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Raise My Taxes? Not So Fast, Retired CEO Tells Warren Buffett

Income tax forms.
Justin Sullivan
Getty Images

Here's one wealthy man's response to billionaire Warren Buffett's recent op-ed piece that made the case for raising taxes on the wealthy. Harvey Golub, former CEO of American Express, disagrees:

Before the government "asks" for more from the rich, it should tax everyone more fairly and then spend that money more wisely, he says. "Then you'll need less of my money," Golub argues on the opinion pages of today's Wall Street Journal.

Golub resents "that Warren Buffett and others who have created massive wealth for themselves think I'm 'coddled' because they believe they should pay more in taxes. I certainly don't feel 'coddled' because these various governments have not imposed a higher income tax. After all, I did earn it."

He also makes the case that the government has an obligation to show that it's spending "our tax money on programs that work" before asking anyone to pay more.

And Golub adds a point that other critics of the call for increasing taxes on the wealthy have been making in recent days:

"Almost half of all filers pay no income taxes at all. Clearly they earn less and should pay less. But they should pay something and have a stake in our government spending their money too."

Buffett's call for higher taxes on the wealthy largely echoes the position held by President Obama, who Buffett endorsed in 2008. The president has advocated letting the so-called Bush tax cuts expire for wealthier Americans.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.