08/16/2011 02:19 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Warren Buffett Is Just Like You and Me

Warren Buffett took to the pages of the New York Times yesterday to state in no uncertain terms what is painfully clear to anyone looking at income inequality: Stop coddling the super-rich.

His call led to predictable outcries of "pay up." The Treasury has a form enabling anyone to make donations to help reduce the public debt. Use it!

That misses the most important point. Even Buffett voluntarily paying higher taxes wouldn't make a dent into the public debt.

He is one in 236,883 Americans who made more than a million in 2009 -- one in 8,274 who made more than ten million. Buffett himself counts for perhaps ten or 100 of these millionaires, but his voluntary tax payment is still but a small fraction of what all of them together would be paying.

Even when it comes to millionaires, doing individual good doesn't do much of anything. Buffett's millions are much better spent trying to argue for policy changes than to try to "pay up" all by himself.

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