Legendary investor Warren Buffett was asked this morning in an interview whether he'd still bet money on Hillary Clinton being the next president of the United States. Yes, he said, he still think it's "very likely" she'll be the next president. But he warned in the CNBC interview: "things could always happen in politics, including illnesses or something of the sort."
"Yeah, I'd bet money on both of those," said Buffett. "And I don't know whether Intrade has started their calculations yet, but maybe as time goes along you'll be able to actually bet money. The odds may be up on that. But sure she's a -- things could always happen in politics, including illnesses or something of the sort. But she's extremely likely to be the Democratic nominee, and I think she's very likely to be the president of the United States."
Even if you're Warren Buffett--billionaire investor, founder of Berkshire Hathaway, and Democratic donor--it helps to have friends in high places. Through his holding company MidAmerican Energy, Buffett is currently atttempting to purchase NV Energy, a Nevada-based energy firm, and he's getting some big help from that state's senior U.S. senator, Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Warren Buffett is by now no stranger to the national debate over federal tax policy. In 2009, he penned a New York Timesop-ed calling for "truly major changes in both taxes and outlays." Two years later, he returned to the Times with a widely publicized call for large tax increases on the "super-rich," noting that his own effective federal tax rate (17 percent) was far less than his employees' rates (ranging from 33 to 41 percent). President Obama liked the idea so much, he called for Congress to pass "the Buffett Rule" in his 2012 state of the union address.
Warren Buffett expressed support for the Keystone Pipeline on Fox News last night. "I'm not an expert, but it certainly seems like it makes sense to me,” said Buffett. He added: "There are an awful lot of pipelines running in the United States and net, they've certainly been a huge plus for the country."
President Obama has implied that he himself would pay more under the Buffett Rule--and that he supports it anyway. But according to tax returns released today by the White House, the Obamas wouldn't have to pay higher taxes under the Buffett Rule.
Politico reports that Warren Buffett’s idea of tax reform is apparently quite different from President Obama’s. Buffett says he would raise taxes on those with “very high incomes that are taxed very low,” but not on those making annual salaries of $50 million.
New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is a proponent of raising taxes on everyone, criticized President Obama for using theatrics to trumpet his plan to raise taxes on the rich. "The Buffett thing is just theatrics," Bloomberg said this morning on NBC's Meet the Press.
In his recently released deficit plan, President Obama lays out the “Buffett Rule” (named, of course, for Warren Buffett, the famous investor and supporter of Obama). The rule, as Obama defines it, is “that people making more than $1 million a year should not pay a smaller share of their income in taxes than middle-class families pay.”
Warren Buffett wrote an op-ed last week making his case for higher taxes on the rich, like himself, who he said shouldn't pay at lower marginal rates than their underlings—and indeed Buffett paid a relatively paltry $6.9 million in taxes last year.