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Warren Buffett Fact Checked Donald Trump, Released His Own Tax Data

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  • Warren Buffett Just Fact Checked Donald Trump

In a debate Sunday, Trump acknowledged using a nine-figure loss in 1995 to reduce tax obligations and sought to liken the move to strategies used by some of Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s wealthy supporters, including Buffett. On Monday, the billionaire Berkshire Hathaway Inc. chairman released information from his personal taxes and challenged the Republican presidential candidate to do the same.

“He has not seen my income tax returns. But I am happy to give him the facts,” Buffett said in a statement. “I have paid federal income tax every year since 1944, when I was 13.”

Buffett has been clashing for months with Trump, who has refused to release his tax returns, citing an audit. At a campaign event for Clinton in Omaha, Nebraska, in August, the Berkshire chairman challenged the Republican candidate to meet him “any place, any time” to swap returns and answer questions from the public.

That never came to pass. On Monday, Buffett said he paid $1.85 million in federal income taxes in 2015 on adjusted gross income of $11.6 million. That would mean he paid an effective federal income tax rate of about 16 percent. In 2013, the most recent year for which data are available, the top 1 percent of earners paid 27 percent, according to an analysis of Internal Revenue Service data by the Tax Foundation.

Charitable Donations

Most of Buffett’s $65 billion fortune comes from his controlling interest in Berkshire. The company doesn’t pay a dividend and, for decades, Buffett has asked the board to keep his annual salary at $100,000. The 86-year-old is steadily giving away his Berkshire shares to philanthropy.

He said Monday that he made more than $2.8 billion of donations last year. Yet his tax return shows only $5.5 million in deductions, mostly for allowable charitable contributions and state income taxes. The law “properly” limits what can be deducted, Buffett wrote.

He again dismissed the contention that Trump can’t release his own return because of an audit by the Internal Revenue Service.

‘No Problem’

“I have been audited by the IRS multiple times and am currently being audited,” Buffett wrote. “I have no problem in releasing my tax information while under audit. Neither would Mr. Trump — at least he would have no legal problem.”

Jessica Ditto, a spokeswoman for the Trump campaign, declined to comment on Buffett’s remarks.

Trump, who has departed from roughly 40 years of tradition for presidential nominees by declining to release his returns or any tax information, has said he’ll make them public once the audit is complete and that returns wouldn’t give voters very much information.

Tax Strategies

Releasing full tax returns and schedules would disclose Trump’s income sources, charitable contributions and possible glimpses of his tax-minimizing strategies. Income reported from assets could provide at least some partial clues about the nature of those holdings, though not about their value or inner workings. His returns would also reveal any foreign income or foreign bank accounts.

Even if he didn’t release full returns, Trump could give voters at least some information — that is, how much he made and how much he paid — by releasing the sort of figures Buffett did, particularly if Trump provided several years’ worth of data.

During Sunday’s debate, Trump acknowledged for the first time that he had used a business loss of $916 million to avoid federal income income taxes — though he didn’t say for how long, and he said such tax avoidance is common practice among wealthy businessmen.

Under rules in place at the time, Trump could have used the loss to avoid taxes on as much as $50 million in income a year — for three years prior to the loss and 15 years after. Using old losses to reduce taxes on income in future years is known as a carryforward.

Buffett’s 72 Returns

“I have copies of all 72 of my returns,” Buffett wrote Monday. “And none uses a carryforward.”

While Berkshire has been a sophisticated user of the tax code to limit its liabilities, Buffett has been outspoken for years about how the wealthiest people in the U.S. don’t pay enough income tax. To illustrate the point, he has said his secretary pays a higher rate than he does.

The billionaire was the inspiration of the so-called Buffett Rule, proposed by President Barack Obama and backed by Clinton, which would tax incomes exceeding $1 million at a minimum rate of 30 percent. The Democratic candidate reiterated her support for that plan Sunday.

Is the CEO/Founder of Investors King Limited. A proven foreign exchange research analyst and a published author on Yahoo Finance, Businessinsider, Nasdaq, Entrepreneur.com, Investorplace, and many more. He has over two decades of experience in global financial markets.

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Kagame Dominates Election with 99.15% of Votes Counted

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President Paul Kagame has taken a commanding lead in the Rwandan presidential election, securing 99.15% of the votes counted thus far, according to the National Electoral Commission.

The provisional results, reported by the state broadcaster Rwanda Broadcasting Agency, indicate a decisive victory for the Rwandan Patriotic Front candidate.

With 79% of the ballots tallied, Kagame’s overwhelming lead leaves his opponents trailing significantly.

Frank Habineza of the Democratic Green Party of Rwanda has garnered only 0.53% of the votes, while independent candidate Philippe Mpayimana has received 0.32%.

The voter turnout has been reported at an impressive 98%, underscoring the high level of public engagement in the electoral process.

The early results suggest a strong mandate for Kagame, who has been at the helm of Rwandan politics since 2000.

Kagame’s administration has been marked by significant economic growth and development, but it has also faced criticism for its stance on political dissent and freedom of expression.

