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Everybody Relax, Warren Buffett’s Secretary Is Not Making Six Figures

Earlier we discussed how Warren Buffett's secretary and glory hog, Debbie Bosanek, has become a poster child for all of us that have effective tax rates higher than those of wealthy dudes like her boss and GOP Presidential cyborg Mitt Romney. This has caused a number of people to freak out and start wondering aloud how much this woman makes because JESUS, she's in the public eye now, so we MUST KNOW the exact figure on this woman's W-2. Lucky for us, Paul Roderick Gregory thought about this for what appears to be all of five minutes and came up with an answer:

The IRS publishes detailed tax tables by income level. The latest results are for 2009. They show that taxpayers earning an adjusted gross income between $100,000 and $200,000 pay an average rate of twelve percent. This is below Buffett’s rate; so she must earn more than that. Taxpayers earning adjusted gross incomes of $200,000 to $500,000, pay an average tax rate of nineteen percent. Therefore Buffett must pay Debbie Bosanke a salary above two hundred thousand.

Okay, holding the fucking phone. Anyone who believes that Debbie Bosanek is pulling between $200,000 to $500,000 needs to be locked up for their own protection because this level of lunacy is dangerous. Let's think about this for a minute. Warren Buffett is the one of the richest people on the planet. He didn't get that way paying administrative employees exorbitant salaries. He is notorious for being a cheapskate. At one time he had "Thrifty" on his fucking license plate for crying out loud (rumor has it that he got rid of the vanity plate because the prices went up). You really think he's paying the woman who answers his phone a six figure salary? But HEY! don't take my word for it. In the comments of PRG's post, Kashmir Hill settles it for everyone by linking to this report from the Unofficial Stanford Blog:

Mr Buffett said that he was taxed at 17.7 per cent on the $46 million he made last year, without trying to avoid paying higher taxes, while his secretary, who earned $60,000, was taxed at 30 per cent. Mr Buffett told his audience, which included John Mack, the chairman of Morgan Stanley, and Alan Patricof, the founder of the US branch of Apax Partners, that US government policy had accentuated a disparity of wealth that hurt the economy by stifling opportunity and motivation.

Now, Warren Buffett is a lot of things – old, rich, folksy, frisky in a way that makes us all uncomfortable – but he doesn't strike me as a liar. The Stanford post is from circa 2007 and conventional wisdom should tells me that Debbie Bosanke's salary DID NOT quadruple in two years. Again, Buffett is cheapskate. He is not giving people 100-200% raises. Shall we get back to funny videos now?

Warren Buffett's Secretary Likely Makes Between $200,000 And $500,000/Year [Forbes]