Warren Buffett may have actually set off a movement with his NY Times oped calling for higher taxes on the rich. That's what Carla Marinucci, who is not known as a socialist radical, reports today in the Chronicle.
Billionaire Warren Buffett may not seem to have much in common with angry laborers at town hall meetings or armies of California nurses protesting in the streets.
But these days, the executive celebrity in his boardroom and working folks on the front lines have found a common mantra as the economy continues to sputter and the 2012 election approaches: "Tax the rich."
It's a great time to be talking about this -- The Institute for Policy Studies just released a report showing that a lot of major corporations paid their CEOs more money last year than they paid in federal taxes. And as the economy continues to sputter, voters are going to keep asking why the rich are doing so well and the rest of us are doing worse and worse.
So let's make this the center of the mayor's race in San Francisco.
The nurse's union is taking on the tax issue directly. The nurses' candidate for mayor of San Francisco, Leland Yee, doesn't even mention "taxes" on his list of issues in the race.
Progressive leader John Avalos talks about bringing in $40 million in new revenue, and he has told me many times that he supports taxing the rich. But those words aren't on his issues page, either. Phil Ting supports repealing part of Prop. 13, but his website talks only of bringing in new revenue without raising taxes. David Chiu wants to reform the business tax, which is a good idea -- but again, the word "tax" isn't on his issue list, and there's nothing about the rich at all. Bevan Dufty? Nothing about taxes at all. Ed Lee? Zero.
The only leading candidate whose website actually mentions tax reform as a leading issue is Dennis Herrera, who mentions repealing the payroll tax and holding a "tax summit." His analysis of the payroll tax is dubious, but at least he uses the word "fair." He doesn't, however, use the word "rich."
So here was have the mainstream of the Democratic Party and even ol' Nancy Pelosi talking about making the wealthy pay their fair share, and in San Francisco, which is supposed to be the most liberal big city in America, it's not even on the agenda.
Am I the only one who thinks this is a problem?