Buffett bites back at Christie's call to 'shut up'
February 27th, 2012
03:11 PM ET
11 years ago

Buffett bites back at Christie's call to 'shut up'

(CNN) – Warren Buffett on Monday hit back against Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey for saying the billionaire investor should "just write a check and shut up" about taxes.

"It's sort of a touching response to a $1.2 trillion deficit, isn't it, that somehow the American people will just all send in checks and take care of it," Buffett said on CNBC.

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Buffett has played a prominent role in the tax debate in the last year, arguing that wealthy individuals like him pay too little in taxes.

He lent his name to a White House principle, the so-called "Buffett rule," which calls for those making more than $1 million to pay a tax rate closer to that of middle-class Americans.

President Barack Obama has even specified that he wants the rich to pay at least 30% of their income in taxes as part of a deficit reduction effort.

Last week, Christie said he was "tired of hearing about" Buffett in the national debt debate, adding that if the investor wants to make a difference, then he should donate his own money towards solving the problem.

"He should just write a check and shut up. Really, and just contribute," Christie said on CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight." "If he wants to give the government more money, he's got the ability to write a check – go ahead and write it."

Christie was echoing a similar suggestion last year made by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who supported a measure in October that would allow wealthy individuals to voluntarily pay more than they owe in taxes.

In January, Buffett responded by saying he would match any contribution made by a Republican member of Congress to the Treasury to pay down debt and would triple the match for any donation by McConnell.

"It's sort of astounding to me that somebody that has the responsibility for being the minority leader in the Senate would think that you attack a $1.2 trillion or so deficit by asking for voluntary contributions," Buffett said on Monday.

He added: "The real problem we have is we're taking in too little money and we're spending too much and that's not going to be solved by voluntary contributions. What we need is a policy, a tax policy."

- CNN's Charles Riley contributed to this report.

Also see:

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Romney: 'I can't be perfect'

Graham, McCain predict big primary night for Romney

Filed under: 2012 • Chris Christie • Taxes • Warren Buffett
soundoff (64 Responses)
  1. Greg

    Warren Buffet is the kid in class that tells the teacher they forgot to give us homework. Their is no reason that ANY American should ever give 30% of their income to the government. There is no reason any government should require that much money to operate. If Buffet wants a massive federal government that regulates every aspect of daily life, he can fund it himself. Many of us aren't opposed to taxes simply because we don't want to give up our money, though that is a big part of it. The bigger complaint is what they intend to do with that money. I can't accept giving 28 or 30% of my money to someone so they can use it against my interests.

    February 27, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  2. Typical right wing nut

    I are afraid of sociulusm, cartoons, and womun too.

    February 27, 2012 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Mr. Buffett, how about a 50 percent reduction in the cost of Geico insurance for us poor folks who have purchased car insurance from your company – Geico? I would love to hear you come out with something like that. Or, maybe you could reduce, by 60 percent, the price of that very expensive vacuum cleaner us poor folks cannot afford: Kirby. Now, those are two things you could do to really help us.

    February 27, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  4. Ron

    The whole point of this is that ALL of the millionaires and billionaires need to pay more. It is a red herring to suggest that just one, Warren Buffett go ahead and make a contribution. That's just a distraction from the real issue. I agree with Buffett. Obviously we need to cut spending AND bring in more revenue.

    February 27, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  5. Dennis

    Ironic that Buffett mentions the budget deficit when his buddy Obama. has done the most to create the deficit.

    February 27, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  6. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I only use vulgarity in self defense.

    February 27, 2012 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  7. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Dennis – You are wrong, but don't let facts get in your way.

    February 27, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  8. New Age Independent

    Rudy NYC

    Why should we continue to be surprised by the scope of the vulgar comments made by Republicans, especially Christie?
    Vulgar? To disagree with a liberal is defined as vulgar to a liberal?

    The real question is: Has Buffett's company paid the ONE BILLION in back taxes yet? Talk about ZERO creditability! I can think of some choice vulgar words on that issue!

    February 27, 2012 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  9. Four and The Door

    He added: "The real problem we have is we're taking in too little money and we're spending too much and that's not going to be solved by voluntary contributions. What we need is a policy, a tax policy.
    Kinda makes the unfunded payroll tax cut sound stupid too. Add $100 billion to the debt because it's an election year.

    February 27, 2012 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  10. The Real Tom Paine

    Unfunded tax cuts are generally a stupid idea, four, but your side has made them an article of faith, irregardless of whether its an election year or not. So, enjoy your extra $40 a week and savor the irony.

