I’ve about had it up to here with the calls from the left for higher taxes “on the rich”.
The one person among all the others who is least qualified to caterwaul about raising taxes is Warren Buffett. And not merely because Buffett is rich and takes every deduction he can find. I do not begrudge him that; however, if he’s going to cut corners to get his tax rate as low as he can legally get it, what grounds does he have to demand other people pay more? There’s a level of hypocrisy that stinks to the hilt here.
While Buffett does everything he can to give as little of his own money to the government, he publicly lobbies the government to force other people to pay more. Any coward can lobby the government to raise other people’s taxes. The worse part about all of this is that Buffett actually stands to gain if taxes go up, specifically income taxes and death taxes. How?
I’m so glad you asked. Let’s start with the death tax.
What generally happens with the death tax is that when the owner of a business or a property dies, the federal government currently gets 35% on property valued over $5.12 million. If nothing changes, on January 1, the government will get 55% on property valued over $1 million. How does this benefit Warren Buffett?
Notice that the tax is levied on property and not income. What this means is that you may not have money needed to pay the tax, so the way that you have to come up with it is to sell your property (Side note: Most new businesses fail in one generation because of the inability to pay the death tax). And in a lot of cases, who is there to buy this property on the cheap? That’s right, folks, Warren Buffett. As Dick Patten, executive director of the American Family Business Institute writes of Buffett:
“In the process of building his company, Berkshire Hathaway, Mr. Buffett benefited tremendously from death tax. In fact, the tax is critical to two of the three legs that make up Mr. Buffett’s financial stool.”
So Buffett has amassed his wealth in large part because the federal government makes it possible for him to benefit when people who are far less wealthy than him get a raw deal. And now, Buffett wants that rate to go higher. So please be aware that Buffett is not pushing for higher taxes because he thinks that the government needs the revenue or because of fairness. It’s what typically occurs with the left: using the government to steal other people’s money and undercut their success so they can personally profit from it.
There’s nothing altruistic about what he’s doing here, it’s crooked, it’s deceitful, it’s crony capitalism, and it’s par for the course with a leftie like Buffett.
The other point to make here is Buffett’s love affair with income tax increases is also sinister. Anyone who knows anything about Buffett knows that he doesn’t pay income taxes because he pays himself in dividends. This means that he’s not paying the 35% income tax rate, he’s paying the 15% capital gains rate. So once again, Buffett is pushing the government to take more of other people’s money. Meanwhile, he gets to run around and pretend to be the compassionate person who cares about lower and middle income people.
Sadly, people fall for this ruse and then Obama gets to run around and cite Buffett in his insidious war on people with higher incomes. For Obama, it’s his resentment of people who work for a living; for Buffett, it’s his love affair with using government as an apparatchik to enrich himself at the expense of others. Look at his record–he’s done it quite well.
If Buffett wants to be taken seriously, he should propose a tax on wealth, something he has a lot of and it would actually hit him. But that would take integrity and guts, two things that are in short supply on the left.