Buffett Expects 'Fiscal Cliff' Fix, but Not by December 31
Warren Buffett expects Washington lawmakers will come up with a compromise on the "fiscal cliff," but he's not sure that will happen by the end of the year.
He doesn't, however, think it will take several more months to come up with a fix and it won't be the "end of the world" if a compromise comes shortly after the December 31 deadline.
Buffett appeared live on CNBC's Squawk Box with long-time friend Carol Loomis to promote a book about him that she compiled from Fortune magazine articles over the years. (Read the CNBC Transcript of their entire appearance.)
Buffett didn't outline a specific solution that he prefers, saying he could "go with any number of plans."
But he thinks the end result should have U.S. revenues at 18.5 percent of GDP and expenditures at 21 percent.
Those levels would be "sustainable" because the ratio of the nation's national debt to GDP wouldn't increase, and might even fall over time, as economic growth makes up for the revenue gap.
The Berkshire Hathaway CEO said the "fiscal cliff" is having no effect on his long-term investing decisions.
He repeated his call for a minimum tax rate for the ultrarich, saying the small minority that don't pay any taxes at all are among the "moochers" Mitt Romney referred to in his "47 Percent" comments.
Buffett argues that many middle-class people are unfairly burdened with payroll taxes for Social Security and Medicare, calling it the "most regressive" tax. They only apply to income under a cutoff just above $100,000 but generate $800 billion a year, one-third of U.S. revenue.
He rejected Joe Kernen's suggestion that payroll taxes should not be part of the debate because they're for an insurance system. With a laugh, he said, "Believe me, it's a tax on income."
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