02/08/2012 09:47 pm ET Updated Apr 09, 2012

Warren Buffett Pitches Senate Democrats On 'Tax Fairness'

WASHINGTON, Feb 8 (Reuters) - Warren Buffett, the billionaire philanthropist who inspired President Barack Obama's new crusade to make the rich pay more taxes, made his pitch for the proposal at a meeting on Wednesday with U.S. Senate Democrats, party aides said.

Buffett was the dinner speaker at a closed-door meeting of the lawmakers and discussed their efforts for tax fairness, aides said.

Buffett made "very compelling arguments for the need to make our tax code an instrument of fairness for middle-class families instead of being rigged to help the rich get richer," one aide said.

Obama spoke to Senate Democrats earlier in the day during their retreat inside the Washington Nationals' baseball park.

Buffett - an investor who is one of the richest people in the world - has complained that many millionaires and billionaires, like himself, pay a lower tax rate than the average working American.

Obama has said he wants Congress to enact a "Buffett rule," which would require anyone earning more than $1 million to pay an effective rate of at least 30 percent.

Obama began his election-year campaign for the proposal by inviting Buffett's secretary, who pays a higher tax rate than her boss, to his Jan. 24 State of the Union address to Congress.