The Forward, a Jewish newspaper that I worked at from 1995 to 2000 when it was under different ownership, has an editorial quoting rich Jews who agree with Warren Buffett that they should pay more taxes.
George Soros: "Warren Buffett is living up to his reputation as an astute investor. The rich are hurting their own long-term interests by their opposition to paying more taxes."
Mark Cuban: "I agree that the wealthiest citizens of the country can afford to pay more and should. I agree that carried interest should be treated as regular income. I personally have no problem paying more taxes."
Edgar Bronfman Sr.: "Raise my taxes, and raise them now."
Michael Steinhardt (a partner of mine in the New York Sun and an investor in the Forward when I worked there): "Yes, they should pay more, both absolutely and relatively." (I love the use of "they" rather than "we.")
The Forward editorial complains that suggesting these individuals voluntarily write checks to the federal government "misses the point."
Messrs. Soros, Cuban, Bronfman, and Steinhardt are certainly entitled to their opinions. But so long as the Forward is calling for higher taxes, it's worth mentioning that, after Mr. Steinhardt and Seth Lipsky sold their half, the whole thing was reorganized as a non-profit, in part so the organization could entirely legally avoid taxes on the $78 million sale of WEVD to Disney. The non-profit organization's tax return for 2009 shows $63.5 million in assets, $21 million of which are invested in "hedge funds." Again, because it's organized as a non-profit, the $21 million in hedge funds are subject to no tax at the corporate level. The Forward is just like Mr. Buffett — going around calling for higher taxes, while at the same time organizing its own affairs with extensive care so as to pay as little as possible themselves.
"We have a communal responsibility to provide resources so that government can protect us, provide for us when necessary, and maintain all the services and privileges that are taken for granted, from street cleaning to farm subsidies. It's not about me. It's supposed to be about us," the Forward editorial lectures, endorsing what it calls a "reasonable" and "sensible" plan that "that Americans should pay more on taxable income earned in excess of $1 million, with another tax hike for those earning $10 million or more." How about a tax hike on non-profits with hedge funds investments in excess of $1 million? The proceeds can go to those farm subsidies that the Forward editorial writers deem a communal responsibility.
Alongside the editorial on the Forward Web site is a plea to "support non-profit, independent Jewish journalism" by making "a tax-deductible donation to the Forward." Maybe if the tax rates are higher, the tax deductions the Forward is offering its donors would be worth more? The mind reels.