BOSTON (Reuters) - Warren Buffett is willing to put his money where his mouth is, if only congressional Republicans would join him.
The billionaire investor, in the new issue of Time magazine, says he will donate $1 to paying down the national debt for every dollar donated by a Republican in Congress. The only exception is Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell - for whom Buffett said he would go $3-to-$1.
The idea stems from a New York Times opinion piece Buffett wrote last August in which he said the rich ought to pay more taxes. It sparked an instant controversy, with some Washington conservatives calling on the 81-year-old "Oracle of Omaha" to voluntarily pay extra.
"It restores my faith in human nature to think that there are people who have been around Washington all this time and are not yet so cynical as to think that can't be solved by voluntary contributions," the Berkshire Hathaway CEO told Time for an article hitting newsstands on Friday.
He went on to tell the magazine that what the country needed was a system that favored people who were not born investors.
"We need a tax system that takes very good care of people who just really aren't as well adapted to the market system, and to capitalism, but are nevertheless just as good citizens, and are doing things that are of use in society," he said.
Buffett, who has raised money for President Barack Obama recently, takes swings at Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich in the Time interview as well, criticizing Gingrich's track record and Romney's ties to the private equity business.
(Reporting By Ben Berkowitz; editing by Andre Grenon)