christy Walton?).
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