Economics

Stop Coddling Warren Buffett

The billionaire investor should put his money where his mouth is.

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The CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett, who is one of the richest men in America, does so many interviews as part of his campaign to raise taxes on his competitors that it's hard to keep track of them all.

Just last week, for example, he talked to the Fox Business Network, The New York Times, Bloomberg News, and Charlie Rose. All, basically, to push a tax increase that Mr. Buffett has been flogging since at least 2007, and which he has been advancing this year since his August 15 New York Times op-ed piece that appeared under the headline "Stop Coddling the Super-Rich."

Even old stories, though, sometimes have new developments. The one here comes thanks to Bloomberg Television's Betty Liu, who pressed Mr. Buffett not once but twice on a question that has occurred to a lot of people: If Mr. Buffett thinks he should be paying more in taxes, why doesn't he just write a check to the federal government?

First she phrased her question as a repetition of a challenge to Mr. Buffett by CNN founder Ted Turner. She asked, "If you want to do that, why not just write a check to the government?"

He replied, "If something is good policy, it should be enacted as policy."

Then Ms. Liu followed up: "But Warren, have you ever thought, being that you are a large proponent of this, why not, why not I write a check to the government, for you know, several billion dollars, just to prove that I can, or to underscore a point?"

Mr. Buffett replied, "I would say this, if there would be a group of ultra-rich people, you know, your boss Mike Bloomberg, Dow Jones's boss Rupert Murdoch, if they want to take that on as a program, I'll join with them."

Great. So Mr. Buffett, put on the spot, has volunteered as a follower to write a check to the government for "several billion dollars" — but only if at least some of his peers do the same thing.

The comparison to Mr. Buffett's behavior when it comes to charitable giving is instructive. There, too, Mr. Buffett did not make the first leap. First Bill and Melinda Gates pledged their fortune to their foundation; only later did Mr. Buffett add his.  And then Mr. Buffett promptly set out on a "giving pledge" campaign to make sure that his peers promised to give away their money, too.

When it comes to writing an extra check to the government, though, Mr. Buffett is, like the president whose campaign he has been fundraising for, leading from behind. Why doesn't Mr. Buffett go around soliciting donations for the government the way he does for his "giving pledge"? The reason may be that he doesn't want the contributions to be voluntary. Only the government, not some optional or choice-based campaign, has the power to force his competitors in business and in wealth accumulation to contribute alongside him, so that his position relative to them won't be worsened.

In invoking Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Murdoch, Mr. Buffett also broadened his list of potential targets. In the same Bloomberg interview, he had said that his proposed tax would not apply to CEOs or professional athletes, but that it would hit, "People who make money with money only…. People who shuffle money around all day." Neither Mr. Murdoch nor Mr. Bloomberg fits that description, one with an ugly history in keeping with what has been called "The Long Shadow of Usury."

Ms. Liu deserves some credit for being a rare interviewer of Mr. Buffett who, rather than simply fawning, challenges him. Other journalists sought out by Mr. Buffett would do their profession and the country a favor by following suit. Some possible follow-ups for next time: "What's your justification for making your tax apply only to "people who shuffle money around all day" but not to athletes or CEOs? Would it apply to CEOs of banks, insurance companies, or other publicly traded financial firms? Are there any other precedents for taxing income differentially by occupation rather than by source? Is that something we want to encourage in the tax code? Wouldn't it just make things more complex?

And, Mr. Buffett, if you feel undertaxed, why don't you lead the effort to get a group of "ultra-rich" to write voluntary multi-billion-dollar checks to the government, rather than waiting for others to do it first? And if you feel undertaxed, why focus your tax increase on your taxable income, which is relatively small, as opposed to on your unrealized capital gains or the assets of your (and the Gates's) charitable foundation, which are relatively large?

Stop coddling the super-rich, sure. But the place for the "coddling" of Mr. Buffett to stop isn't the tax code, but the press corps. Ms. Liu's questions were a good start, but there's plenty of room for more.

Ira Stoll is editor of FutureOfCapitalism.com and author of Samuel Adams: A Life.

NEXT: Bloomberg: Paternalism Is 'Government's Highest Duty'

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  1. Buffett is that most annoying of socialists: The hypocritical, hand-waiving, Old Europe kind. (“Capitalism for me, but not for thee.”)

    My response to Buffett is, “Fuck off.”

    1. I totally agree. I mean, how much more hypocritical can you get? If you really have a problem with your own bank account being so large, give it away! There are many charities that would be happy to take it off your hands.

      The idea that we can fix all our problems by taxing the wealthy is a pipe-dream in the worst sense. Read more about the Fallacy of Taxing the Wealthy.

    2. I’d like a reporter to ask him why he’s fight the IRS over the tax bill they say he owes now.

      Fuck him.

    3. Exactly. This is just another crony capitalist.

      1. All capitalists are cronies. So what?

    4. It’s getting to the point now where I’m kind of starting to wish that he would just die.

      1. ‘It’s getting to the point now where I’m kind of starting to wish that he would just die.’

        Libertarians are such sweet, civil people!

    5. ‘My response to Buffett is, “Fuck off.”‘

      Libertarians are such sweet, civil people!

      1. Fuck off, Gene. What do you know about Libertarians?

      2. This is a vulgar topic. Vulgarity is required.

  2. Ive said before, but my Buffett tax would be a one time WEALTH tax of 90% on anyone with total assets greater than $40B.

    That hits two people, Gates and Buffett.

    Buffett would still have about $4.5B after the tax.

    1. He doesn’t need billions. An old guy like that? Maybe a stipend of $2,000/month. With a 1.5% cost-of-living increase each year.

      Fuck it, take it all. That’s how he wants the rest of us to be treated. Got mine, fuck you.

