Right-wing media claimed that Warren Buffett "blast[ed]" the Buffett rule and that he "isn't totally in favor" of it, citing a CNBC interview in which Buffett said the rule is a "small improvement" that "doesn't cure all revenue problems." But during that interview, Buffett said that he's "fine" with the rule as introduced by Senate Democrats and that it "encompasses the principles that I believe in."
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Buffett: I'm "Fine" With The Buffett Rule; "It Encompasses The Principles That I Believe In"
Buffett On CNBC: "I'm Fine With" The Buffett Rule; "It Encompasses The Principles That I Believe In." From the May 7 edition of CNBC's Squawk Box:
ANDREW ROSS SORKIN (co-host): You know, Warren, to me, one of the most interesting answers that came out of the meeting was about the Buffett rule, and in particular, sounded to me like you were indicating that what the White House has done with the Buffett rule is different than what you would've done. And I think you used the quote that it's been butchered a bit. Could you elaborate on that?
BUFFETT: No, no. No, I said some of the commentary about it has been butchered or - but no, I would not say the rule at all has been butchered. Obviously, if I were writing a bill myself, there would be - there'd be a little difference. For one thing, there would probably be a different break point - maybe at $10 million or something of the sort. But, it's interesting - you mention the term "White House" because it's Senator Whitehouse who introduced the bill - Senator Whitehouse of Rhode Island. And I wrote him a letter after he introduced the bill and said I'm fine with it. I mean, everybody would do something a little bit differently, but it encompasses the principles that I believe in.
Buffett then responded to co-host Becky Quick's comment that "some of the criticism [of the Buffett rule] that's come out, though, has been that it's really a Band-Aid on a really bad tax system":
BUFFETT: Oh, it doesn't -- it is a small improvement in a very bad tax system. It doesn't cure all, it doesn't cure all revenue problems remotely. In my original article, I said, you know, we've got major problems on the expenditure side. And, no -- but it -- no, all it does is it says that when you've got 131 of the 400 largest incomes in the country that are averaging 270 million, you have a hundred -- a third of them paying at rates less than 15 percent, counting payroll taxes. That is something that should be corrected. [CNBC, Squawk Box, 5/7/12, relevant portion begins around 3:30]
But Right-Wing Media Spin Buffett's Comments To Claim He "Blast[ed]" The Buffett Rule
Big Government: "Buffett Rips The Buffett Rule." A May 7 Big Government post headlined, "Buffett Rips The Buffett Rule," highlighted a portion of Buffett's comments on CNBC and claimed that Buffett "came out today and criticized" the Buffett rule. From Big Government:
Warren Buffett came out today and criticized the Obama Administration's new "Buffett Rule" which would apply a minimum tax rate of 30 percent on individuals making more than a million dollars a year. Buffett thinks more should be done, and said that the Rule was:
a small improvement in a very bad tax system. It doesn't cure all, it doesn't cure all revenue problems remotely. In my original article I said we've got major problems on the expenditure side. All it does is say that when you've got 131 of the 400 largest incomes in the country that are averaging 170 million, you have a third paying taxes at less than 15% counting payroll taxes; that is something that should be corrected.
It would be nice to see GDP galloping at 4 or 5 %. But we've had a complete resuscitation of the banking system, in all cases but residential construction we've had the economy come back in a very significant way, and month by month it gets better. [Big Government, 5/7/12]
Fox Nation: "Buffett Rips The Buffett Rule." On May 7, Fox Nation linked to the Big Government post with the headline: "Buffett Rips The Buffett Rule":
[Fox Nation, 5/7/12]
Fox's Carlson: "Chances Are The President Never Expected [Buffett] To Blast The So-Called Buffett Rule." During the May 8 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-host Gretchen Carlson said: "Chances are the president never expected this guy to blast the so-called Buffett rule. Warren Buffett himself, the billionaire, now saying it won't do much to help our ailing economy." She later stated, "It's a little problematic when the guy you name it after isn't totally in favor of it." From Fox & Friends:
CARLSON: Chances are the president never expected this guy to blast the so-called Buffett rule. Warren Buffett himself, the billionaire, now saying it won't do much to help our ailing economy. Remember, President Obama named his tax-hike proposal after Buffett, who supports increased tax revenues on America's top earners. But during a recent Buffett announcement, he criticized the president's proposal as a small improvement to a very bad tax system that couldn't even remotely cure our revenue problems. And those are your headlines. It's a little problematic when the guy you name it after maybe isn't totally in favor of it.
STEVE DOOCY (co-host): Oops.
BRIAN KILMEADE (co-host): They could've checked with him.
During the segment, on-screen text read, "Buffett vs. Buffett; Billionaire blasts rule that bears his name":
[Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/8/12]
Not The First Time: Right-Wing Media Have Previously Misrepresented Buffett To Claim He Criticized Buffett Rule
In September 2011, Right-Wing Media Twisted Buffett's Comments To Claim He Repudiated The Buffett Rule. After a September 2011 CNBC interview, right-wing media falsely claimed that Buffett would not "endorse" the Buffett rule, and that he "repudiates" it. [Media Matters, 9/30/11]