Bloomberg News

Buffett Challenges Republicans on Donations, Time Says

January 24, 2012

(Updates with McConnell comment in fifth paragraph.)

Jan. 11 (Bloomberg) -- Billionaire Warren Buffett will match voluntary contributions by congressional Republicans to the U.S. government, he told Time magazine.

Buffett, who has said the tax system favors the rich, made his offer after Republicans, including U.S. Representative Michelle Bachmann, suggested he donate his fortune to the government.

“If we go to a contribution system, I’ll match the total contribution made by all Republican members of Congress and I’ll even go 3-for-1 with McConnell,” Buffett said of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Kentucky Republican, in an interview with the magazine.

Buffett, chairman and chief executive officer of Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc., supports President Barack Obama, a Democrat. Buffett has called for tax increases on the wealthiest Americans and said he benefits from provisions that aren’t as helpful to the middle class. McConnell has said the U.S. should focus on shrinking government rather than raising taxes, and that he welcomes voluntary donations.

“Since some, like President Obama and Mr. Buffett want to pay higher taxes, Congress made it possible for them to call their own bluff and send in a check,” McConnell’s office said in an e-mailed statement today. The senator looks forward to “Mr. Buffett matching a healthy batch of checks from those who actually want to pay higher taxes, including congressional Democrats” and Obama.

“It’s kind of touching, this faith he has in the American public, with a $1.2 or $1.3 trillion deficit, that he thinks Americans are so wonderfully spirited that they would just solve it all by contributions,” Buffett said. That’s a tax policy “only a Republican could come up with.”

--Editors: Dan Kraut, Peter Eichenbaum

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrew Frye in New York at afrye@bloomberg.net; Noah Buhayar in New York at nbuhayar@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Dan Kraut at dkraut2@bloomberg.net


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