      1. + 2,000/month

      2. I am just amazed that someone with billions of dollars would chose to live in Omaha.

        1. Omaha’s great. Other than three months in the winter.

          1. Are there beaches?

            1. There were, before the Missouri “flooded.”

          2. When you have millions of dollars….not to mention billions….Omaha sucks!

        2. Cause he can’t be the “Sage of Hollywood”

          1. Anyone think he is a prop? I mean did anyone see his hair in the Betty Liu interview? It was INTENTIONALLY messed up.

    2. I like this. But because a simple tax like that would never fly in the tax code, we need some exceptions, loopholes, and deductions. Hmmm…

      I know, let’s add the “Bill Gates exception”! This way it feels like a real tax, and only hits the one bastard who’s not big enough to actually give his money away.

  3. First she phrased her question as a repetition of a challenge to Mr. Buffett by CNN founder Ted Turner. She asked, “If you want to do that, why not just write a check to the government?”

    He replied, “If something is good policy, it should be enacted as policy.”

    “If bathing is good policy, it should be enacted as policy.”
    “If having an orgasm is good policy, it should be enacted as policy.”
    “If crying during romantic movies is good policy, it should be enacted as policy.”

    I am sure Mr. Buffett was simply evading the interviewer – I mean, nobody can be that simpleminded… right, Tony???

    1. I think that evading the interviewer is good policy. I mean, politicians do it all the time, so why not? Ehh, eh?

      1. But… should evasion be enacted?

        Ahh, there lies the question!

        1. Well, we’ve enacted invasion, so evasion isn’t too far from the mark.

          But seriously, if the government can stick it’s velvet hand where it doesn’t belong without getting in trouble, it’s going to stick its hand in there and muck about with stuff. In this case, not only is Warren Buffett not complaining about a government incursion, he’s encouraging it! Sad times these are when powerful men like Buffett take the side of government over the side of its citizens.

    2. “I mean, nobody can be that simpleminded…”
      He lives in Omaha.

      1. I’m not sure what this has to do with anything, other than showing how simpleminded your are by assuming a person’s home town has anything to do with how intelligent they are.

        1. “I’m not sure what this has to do with anything, other than showing how simpleminded your are by assuming a person’s home town has anything to do with how intelligent they are.”
          Very good! Simple minded is two words and what the fuck does “your are…” mean?
          The point is… not that a dolt like you would understand…..if you could live anywhere, why would you chose Omaha?

          1. I’m sorry my spelling offended you.

            As far as your argument is concerned, I could apply it to any country, state, or city. You provide no substance, only an assertion of fact.

            Since you asked, I’ll give you a few reasons to live in Omaha:

            1) You may have family there, so you want to be closer to your family.

            2) You grew up in Nebraska, so you want to be closer to your childhood home.

            3) You like the tax and regulatory structure of the state and city.

            4) You’re an outdoorsy kind of person, and Omaha provides you that right mix of city living and wilderness living.

            5) You like the Midwestern charm, but you want to live in a big city.

            6) Your favorite BBQ stand is in Omaha, and you just can’t get enough of it.

            I could keep going if you like. The point is that people of sound mind and body can choose to live in Omaha. It’s like how people of sound mind and body choose to live in the middle-of-nowhere Alaska. Your preconceptions about the “redneck class” have you believing that Omaha, and probably every other city in the Midwest, are full of hicks and backwards people. I encourage you to actually visit Omaha, or any other of the “hick-infested, backwards” places, and see for yourself what real culture, recreation, and worthwhile living they offer.

            By now you think that I’m some kind of Buffett shill because I’m defending his decision to live in Omaha. However, I really could care less where he lives, and I’m far from a Buffett shill. I think his tax plan is ludicrous, unenforceable, and dangerous for economic growth. But unreasonable people can make reasonable decisions, like how reasonable people can make unreasonable decisions. By blindly attacking everything Buffett does, reasonable or unreasonable, we lose our power to affect change. When our attacks make us seem like emotionally charged zealots bend on the destruction of an individual, no one will listen to us, and those attacks become worthless.

            Lastly, simpleminded is indeed one word. There was no need to go off belittling me and calling me names over what amounts to one extra letter.

            1. Simple minded is spelled three ways, yes simpleminded, but also simpled-minded and simpled minded.
              “You like the Midwestern charm, but you want to live in a big city.”
              Omaha is not a big city, it is a mid size city.
              ” You’re an outdoorsy kind of person, and Omaha provides you that right mix of city living and wilderness living.”
              Wilderness living??? Around Omaha?
              There are many other areas that fill that bill better.
              My opinion is Buffet is not too bright….being a billionaire and living in Omaha…you disagree!

              1. “Lastly, simpleminded is indeed one word. There was no need to go off belittling me and calling me names over what amounts to one extra letter.”
                You have got to be one of those touchy-feely libs. Calling me simpleminded then crying about my response!

                1. You have got to be one of those touchy-feel libs

                  I have not laughed so hard in a long time. Thank you for that. You’re more then welcome to read my blog and make over-arching generalizations about me then.

                  And I wasn’t crying about your response. I was simply pointing out that calling me names and belittling me is (1) completely unnecessary, and (2) useless for constructive debate.

                  Also, for your edification, Omaha is the 42nd largest city in the US. Larger than cities like New Orleans, Cleavland, Minneapolis, Honolulu, and St. Louis, and within a few thousand people of Atlanta. Also, Omaha has a number of parks, trails, and hiking. Wilderness does not just mean mountains and trees.

                  As for liking Omaha, I don’t expect everyone to like Omaha. And I don’t expect everyone to like Buffett (I sure as hell don’t!). But to judge a city you’ve obviously never been to, and then assume that wanting to live in that city says something negative about that person is simpleminded.

                  I mean, I grew up in rural Oregon, and am one of the most vocal and die-hard conservative libertarians I know, but yet I choose to live in San Francisco. Why? It’s not because I’m a hippie, or because I like the people. It’s entirely because I like the weather. Without knowing someone’s reasons for choosing to live somewhere, you do both yourself and them a disservice by jumping to conclusions.

