February 25, 2019 / 2:43 PM / 23 days ago

UPDATE 1-Buffett says wealthy Americans are 'definitely undertaxed'

(Adds quotes on Bloomberg, Schultz)

By Jonathan Stempel and Jennifer Ablan

Feb 25 (Reuters) - Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said on Monday that wealthy Americans, including himself, are not paying enough taxes.

"The wealthy are definitely undertaxed relative to the general population," Buffett, chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Inc , told CNBC television on Monday.

"As we get more specialized, the rich will get richer," he continued. "The question is: 'How do you take care of a guy who is a wonderful citizen whose father died in Normandy and just doesn't have market skills?' I think the income tax credit is the best way to address that."

"That probably means more taxes for guys like me, and I'm fine with it," he said.

Buffett, 88, spoke after Charlie Munger, his 95-year-old business partner and Berkshire vice chairman, told CNBC earlier this month that states like California and Connecticut have been "stupid" for driving rich people away.

After the Democrats regained control of the House of Representatives in the 2018 midterm elections, some the party's lawmakers have been calling for higher taxes on the wealthy.

They include Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a representative from New York City, who has proposed a 70 percent marginal tax on incomes over $10 million to bridge the growing wealth gap between the rich and poor.

Buffett said he's not a "card-carrying Democrat but I never have been" but had voted for more Democrats than Republicans over the last 30 years.

He said he would support fellow billionaire and former three-term New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for president.

Bloomberg is running as a Democrat, after being elected mayor as a Republican and as an independent.

"If Mike Bloomberg announced tomorrow that he's a candidate, I'd say I'm for him. I think he'd be a very good president," Buffett said.

"He and I disagree on some things ... but I think he knows how to run things," he added. "He's got the right goals for America. He understands people. He understands the market system. And he understands the problems of people" not involved in the market.

Buffett feels different about another billionaire mulling a White House run, Starbucks Corp founder Howard Schultz, saying his running for president as an independent could help Donald Trump, a Republican, win a second term.

"If he ran as an independent, I think he would take votes away from any Democrat, including Bloomberg if he were running," Buffett said. “I think it would be a real mistake for him to run." (Reporting By Jennifer Ablan and Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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