<質問> この国の税法はもっと簡素にしたほうがよいのでしょうか。

<バフェット> そうですね。法改正には下院で218票、上院で51票の賛成が必要ですし、さらには大統領が法案に署名する必要があります。企業の長はだれもが現行の税率に不平を言っていますが、GDPに占める企業利益の割合は過去最高に達しています。40年前の法人税はGDPの4%に相当していましたが、現在はおよそ2%です。もっと合理的な税制を実現する能力が議会にはあります。支出額がGDPの21-22%に相当するのであれば、GDPの19%は税収でまかなうべきです。2-3%の赤字であればやっていけます。ところが17兆5千億ドルになる経済から19%分となると、実際のお金の話をしているわけですから、どこからどれだけとるのかで角を突き合わせることになります。


<マンガー> 私の住んでいるカリフォルニア州では譲渡所得税率が13.5%ですよ。とんでもないですね、金持ちはカリフォルニアから逃げ出せと言わんばかりです[それに加えて連邦税率がたとえば20%かかる]。ハワイやフロリダ州はちゃんとわかってますよ。金持ちがあれこれと犯罪をおかすことはないですし、医療費には多額の金を出しますし、公立学校制度には負担をかけません。「金持ちに住み着いてもらって、金を落としてほしい」と考えない州などあるのでしょうかね。カリフォルニア州の税政はひどいものです。しかし連邦税が悪いとはちっとも思いませんね。

<バフェット> 今後1年間のうちに法人税が改正される可能性はかなりあると思います。

When asked if the U.S. needs a simpler tax code, Buffett said it takes 218 members of the House and 51 US Senators to make the change and the President to sign the legislation. Despite current tax rates that all the corporate chieftains complain about, the share of corporate profits to GDP is at a record. Corporate taxes 40 years ago were 4% of GDP and today they are now running about 2%. Buffett thinks Congress is capable of working out something to make the tax code more rational. If spending is 21%-22% of GDP, we should raise 19% of GDP in taxes. We can run a 2%-3% deficit. However, if you take 19% of a $17.5 trillion economy, you're talking real money. How much you get from where is a fight up the line.

In terms of cash parked abroad, companies can bring it back to the U.S., but they will have to pay the corporate tax rate on it. Buffett thinks there can be a much more equitable tax code in terms of corporate tax. However, he would not shed tears on the current corporate tax rate as American businesses are still prospering. Paying 2% of GDP is not an onerous number, when corporations are earning 15% on tangible equity. Equity holders are being treated well, especially in comparison to savers who are only getting 0.25% or 0.5% on CDs.

Charlie added that he lives in California, where there's a 13.5% tax on capital gains. He thinks that's ridiculous as it is driving rich people out of California. Hawaii and Florida have enough sense to know that rich people don't commit a lot of crimes, they make a lot of medical expenditures and they don't burden the public school systems. He asked, "Who the hell doesn't want rich people coming into their state and spending money?" He concluded that California has a stupid tax policy, but he doesn't think the federal tax policy is bad at all.

Buffett said he thinks there is a good chance for corporate tax reform within a year.

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