                  Would I choose to live in Omaha? No. It gets too hot in the summer and I don’t want that much snow in the winter. But my reasons for liking or disliking Omaha have absolutely nothing to do with my someone else my like or dislike Omaha.

                  Lastly, Warren Buffett was born in Omaha and worked most of his adult life there. In fact, he bought the house he currently lives in in the 1950s. Does wanting to live in your childhood city make you simpleminded? Or, more likely, is frugality the mark of a shallow man? I say no to both accounts, though we may have to agree to disagree.

      2. I’d be willing to bet that a random sample of Omahans compared to similar samples of other American cities would reveal Omahans to easily be in the top fifth in culture, intellect, and physical appearance.

        1. Throw me a joint on stage, what’s up!

        2. NB…the state for people who thought IL wasn’t flat and boring enough…

          1. NE is the abbreviation for Nebraska, not NB

    3. “If bathing is good policy, it should be enacted as policy.”

      Talk about simple-minded! Buffet obviously meant if it was a good PUBLIC policy.

      1. Oh, Gene, Gene, Gene……

        I think you missed the point. Not everything that is a good idea should become a public policy.

      2. “Not every human problem deserves a law.”
        –CA Governor Jerry Brown

      3. If masterbation is good it should be enacted as policy…all democrats should jerk off until the die

  4. Someone recently stated that 100 million dollars is the maximum any person is allowed to have, which means that Buffet needs to hand over 40 billion and stop being so incredibly greedy.

    1. who gets to decide how much someone “is allowed to have” and if you can apply that calculus to money, how long before similar pronouncements are made on cars, the size of homes, number of homes, the amount of food in one’s refrigerator.

      Buffett’s not being greedy; he’s counting on people being stupid with that canard about his tax rate vs. his secretary’s. Perhaps he could start by having Berkshire-Hathaway settle its bill with the IRS.

      1. I was being sarcastic, I think the person who mentioned the 100 million limit was Roseane Barr.

        1. Roseann Barr indeed did say that.

          1. I was making a pun off of his name. It was not a comment on the veracity of his statement.

        2. If Barr did say it it makes sense. A quick google search of her net worth puts her in the 70-80M range. Like most people to her too much money is just a wee bit more than she has.

      2. I believe “someone” already has told you how many houses you can have. If I remember correctly its 4 and its in the Dodd Frank bill.

      3. “Perhaps he could start by having Berkshire-Hathaway settle its bill with the IRS.”

        Berkshire-Hathaway is a publicly owned company. It is Buffet’s fiduciary responsibility to his shareholders to keep its tax bill as low as possible. That has nothing to do with his personal taxes.

    2. That was me. They should cut off his head!

      1. or his dick, if they can find it…or her dick…

  5. Notice also that Buffett’s philanthropy did NOT go to the government. He is spending it through an organization which actually tracks results rather than sentiment.
    Further, his company seems to have problems paying what it currently owes:
    “We anticipate that we will resolve all adjustments proposed by the US Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) for the 2002 through 2004 tax years ? within the next 12 months,” the firm’s annual report says.
    It also cites outstanding tax issues for 2005 through 2009.”
    http://www.westernjournalism.c…..k-to-2002/

    1. Hah, that tells me that ol’ Buffet is in the midst of a shakedown. He’s stumping for The One’s tax plan to get the IRS off his own ass.

    2. And his charitable trusts employ his children.

  6. Warren Buffett and Bill Maher are just like me. They don’t want to pay more taxes. The difference is I’m honest about it.

  7. Buffett is sucking up to the left so that they don’t vilify him. He proposes incredibly hypocritical taxation which would barely affect him and they eat that shit up and not just leave him alone, but praise him to the skies. It’s like BP changing its logo to green and then spilling into the Gulf. It’s all image control for people who are too stupid to understand it’s just image control.

    1. You look like Matthew Broderick

      1. Did you buy a 4G wireless hotspot, rectal? How much is that per month?

        1. No, but I stayed at a Holiday Inn. Rectal.

  8. Someone should ask Buffet why he refuses to do “the right thing” unless other people do first.

    Isn’t he just proclaiming himself a corporate predator who refuses to do what he himself claims is necessary and proper?

  9. Looks like Mr. Buffet is in dire need of a stroke.

    1. This is the first real LOL I’ve had in days. Thank you good sir!

  10. The more fascinating aspect of all of this is how some liberals immediately jumped into the Argument from Authority bandwagon and say that taxing the rich more than today is good policy because, after all, Warren Buffett agrees.

    The nagging issue with all this ass-kissing festival is the fact that Buffett does not pay less taxes than his secretary, as most of his money is in Berkshire Hathaway, which is already taxed. Buffett receives capital gains from his investment for which he is taxed YET AGAIN. So what he is claiming simply is not true.

    Besides, if Buffett was so worried about how much his secretary makes, he can simply raise her salary.

    1. both cuban & gates have endorsed buffett along w an alledged petition signed by multi-millionaires. >a return to the clinton tax rate is no biggie to most americans

      1. “both cuban & gates have endorsed buffett along w an alledged petition signed by multi-millionaires.”
        My dog signed a petition agreeing that you’re a brain-dead dipshit.

        “>a return to the clinton tax rate is no biggie to most americans”
        No one’s stopping you from paying 100% of your money.
        Let us know when you do.

        1. the clinton tax upper tax rate was 4% higher than now. so ur dogg pays taxes? otherwise he’s not relevant

      2. Re: o2,

        a return to the clinton tax rate is no biggie to most americans

        You mean those Americans that are the direct result of the Amerikan Pulbic Skool Seistem that taught them to reed and wriat? THOSE Americans?

        I pity the fool.

