Warren Buffet recently took to the New York Times to argue that the very rich -- like himself -- were under-taxed. It's not even that bold of an argument -- tax rates for the ultra-wealthy are exceptionally low, and the American government needs revenue. But obviously, for the death-before-taxes wing of the GOP (i.e., all of it), this was heresy.
My former co-blogger Michael Van Der Galien was the first person I saw to snidely comment that Buffet was free to donate as much money as he wanted to charity (or the IRS), of his own volition. I thought about responding to point out that the question of tax rates for the rich is a collective action problem -- Buffet obviously was not declaring that he alone could solve America's budget crisis if only he were allowed -- but I figured it was a one-off, and decided to let it lie.
But alas, as usual, I can't set my expectations low enough. Jon Chait collects the same argument being made by Michele Bachmann and the Wall Street Journal. In addition to making the obvious collective-action point, Chait also notes that -- between the "why don't you just donate" then argument made against folks like Buffet, and the "class warfare" charge made against everyone else -- it turns out that nobody has standing to argue against raising a top marginal rate that currently is 15 points lower than where it was for the majority of the Reagan administration. Neat trick, that.