Despite this, Kagame remains a highly popular figure in Rwanda, with many citizens crediting him for the country’s stability and progress.

The National Electoral Commission is expected to release the final results in the coming days. As the tallying continues, Kagame’s supporters have already begun celebrating his anticipated victory.

Analysts believe that Kagame’s likely re-election will provide continuity in Rwanda’s economic policies and development programs.

However, they also call for more inclusive governance and respect for political freedoms to ensure long-term stability and growth.

Kagame’s near-unanimous support in the early results reflects his entrenched position in Rwandan politics.

His ability to maintain such high levels of support will be a focal point of discussion in the aftermath of the election.

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Kenya Prepares for More Protests Over Unresolved Political Crisis

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Kenya is on the brink of another wave of anti-government protests as efforts to resolve the nation’s escalating political crisis appear to have stalled.

President William Ruto’s proposal for a national dialogue has yet to take off, leaving the nation in a state of heightened tension.

Activists have called for demonstrations across the East African nation on Tuesday, protesting the government’s failure to hold security forces accountable for the deaths of at least 41 people.

These casualties occurred during protests against Ruto’s contentious plan to raise taxes over the past month.

Despite the president’s announcement last week that national dialogue would commence on Monday to defuse the situation, progress has been elusive.

The main opposition party, the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), expressed uncertainty regarding the proposed talks.

“We haven’t received any invitation,” ODM Secretary-General Edwin Sifuna stated. “When called, we’ll go because we are keen on getting broad-based reforms.”

A spokesperson for the presidency indicated that parliamentary leaders were managing the planned talks, but National Assembly majority leader Kimani Ichung’wah did not respond to requests for comment.

Protests initially erupted in mid-June over Ruto’s plans to increase taxes on essential goods, including bread and diapers, aiming to raise over $2 billion to reduce the government’s budget shortfall.

The public outcry forced Ruto to abandon the proposal, but dissatisfaction remains high.

Last week, in a dramatic move to quell public anger, Ruto fired almost all his cabinet members, underscoring the severity of the discontent.

The scrapping of the tax measures is expected to widen the government’s budget deficit to 3.6% of GDP in the current fiscal year, up from a previous projection of 3.3%.

This financial strain has not gone unnoticed; Moody’s Ratings downgraded Kenya’s rating by a step to Caa1, plunging it deeper into junk status, highlighting the country’s deteriorating fiscal condition.

On Saturday, Ruto vowed to hold accountable those responsible for the recent killings. However, his efforts to address public concerns seem insufficient to stem the tide of unrest.

On Monday, he called on the Ford Foundation, an organization promoting civic engagement, to clarify its role in the protests, though the foundation did not respond to requests for comment.

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Rishi Sunak Announces Resignation Amid Labour’s Sweeping Victory

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Rishi Sunak

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has announced his resignation as the leader of the Conservative Party following a historic victory by Labour in the general election.

Addressing the nation from the steps of 10 Downing Street, Sunak expressed his deep regret and took full responsibility for the party’s defeat.

“I would like to say, first and foremost, I am sorry. I have given this job my all,” Sunak began, visibly moved.

“But you have sent a clear signal that the government of the United Kingdom must change. And yours is the only judgement that matters. I have heard your anger, your disappointment, and I take responsibility for this loss.”

The Conservatives experienced a staggering loss, with more seats taken by Labour than in any previous election.

This shift marked a dramatic change in the political landscape, as large swathes of the country turned red. Sir Keir Starmer, leader of the Labour Party, claimed victory early Friday morning, addressing a jubilant crowd of supporters.

“The UK has the opportunity after 14 years to get its future back,” Starmer proclaimed.

Sunak, who retained his seat in Richmond, North Yorkshire, described the night as “sobering.”

In his concession, he stated, “The Labour Party has won this general election, and I have called Sir Keir Starmer to congratulate him on his victory. The British people have delivered a sobering verdict tonight; there is much to learn, and I take responsibility for the loss.”

Following his resignation speech, Sunak and his wife, Akshata, departed from Downing Street for Buckingham Palace to formally tender his resignation to King Charles III.

A spokesperson for the King confirmed, “His Majesty was graciously pleased to accept.”

Reflecting on his tenure, Sunak said, “I am honoured to have been your prime minister. This is the best country in the world.”

He also acknowledged the many Conservative MPs who lost their seats, stating, “It pains me to think how many good colleagues who contributed so much to their communities and our country will now no longer sit in the House of Commons. I thank them for their hard work and their service.”

As the Conservative Party faces a period of introspection and rebuilding, Sunak emphasized the importance of the party’s role in opposition.

“It is important that the Conservative Party now rebuilds and also takes up its crucial role in opposition, professionally and effectively,” he noted.

The leadership race within the Conservative Party is expected to commence shortly, as the party seeks to navigate its path forward after this significant electoral defeat.

For now, the UK braces for a new political era under Labour’s leadership, with the promise of significant changes on the horizon.

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