        1. nah, im talking the 2/3ds of americans who support the return to the clinton tax rates

          1. And what’s the point? Should we go back to the inflated tech bubble that propped up 7/8 Clinton years and then burst the feigned prosperity into oblivion? Understanding the source of prosperity is necessary before making such statements.

          2. Citation needed

      3. As long as we return to Clinton levels of spending at the same time…(preferably in real dollar not inflation adjusted)

      4. Tell you what–we’ll agree to Clinton era levels of taxation if you’ll agree to Clinton-era levels of spending. The increased revenue from that level of taxation (the most common figure I hear is $400bn/yr) won’t even cover a quarter of the deficit, yet the left complains that people would be dying in the streets if we returned to 1990’s levels with the federal budget.

        1. yep, lets end the [WARZ].

          1. This is typical of those who don’t understand libertarians. They assume they are talking ot conservatives. Let’s end the wars and the social state. However, bankers support both, so probably not gonna happen. I love how leftists don’t even understand that their system is supported by the super rich, because it collects interest payments the fastest (sovereign debt crises the world over) and because it kills their competition (expensive regulations destroying smaller businesses). Talk about useful idiots.

  11. Yeah, not to mention sevo’s point.

    The guy refuses to pay even what taxes he already has long owed. Filthy corporate profiteers should stop running their filthy mouths.

  12. My understanding is that the “Buffet rule” he proposes is an attempt at fairness. It’s not fair that mega-rich pay the same tax rate as the middle class.

    I agree completely! Let’s lower taxes on the middle class. What? This whole discussion is just an excuse to levy new taxes on the middle class? Damn

    1. Exactly! That’s what I’ve been saying. It’s not that the rich are paying too little, it’s that the Middle Class are paying too fucking much.

    2. It’s like the whole business with Obama and the corporate gains tax. Even though lowering it has been shown to increase government revenue, he says we should increase it “because of fairness.” Say what?!

  13. I still say he’s just arguing for a Fair Tax.

    CB

  14. What I find interesting, is the $5 billion of preferred he bought from Bank of Amerrillwide with 7% guaranteed, and later that week, Freddie Mac bought half a billion of toxic sludge from BAC with taxpayer funds from the Treasury, of course.

  15. It’s worth noting that Buffett’s tax proposal applies to income rather than wealth.

    In his case, his 2010 income was around $40 million (self-reported $6,938,744 tax bill allegedly at 17.4% of income). His net worth is around $39 billion.

    I don’t know any other people whose personal wealth is three orders of magnitude larger than their annual income, but I’d argue that people in such a situation might have a bit of a bias toward supporting higher taxes on income rather than wealth.

    Even if Buffett’s tax bill was increased to 40% of his income ($16 million), that would still only amount to 0.04% of his wealth. I wonder what his secretary’s tax rate is as a percentage of her wealth?

    1. +1

      Reminds of the douche last week who asked Obama to “please raise my taxes”. Turns out he’s retired off Google stock and has no income. Hmmmmm

    2. One of the biggest problems with “wealth” is that frequently I see it defined as “total net worth minus the cost of your primary home.” For a man worth multiple billions, a home is meaningless. For an average person, the home is the most important purchase. This means that, in this calculation of wealth, we can artificially depress the wealth of the middle class to vilify just how “wealthy” the upper class is.

      It’s like Mark Twain was fond of saying: there’s lie, damned lies, and then statistics.

  16. Buffet sounds like one of those old school Fabian socialists, you know, the ones that think they’re destined to control the lower masses by creating a society where no one is upwardly mobile and they sit on top with their old money.

    1. I doubt Buffet really is a Fabian. I feel this is half done out of real fear for the left wingers in case they get nasty and this protects him. The other half is done as simple political capital, this buys him huge credibility for many politicians and directs easy business towards his way.

      1. At this point, Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway is so large the only way it can grow is through currying favor with the political class. His major holdings are insurance companies and railroads, both businesses that have longstanding needs to engage in regulatory capture. Making kissy noises about not getting taxed enough is a way for him to buy some love from the current administration, and let’s face it, nearly any other conceivable one thereafter.

  17. You mean THE Warren Buffet. The guy who made billions off of the bailouts and the current bloated system. If there is any one person who has benefited from this current leviathan, then it is Warren Buffet.

    1. You see, all this shilling is payback to Obama for all the money the government has sent to Buffett’s coffers.

  18. Nobody is talking about charity but you guys.

    Saying he should donate it is a glib and tired way to avoid the issue that capital is taxed less than labor, a fundamental injustice.

    1. “capital is taxed less than labor, a fundamental injustice.”

      Can you explain why? (Please include a discussion of why some labor is taxed differently than other labor) (hint: FICA vs. contract work). Please also include discussion of why OTHER things besides capital and labor are taxed and if the way they are taxed is an “injustice”.

      1. “capital is taxed less than labor, a fundamental injustice.”

        In large part, of course, to ameliorate the effect of inflation.

        If I buy stock at $100, inflation runs 10% a year, and I sell it a year later at $108, why should I be taxed when I’ve actually lost on the deal?

        1. Re: R C Dean,

          If I buy stock at $100, inflation runs 10% a year, and I sell it a year later at $108, why should I be taxed when I’ve actually lost on the deal?

          Because you would have to be a hated, filthy rich person to buy stock at $100 in the first place, so you deserve to be taxed!

          At least, that would be the infantile non sequitur from the resident infant sockpuppet.

          1. The discounting or total ignoring of inflation in such calculations is flat out evil.

        2. Inflation isn’t exactly a good thing for wage earners either.

          1. The wages I earned today with the withholding that took place today are not subject to any inflation.

          2. Then why do you slavishly support the Fed?

      2. And, of course, I don’t think Uncle Warren is pushing for a higher capital gains tax, in any event.

        Which makes Tony’s pre-digested sound bite so much non-sequitur.

        1. That’s what this is all about.

      3. “capital is taxed less than labor, a fundamental injustice.”

        Except it’s NOT taxed less than labor.

