A Better Buffet Rule

A Better Buffet Rule

Apr 17
A Better Buffet Rule

At the time I’m writing this post, the “Buffet Rule” has just failed a key vote in the Senate.  For those not familiar, the “Buffet Rule” is named after billionaire Warren Buffet, who claimed that his secretary paid more in income tax than he did.  At the risk of waxing political, that’s ridiculous — the law is the law and everyone pays the same amount on the same amount of taxable income and the same amount on capital gains taxes.

Regardless, Buffet claims that the very wealthy should pay more in taxes.

In other words, Mr. Buffet is claiming that the very wealthy should be forced to give more of their money to the government rather than to refugees, or tornado victims, or tsunami victims, or the homeless, or the hungry, or orphans, or villages without clean drinking water, or any number of charities that benefit other people.  Instead, he’s calling on the government to take that money for itself.

However, before anyone gets too frustrated with Mr. Buffet, I need to add a very important fact.  Warren Buffet has joined with many other wealthy individuals in a pledge to give away half of their respective fortunes to charities.  His pledge is to give away 99% of his personal wealth to charities either during his lifetime or at his death.  You can read his pledge letter and that of several others including Bill and Melinda Gates at givingpledge.org 

At least, he’ll give away whatever is left after the government takes its cut.  The estate tax (or “death tax”) will take over one-third of it.  So unless he gives it all away before he dies, he’ll only be able to give away at most 65%.  Our Pharisees (the Bible word for the students of the Law — Jesus had some harsh words for them) need their cut so they can hand it back out and buy re-election.

You want to make a REAL impact, Mr. Buffet?  Rather than lobbying for taxes, start a movement so that anyone in an elected office cannot pass a law that gives money to anyone in any way.  Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, ANYTHING.  It should all come from friends and neighbors.  From generous people like Mr. Buffet.  From churches or charities.  Money should never come from people who depend on popularity in order to stay in power.

“When the people find that they can vote themselves money, it will herald the end of the republic.” — attributed to Benjamin Franklin (but no evidence exists to support that Franklin actually said this).

 

2 comments

  1. Todd

    Buffet has made a career of rent-seeking in DC. You can bet that if he wants more money sent to DC, it’s because he has already lobbied for or invested in a system or business that will funnel those dollars back into his own pocket. He is the poster-boy for the “crony” in crony capitalism.

  2. That had never crossed my mind, Todd. Another astute observation, as always. I’ve come to count on you to always keep me grounded and practical. Thank you, my friend.

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