    February 27, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  11. Bill

    Mr. Weight Watchers needs to shut his mouth and think about his health before he becomes another coronary statistic.

    February 27, 2012 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    Christie's comment showed all the (lack of) intelligence found among the typical idiotic rightwing extremists. A kid in junior high should understand Buffett's point and also recognize that Christie's response did not address Buffett's concerns. Among the rightwing extremists, though, junior high thinking skills are a bit above their heads.

    February 27, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    dr. knowitall wrote:

    Really Rudy ? In the course of an average day you spill out ten times the rudeness and vulgarity of any on republican politician.
    Really? You have never read anything that I have written that resorts to name calling, rudeness, etc. Never. BTW, I was talkijng about Republican politicians. Elected officials, not conservative bloggers. I am not a politician. Christie is. My initial remarks stands unchallenged.

    February 27, 2012 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  14. Larry in Houston

    Don't blame Buffet – at All . He's spot on. I think he may wait it out though, as far as giving resources to Obama's Super Pac – If he could donate 500 Million to Obama's Super Pac – Obama will have it in the bag.

    February 27, 2012 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  15. Ivy

    Anonymous, Mr Buffett wants to pay his fair share like the rest of us do – a genereous gesture since he stands to lose billions. Just to educate you, GEICO is one of the cheapest insurance companies, I know cause I've shopped around and haven't found a better deal, so his business deals are fair. It is you who is asking for gifts in exchange for nothing. That doesn't sound fair, does it?

    February 27, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  16. Rationalintn

    Tax rates are now the GOP sacred cows. They act like tax rates on the wealthy (as well as the middle class), have never been higher than they are now. It would be sacreligious to raise rates on the wealthy, in their opinion. Those higher tax rates in the 1990s, now those tax rates nearly caused armageddon, didn't they??? Remember back then, when the world almost ended ?

    February 27, 2012 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  17. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I think that Buffet has put his money where his mouth is at this point. Christie could have said that better and not sounded like a pompus bully. The point that Buffet is trying to make is that there are many people like him who are making lots of money and don't do anything with it. They pay almost nothing while those that get most of their income from regular wages because they can't do what people like Buffet does which is invest.

    February 27, 2012 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  18. Taylor

    Leave Buffett, he is the only one with all of his monies can see beyond is nose. Chris C is a wise guy always want to bully someone. Some may like it but it is not becoming.

    February 27, 2012 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  19. Taylor

    Leave Buffett alone he speak the truth. Chris is a bully.........

    February 27, 2012 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  20. w l jones

    One word."Bless"

    February 27, 2012 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  21. cigarman

    Why does`nt that Fat Slob, Mafia Wannabe, Loud Mouth Shut up, he is nobody. The Fat Slob is an embarrassment to New Jersey and the United States.

    February 27, 2012 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  22. Aaron

    To all you who are against taxes...Buffett is saying that the rich should pay the same tax rate as those in the middle class. Why shouldn't they? Besides, without taxes, we'd have no roads, school. national defense, and many many other things. Since we have to have taxes to continue as a nation, the rich shouldn't be paying a lower percentage than anyone else. Its the poor and middle class that sacrifice their children to fight these wars that the rich start to get richer. Their kids not dying should at least be worth some extra bucks in taxes from the rich.

    February 27, 2012 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  23. Jmaz

    No, Warren. The "real" problem IS MOST CERTAINLY NOT "taking in too little and spending too much". It's failure to CUT spending when we know we don't bring in enough. It's that same mentality times X number of years. It's expecting the taxpayers to bail out the government and the government's friends, to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars. Go ahead and write that check, Warren, because you advocate the foolish premise that "spend all you want, we'll tax more".

    February 27, 2012 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  24. Lynda, California

    Christie has shown he is just as rude and unrealistic as the rest of the Republican wannabes. Talk about a low class response! "Shut up and write a check already, Buffet." Where do the Republicans get off talking to Americans like this? They bring a scary element to the "bully pulpit". Crazy, arrogant and still have no solutions. Christie needs to crawl back under his rock.

    February 27, 2012 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  25. JMissal

    Sooo...in other words, Buffet refuses to practice what he preaches.

    He didn't "bite back"...he simply didn't rise to the occasion by paying whatever addtional taxes he believes is "fair". Buffet is a globalist fool who is seeking only to remove wealth from others and transfer it to his own endeavors.

    February 27, 2012 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
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