        It’s taxed twice, so you have to add the corporate level taxes to the individual level taxes to get the actual tax rate on investment income.

        The stockholders, after all, own all the assets of the corporation. That means they own the cash that the corporation uses to pay corporate taxes and there that counts as the stockholders paying those taxes every bit as much as if they had written the check for it themselves.

        Buffet’s real tax rate on investment income it corporate taxes per share multiplied by the number of shares he owns for each investment added to the indidivual level taxes he paid on dividends and capital gains and divide that total by the investment income total on his tax return.

        1. Everything is taxed a thousand times over. I am taxed on my income. Then I pay a sales tax when I spend it. And a gas tax when I spend it on gas. If I use my income to buy a house, I pay a property tax, year after year.

          Multiple taxation is co-extensive with taxation itself. It’s true that it exists, and it signifies approximately nothing whatsoever.

          1. It’s true that it exists, and it signifies approximately nothing whatsoever.

            I was with you till the end. What it signifies, is that a government which practices fractional slavery (i.e. taxing labor) is a ravenous beast which will never be sated. It is a cancer. It will continue to consume it’s host until the host is destroyed, with no logic or feeling.

            1. +1 on the fractional slavery…

        2. Is labor taxed twice? The corporate income went to pay salaries, didn’t it?

          1. Labor is not taxed twice (unless it is greater nthan $1 million for any entity). The corporation gets to deduct wages paid to employees. They do not get to deduct dividend or the increase in stock price (which is due to afte-tax income).

        3. Damn, above post beat me to it and did a much better job.

    2. Re: The really stoopid, clueless sockpuppet,

      Saying he should donate it is a glib and tired way to avoid the issue that capital is taxed less than labor, a fundamental injustice.

      The fundamental injustice is that both are taxed at all. Only immoral thieves believe they deserve the production that belongs to someone else, without any effort from their part.

      At least the regular kind of thief is less spineless than the socialist kind: those take risks, whereas spineless, wussy thieves prefer to have the government do the thievering for them.

      Wuss.

    3. Why would you tax capital? It’s the source of income! Do you want less income?

      1. Exactly. Here we have another example of some BS about how labor is just as important to wealth creation as capital. Umm, no. We can thank our friends in the USSR for a great anecdote about how labor, in fact, does nothing to increase wealth.

        If I could do a job with a computer, or a robot, instead of a human, why would I pay a human? The truth is that, through the inventive process that creates wealth, capital is slowly replacing labor for manufacturing tasks, and to a certain extent for white-collar work as well. There is simply no use for labor without capital.

        1. labor, in fact, does nothing to increase wealth

          Oh dear. There goes that “mixing labor with the land” property rights bullshit that is the excuse for monopolizing land.

          1. Could you name any other system of property? Do you negate property rights? If so, what gives gov’t a superior claim to the property? If an individual has no claim to property, then an organized mob of individuals also does not.

  19. The only coddled billionaires Reason somehow can’t seem to get around to reporting on are David and Charles Koch, major donors to the Reason Foundation.

    For example: did you know that in addition to paying for Nick Gillespie’s jacket, the Kochs sold petrochemical gear to the terrorist-sponsoring government of Iran?

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/…..sales.html

    I guess to the Kochs, some totalitarian governments are okay: e.g. the ones that pay their foreign subsidiaries (or their Daddy in the 1930s) in cash.

    Ha ha.

    1. If I want to trade with Iran, then it’s my fucking business. Fuck the U.S. government and their watch lists.

    2. Re: Orel Hazard,

      For example: did you know that in addition to paying for Nick Gillespie’s jacket, the Kochs sold petrochemical gear to the terrorist-sponsoring government of Iran?

      2 persons that sold something that belongs to them to people that have not attacked this country, for money???

      Oh, my God! The Earth trembles! The skies open and lava drops on humanity! Orel Hazard’s false outrage has dropped a pox on us all!!!

      Fuck you, OH.

      1. Well, I’ll give you this much, OM:

        You managed to get through an entire post without talking about guns.

        That’s a form of progress, I guess.

        In the meantime, I totally agree with Stoll’s article’s premise. Let’s coddle fewer billionaires, absolutely.

        Starting with the ones who pay to keep the lights on around here for you anti-democracy, anti-American creeps to run your mouths.

        Reason should sever ties with the Kochs. Go it alone – entrepreneur-style.

        I mean, seriously, doesn’t anybody else think it’s time for Reason to finally, you know, join the free market and adopt a web subscription model? Finally get itself off the teat of totalitarian government money?

        Because, really, it looks more and more like this place is just a platform for petrochemical industry propaganda flimsily dressed up in panties that have “Liberty” printed on the ass.

        I’m just saying this whole “free minds, free markets” gag would hold a whole lot more water if it wasn’t funded by Islamic fundamentalists and Josef Stalin.

        1. Why do brain-dead assholes *always* project?:
          “you anti-democracy, anti-American creeps”

          1. Orel is a lost cause, like so many of his fellow travelers.

            1. I’d say about 80% of the world is like that. Heinlein was correct. Freedom appears to be a lost cause once new frontiers are closed to new expansion.

              That 80% of people are perfectly happy to bend over and take it, as long as you apply the thin lube of “free stuff” and let them feel superior by being able to tell their neighbors what to do. Examples: drug prohibition, mandatory recycling, occupational licensing…the list goes on, and on. Who cares if the next thing down the line is something they might like to do, because, for now, they feel smug and superior.

              They like that feeling so much that, even when you show them how their rules don’t do what they claim to do and are instead used to accumulate money and power, they don’t care. It’s infuriating, and almost impossible to stop. And it becomes completely impossible to stop once universal suffrage comes into play (I personally favor the starship troupers method, but even then it just becomes almost impossible to stop). Almost impossible to stop is the best you can ever hope for.

