Monday, August 15, 2011

Warren Buffet is a Hypocrite

Warren Buffet, the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, one of the world's richest men, the so-called "Oracle of Omaha" for his investing prowess, made the news today by writing in the NY Times that super rich people should be taxed more and that he pays a lower tax rate than the staff that works with him.  
"Last year my federal tax bill — the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf — was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income — and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent." 
It shouldn't take you long to realize he's talking about a taxable income of $39.88 million, and whether or not 17.4% meets some arbitrary definition of "fair" is not something I care about.  I just want to point out a couple of facts.

First off, anyone at anytime can send as much money as they want to the US treasury through Treasury Direct and they will gladly cash the check. 

Second, note that his taxable income is very different from how much wealth he gained this year. 
According to Forbes, Mr. Buffett’s net worth went up by $3,000,000,000 over the last year.  If he had to realize those gains, even at 17.4%, he would have had to pay $522,000,000.
Whats the matter, Warren?  Cat got your balls?  Why don't you just mail in that $522 million?  No one is stopping you.  Not enough?  You can send in the whole thing.

And speaking of paying less in taxes than he could, he's actively sheltering his money from taxes by pledging almost his entire estate to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Now I am completely down with tax deductions for charitable giving, and it's way better in my mind for private citizens to donate to private charities than to pay it to the wildly incompetent in taxes, but I'm not the one writing in the paper that folks need to pay more taxes! 

Doesn't it just frost you how guys like this want someone else to pay more money, but when there's a valid argument they could pay more, they're not exactly breaking down the treasury doors to give their own money?

So which is it, Mr. Buffet?  You're saying rich people should pay more taxes, but you do your best to not pay them yourself.  Do you think other people shouldn't get the tax shelters you do?  

Before you go thinking "The Oracle of Omaha" is some sort of financial genius and must be right about this stuff, remember that just a few weeks ago he was saying the debt ceiling should be eliminated because it's such a distraction.
“All it does is slow down a process and divert people’s energy, causes people to posture. It doesn’t really make any sense,”
Look, I don't care how much Warren Buffet makes and I don't care how much tax he pays.  I don't even really care about how much the CEO of my company makes and it's arguable that might affect me somehow.  I just think it's a futile gesture to tax anyone at more than the existing rates as long as the current spending addicts are in control.  It's like asking the crack addict to cut back while giving them more crack. 

Actually, I think we should tax the poor - although that would go over like a turd in a punchbowl.  I think a fundamental problem in our country is that we are perilously close to that point where enough people don't pay taxes that they can vote for the complete confiscation of the other half's wealth. If everyone gets to enjoy the experience of paying tax, then everyone has some skin in the game of keeping the country intact. 


  1. You're right, SG. We _should_ tax the poor, even if it is only $1. Everyone should have some skin in the game.

    I've tried telling a young former co-worker (RN at the VA in Roseburg) that his concern for the "poor" (which in this country are the wealthiest "poor" in the world, with refrigerators, cell phones, TVs, iPods, Xboxes, and many of whom can still afford to smoke $6 a pack cigarettes and drink beer while they cry poverty) is fine, but those who want to give them money need to do it voluntarily, not take it by force from the rest of us. He doesn't get it.

    If all the liberals would put their money where their mouths are and volunteer to pay higher taxes, volunteer to pay a percentage of their income to support the "poor", would take in all the homeless and give them a room or at least some floor space in their homes and feed them, that would suit me fine.

    But they never do. They want the _rest_ of us to pay higher taxes, fund the entitled, and uplift those who aren't willing to expend any effort on their own behalf. They are all hypocrites, especially Obama, Soros, Buffet, Pelosi, Reid, and the rest, ad nauseam.

    As has been posted before, conservatives donate and provide more for the downtrodden than any of the liberals. And that includes the guys with the big bucks. Like Kerry (with the Heinz family fortune in addition to his own), who votes for higher taxes on yachts, and then tries to skip paying his taxes by pretending his yacht is in a different state. Scum, one and all.

  2. Wait a second there Warren...

    Why, with all your money, do you not pay your people enough that they can pay low taxes like you do? Or at least offer them the services of your fleet of lawyers to find all the breaks that you get?

    Redistribute your own swill before you start "volunteering" others - you stinking hypocrite.

  3. Um... We don't tax wealth via the income tax. We tax incomes. Income is not wealth.