One of the biggest problems facing America is that rich people have too much money, according to Warren Buffett, the investment guru who this year was ranked as the world’s second wealthiest man on Forbes' billionaire list.
In an interview on PBS Newshour, the founder and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK/B) claimed that the recent improvement in economic activity across the country is only really benefiting people like him. Buffett, who previously pledged to donate 99 percent of his wealth to philanthropic causes, also complained about the tax cuts for the wealthy the current administration is proposing.
"The real problem, in my view, is … the prosperity has been unbelievable for the extremely rich people,” Buffett said in the interview. "If you go to 1982, when Forbes put on their first 400 list, those people had [a total of] $93 billion. They now have $2.4 trillion, [a multiple of] 25 for one. This has been a prosperity that's been disproportionately rewarding to the people on top."
During the interview, Buffett also took aim at the Republican government’s plan to do away with the Affordable Care Act, commonly known as Obamacare. The longtime donor to the Democratic party said that the administration's bid to overhaul Obamacare should be called “relief for the rich act," because it would shave thousands of dollars off the nation’s wealthiest people’s tax bills. (See also: The Beginning of the End of Obamacare.)
According to Buffett’s estimates, if the bill that passed in the House had been in effect this year, he would have saved $679,999 — over 17 percent of his total tax bill.
When asked how the U.S. should address the problems associated Obamacare, Buffett responded that the most credible alternative would be to introduce a single-payer health system. Such an arrangement would see one government insurer made responsible for covering the entire country, a move that he reckons could help to keep the system’s rising healthcare costs in check.
“In almost every field of American business, it pays to bring down costs,” he said. “There’s an awful lot of people involved in the medical, the whole ― just the way the ecosystem works ― that there is no incentive to bring down costs.”