              If someone in the 80% isn’t religious, then government becomes their religion, and they definitely want you to tithe. While religious rule can be incredibly coercive, at least the flavor this country had was limited to a 10% tithe.

              (damn, that was quite a rant, and mostly evident to usual posters, but an article on Buffett is sure to draw the uninitiated, I did come back to the topic at hand near the end)

              1. Bravo, good sir!

                1. Agreed. Rant away!

        2. Because you disagree with the way the Kochs are using their own property, you seem to feel that it is necessary to kowtow everyone to your belief system? You should look up the concept of a “free mind” before you start telling others how to think.

          Furthermore, would you have the Red Cross join the free market? I mean, damn, they’re all like helping people without earning it! F*ing socialists! The fact that I call the Red Cross all sorts of names and demand they sever their ties with that fascist “aid giving” organization the Red Crescent society doesn’t make any of it true.

          Also, I think Reason is doing pretty well for itself if Islamic fundamentalists and the long dead Josef Stalin want to support this organization. I mean, hell, if it takes the battle cry of liberty to rouse Stalin from his grave, good for us!

          To overcome your complaint about me setting up a straw man, how about we look at Green Movement and all the government funding thereof. Since you accuse Reason of being a fascist-friendly magazine, does that make solar a pro-war mongering power source? Are pro-liberty government employees hypocritical douche-bags because they are in league with an organization that tortures foreign prisoners and orders execution of American citizens abroad? Obviously not.

          If we set the standard for degrees-of-separation to terrorism low enough, we could accuse anyone of being in league with a terrorist. I mean, the girlfriend of the friend of my brother did smoke weed that one time. OMG, I’m so hypocritical when I am for drug laws. OMG, because I drive on roads in the USA I must support an aggressive foreign policy. OMGWTFBBQ!!!

          Ohh, and since you insist: guns, guns, and the Second Amendment.

          1. Wait, did you just equate Reason Foundation to the Red Cross?

            The disaster-aiding, life-saving, go-where-nobody-else-will altruistic global organization?

            Well, you sure told me!

            Because yes, a fake-journalistic liberty-pimping corporate propaganda platform paid for by anti-democratic, criminal, terrorist-supporting oil billionaires is definitely totally comparable to the Red Cross in every way.

            So, back on planet Earth:

            No free market for Reason, then? It’s just gonna keep limping along like some minor European aristocrat: too fucking inbred, stupid, weak and insecure to stand on its own two feet and even try to earn its own leather jacket?

            Figures.

            Ha ha.

            1. I’m not sure whether you missed my argument, or are ignoring it, so I’ll restate it.

              I did not equate the Reason Foundation to the Red Cross. You just did. My purpose for selecting the Red Cross was to, for lack of a better phrase, put a sheep in wolf’s clothing, to show you the fallacy of your argument.

              The Red Cross is well respected across the world for exactly the reasons you specified. They have saved countless lives, and global health is better because of their existence. However, does the source of the Red Cross’s donations impact, in any way, shape, or form the quality of its care or the value of its mission?

              No.

              If the Koch brothers donated to the Red Cross, it would not change the value of the organization. If Islamic Fundamentalists, Zombie Josef Stalins, or Satan himself donated to the Red Cross, it would not make the Red Cross any less valuable to society.

              Your problem is that you point out Reason’s benefactors, and then on that basis accuse the foundation of being a “fake-journalistic liberty-pimping corporate propaganda platform”.

              And since you disagree with those benefactors, you call on Reason to “join the free market” which is pointless battlecry that doesn’t really signify anything. I mean, what does “joining the free market” mean to you? You mentioned a web subscription model. What about the advertisement that adorn the website? Or are those advertisements not part of the “free market”?

              Whether or not I accept a donation from another person for my survival does not mean I disagree with the free market. Pure capitalism and charity can exist side-by-side without detriment, and in fact do exist, to a certain extent, in society today.

              Now, if you have a problem with Reason’s content, that’s something else entirely. If you have thoughtful criticisms, I know that I’d love to hear it. Intelligent discussion is the best way to advance society, I say. But unless you stop name calling and pandering to emotion, then no one here is going to listen.

              1. Orel, either say something rational or go away and stay the fuck gone.

                And wipe that government spoo off your chin. Post-fellatio hygiene should be part of your daily regimen, not an occasional afterthought.

                1. Yeah, that’s what I figured…

                  1. As any 12 year old could tell you (and would need to, apparently):

                    There is no comparison between the Red Cross and the Reason Foundation unless and until the Red Cross —

                    — begins raising the majority of its operating money from the pet oil refiners of totalitarian and terrorist-sponsoring governments

                    — changes its mission from lifesaving to funding and publishing journalism and research on public affairs

                    — does all of this to the more or less exclusive benefit of big business under the banner of “liberty”

                    Not even if The Jacket flew his freeloading ass down to Haiti, wore a nurse’s hat and changed bedpans could such a comparison be made by a sane person.

                    In fact, the comparison is so demented and out to lunch that it underscores the lengths to which defenders must go to avoid the giant contradiction inherent in everybody’s comfort level at Reason’s taking its operating money from a corporation whose customers are unambiguously anti-liberty and anti-American.

                    I’m going to point out that contradiction. A lot. And you’re going to read it.

                    Ha ha.

                    1. No, I’m not going to read it. But do post the bullshit anyway, if it makes you feel better.

                    2. Wow.

                      So:

                      1) Even though there was never any attempt at comparing Reason to the Red Cross, you continue to make it about Reason and the Red Cross. Even if Reason admitted to being hell-spawn and Red Cross was the son of Jesus himself, this is not about Reason vs. the Red Cross. Does the Red Cross do more meaningful work in the world. Hell yes! Does Reason have a mission of saving lives and improving world health? No. I mean, I could keep going like this all day. Reason never has been, nor ever will be, the Red Cross.

