Huelskamp unappeased by Buffett's numbers

Oct. 12, 2011 at 4:57 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 (UPI) -- Billionaire investor Warren Buffett revealed Wednesday he paid 17.4 percent of his $39.8 billion taxable income to the federal government in 2010.

In a letter sent to Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, Buffett said his adjusted gross income for 2010 came to $62.8 billion, CNNMoney reported.

The letter was sent in as part of a political game of dare. Last month, Buffett published an op-ed article that declared he was taxed at a lower rate than members of his staff at Berkshire Hathaway, the hedge fund that has made him a billionaire several times over.

Forbes Magazine recently listed Buffett as the second richest man in America, worth about $36 billion.

Buffett, in his article, challenged lawmakers in Washington to increase taxes on the ultra-wealthy. He said his wealthy friends would not object to a tax increase while many people in the country were struggling.

He quickly became the poster child for a misaligned tax code in which Republicans are viewed as coddling the rich.

Huelskamp then challenged Buffett to release his tax figures. The underlying message was that Buffett's numbers were wrong or misleading.

In a letter to Buffett, Huelskamp said, "it is my firm belief that if your name is lent to a national policy and your story is the justification for a major overhaul of the tax code, then the American people have a right to see the evidence guiding that policy."

With the numbers in hand, Huelskamp attempted another swipe at Buffett's proposal. "By sheltering millions of dollars of income from taxation through charitable giving, Mr. Buffett demonstrates that he doesn't trust Washington with his own money either," Huelskamp said.

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