With an estimated net worth of $39 billion, Buffett is the second-richest man in America. When the "Oracle of Omaha" speaks, the markets listen. Yet he's been repeating the same one-liner for more than a decade.
"I'm paying taxes at a lower rate than my secretary ... and frankly I think that's crazy," Buffett said during a speech in 2000 at Columbia University in New York, where he endorsed Hillary Rodham Clinton in her first Senate bid.
Eleven years later, Buffett's refrain – "Tax me more!" – reflects the same stance: that low tax rates on capital gains favor wealthy investors over middle-class wage earners.
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For the first time, however, the folksy tale of his receptionist has caught fire, eliciting a strong endorsement from the Oval Office and cries of class warfare from congressional Republicans. Forget Joe the Plumber. Warren Buffett's secretary is the new working-class hero of the Great Recession.
(For the record, Buffett has not one but several assistants. And none are exactly jumping to answer the call of history. Two of them, Carrie Kizer and Debbie Bosanek, declined to be interviewed for this article.)