                      2) This issue is entirely about the source of funding vs. the quality of the work of the organization. The only important similarity between the Red Cross and Reason is that their funding comes from external benefactors. That’s it. Zilch, zip, nada more.

                      3) You have proved time and time again that you have absolutely no interest in a civil discussion. Do us all a favor and go to Daily Kos where your emotional outbursts and spiteful personal attacks will be welcomed. When you want to calm down and talk about Reason reasonably, I’m listening.

                      4) You continue to assert that Reason taking money from the Koch brothers somehow creates a contradiction. I’ve yet to see the contradiction. Like I said before, if we expand our degrees-of-separation wide enough, any of us could be associated with terrorists, so that would make supporting anti-terrorist policies a contradiction.

                    3. Are you familiar with the concept of “argumentum ad hominem”?

        3. Democracy sucks. Democracy is the worst form of government, especially all the others, because it is the most prone to smarmy self-righteousness. A majority is a worse tyrant than any minority, any time, any where. When 50%+1 decides all questions for all, there is no end of deciding all questions for all, because the 50%+1 “majority” doesn’t have to be the same individuals; the masses are easily manipulated into forming a series of “majorities” until the oligarchy manipulating the process has everything and everybody right where it wants them. This is called America in the Year of Our Lord 2011.
          I want my constitutional republic back, please; take this democracy and shove it where the sun don’t shine, m’kay.

    3. So?

    4. Funnily most countries trade with Iran, including many European countries this guy sees as role models. The ones who want block trade with Iran are the real bastards, the ones who suffer from sanctions are never the rulers.

      If I want to do business with Iran, that is my business not the stupid US governments.

    5. “I guess to the Kochs, some totalitarian governments are okay: e.g. the ones that pay their foreign subsidiaries (or their Daddy in the 1930s) in cash.”

      Say, Oral Horseshit, tell us how you feel about the Cuban embargo.

  20. Of course, like everything else liberals propose to target the rich and ease the lives of the middle class, the burden for this will end up squarely on the shoulders of the middle class. Just look at the income tax and the alternative minimum tax.

    1. Exactly, Jordan. The rich just don’t have that much money.

  21. Buffet is hardly alone in peddling that “raise my taxes” routine.

    As I recall, Bill Clinton, among other peddled that same line.

    Of course it is totally bogus, no matter who is peddling it.

    As has been said, if they don’t think they are paying enough, the US Treasury freely accepts donations.

    What they want is the same thing leftists always want – to “volunteer” other people’s money.

  22. What a sad, old man.
    Maybe it’s true that money can’t buy you love.
    It can, however, buy you a voice in a political economy that is completely unearned.
    Speaking of “inurned,” how’s that criminal hypocrite’s health these days? Diminishing, I hope.

  23. Ira Stoll gives us a lab-worthy specimen of the most unserious argument in the entire political grab-bag of the American Right: “people who want higher taxes should make voluntary payments.”

    This is the argument that truly separates the clinically stupid and the irredeemable bad-faithers from the merely ill-informed among the American Right-wingers.

    Let’s see how that works out:

    If you think the speed limit should be lowered on a given stretch of road, why don’t you just drive slower while everybody else whizzes by you?

    If you want a no-smoking restaurant, why don’t you just not smoke while everybody else puffs away around you?

    If you believe in gun control, why don’t you just keep guns out of your house and pray that you don’t catch a stray bullet on the street from anybody else?

    Short answer: because individual voluntary action does not solve the problem that society-wide policy is supposed to solve.

    Whether the problem is real, and whether the policy is good, are separate issues that can be debated. But the notion that individual voluntary action is fungible with policy is so low-rent and deliberately unserious as to be insulting (and, let’s face it, usually is meant to be).

    The anti-tax gang just disserves itself with this idiotic, shambling zombie of a meme. It never fails to get the loud, self-conscious guffaws from the choir of true-believers, and it leaves everyone else utterly unimpressed. It’s the exact same thing as the “if-you-don’t-like-abortion-don’t-have-one” bumper stickers that embarrass us thinking pro-choicers.

    Do your cause a favor and bury this one face down in an unmarked grave.

    1. “Let’s see how that works out:
      If you think the speed limit should be lowered on a given stretch of road, why don’t you just drive slower while everybody else whizzes by you?
      If you want a no-smoking restaurant, why don’t you just not smoke while everybody else puffs away around you?
      If you believe in gun control, why don’t you just keep guns out of your house and pray that you don’t catch a stray bullet on the street from anybody else?”

      OK, folks, keep back! Give us some room!
      No actual arguments were harmed here, but we have some severely injured false equivalences!

      1. Ah, sevo, I was hoping some moron like you or Epi would show up for me to beat the crap out of. So obliging of you.

        You see, you think that the problem that Warren Buffett is trying to solve is the “problem” that he, individually, has not paid higher taxes, and that an individual check from him will solve the problem.

        You’re wrrong.

        The problem that Buffett is trying to solve is that the government has not collected enough revenue from people situated like him. His individual contribution to revenue would do almost (almost almost) nothing to solve that “problem” — his real “problem”.

        Only revenue from Buffett and all others similarly situated solves the actual “problem” the Warren Buffett is talking about.

        Is Buffett’s problem a real problem? Is his solution a good one? That can be debated.

        But first, mouth-breathing toads like you have to be exposed, mocked, shamed, derided and humiliated for not even comprehending the most fundamental basics of the ongoing argument.

        1. Ah, l-4-me, I was hoping you stick your foot further into your mouth”
          “You see, you think that the problem that Warren Buffett is trying to solve is the “problem” that he, individually, has not paid higher taxes, and that an individual check from him will solve the problem.”

          No actual argument was harmed here, but a strawman is seriously injured. And the harm was caused by mouth-breathing toads like l-4-me and they have to be exposed, mocked, shamed, derided and humiliated for not even comprehending the most fundamental basics of the ongoing argument.
          I see, asshole, you’re both an ignoramus *AND* an aggressive one.
          Stuff it up your butt.

        2. The problem that Buffett is trying to solve is that the government has not collected enough revenue from people situated like him. His individual contribution to revenue would do almost (almost almost) nothing to solve that “problem” — his real “problem”.

          And by your “reasoning” it is totally irrelevant to point out the hypocrisy of the person advocating for X. Most people that advocate for lower speed limits or smoking bans are not themselves speed demons nor do they smoke like chimneys. Mr Buffet not only refrains from volunteering his money but he actively opposes the IRS collecting money that he owes under the current tax scheme.

          In other words
          He’s full of shit.

      2. sevo, liberty’s answer totally blows up this phony, stupid argument against Buffet.

    2. Nice try. But you’re full of shit. No one says “I want to drive slower” they say “I want a lower speed limit”. No one says “I don’t want to smoke” they say “I want a smoking ban.”

      They say these things because, even though they’re stupid, they’re more honest this this fuckstain. The only answer to “I want to pay more taxes” is “fine, do so.” Because if that’s what he wanted, then the answer is simple. If that’s not what he wants, then he should quit saying it. All one has to do is say “I want taxes raised”. But no, they say “I want the government to raise my taxes”, because it sounds like they’re patriotic, instead of redistributionist fuckstains. It’s a statement designed to elicit positive emotions toward the person saying it, and it’s total bullshit.

      So no, fuck you. “Then pay more” is the only answer that statement ever deserves.

      1. Only an idiot or a dishonest asshole can’t tell the difference between an argument about public policy and one about personal desires.

        1. Only an idiot or a dishonest asshole would phrase an argument about public policy in an inaccurate way so that it sounds like one about personal desires.

          1. See my post below, Coeus. It fits Tony exactly.

          2. The problem is with your ears, not Buffett’s words.

            1. “Waa, Waa, the slogan Mr. Buffett keeps spewing which seemed so clever is actually incredibly stupid and easily shown to be bullshit. Stop doing that. It’s mean. You’re a meanyhead”

              That about sum up your argument?

              1. You are alone in mishearing Buffett’s argument.

                You’re the only one with this problem.

                Everybody else understands what he is saying. friend and foe alike.

                No one else is confused like you are.

                1. Idiot. Of course everyone knows what he’s talking about. Saying “then pay them” makes him then actually say what he’s talking about. He doesn’t want to do that. Neither do you. I wonder why?

                  1. “…everyone knows what he’s talking about…”

                    Then you have no point whatsoever.

                    1. Sigh…

                      Done with this. You’ve purposely ignored my point and I’ve stated it several times, in a variety of ways.

                      If we don’t get a better level of troll around here, I’m gonna have to start doing it myself.

                    2. Why don’t you go to the “pro-life” sites and just badger them for calling themselves “pro-life” when they are really only trying to ban abortion (rather than save lives writ large)?

                    3. Why don’t you go to the “pro-life” sites and just badger them for calling themselves “pro-life” when they are really only trying to ban abortion (rather than save lives writ large

                      I do. I actually had a line I tried to shoehorn in comparing you to them in one of my responses. I took it out since it disrupted the flow.

                      Better question: Why would you think that I’m as intellectually inconsistent as you appear to be?

                    4. “Why don’t you go to the “pro-life” sites and just badger them for calling themselves “pro-life” when they are really only trying to ban abortion (rather than save lives writ large)?”

                      Why don’t you go to a drunken rave where they might nod and agree with your misdirection?

                2. He is NOT the only one with this problem, dummy.
                  Everyone with a working brain has this problem, doofus maximus.

            2. “The problem is with your ears, not Buffett’s words.”

              The problem is your brains fell out.

        2. Only a dishonest asshole would state a self-benefiting policy proposal as a pitch to allow himself to be more self-sacrificing. And only an idiot would buy it.

      2. Then again, mabye primitive slug life forms like youself cannot comprehend implicit statements, to wit” “I want to pay higher TAXES” carries the unmistakable implication “I want higher TAXES to apply to people situated as I am situated” and suggests absolutely nothing about voluntary payments.

        Maybe your tedious, phony, dishonest parsing of the perfectly clear and obvious idiom Buffett is using is the issue.

        1. I repeat for the reading and logic impaired.

          Saying “I want taxes raised.” is not only accurate, but shorter and more efficient.

          Saying “I want my taxes raised” is an inaccurate phrasing of this idea, as well as a longer sentence. So the only reason to say that is to elicit a positive emotional response toward the speaker, despite the fact he’s talking about taking money away from people with the threat of imprisonment. It does a disservice to ignore this kind of dishonesty. And the problem is easily resolved by saying “then pay more” until the speaker quits using that phrase. Your problem seems to be with the fact that this blatantly dishonest tactic is so easy to defuse.

          Fuck off and whine about it where someone gives a shit.

          1. You’ve got nothing. If you didn’t understand what Buffett meant to say, you’re the only one. Even his sworn enemies acknowledge he’s talking about higher taxes for all who are similarly situated, not just him individually.

            1. Idiot. Of course everyone knows what he’s talking about. Saying “then pay them” makes him then actually say what he’s talking about. He doesn’t want to do that. Neither do you. I wonder why?

              1. “…everyone knows what he’s talking about…”

                Then you have no point whatsoever.

                1. Wow, way to be obtuse. Is it intentional or were you born that way?

        2. If you’re so fucking concerned about liberty, tell us how higher taxes gives us MORE liberty.

          Because it doesn’t.

          But this should be fun to read… get to typin’, Spunky.

      3. No, Coeus, liberty’s argument is totally obvious to anyone outside the libertarian cult, and all of your foul-mouthed bad temper does not refute it.

    3. But if you can convince/bully everyone (or a large majority) into agreeing with your point of view, it serves the same purpose as government coercion doesn’t it? It certainly seems to in western Washington where I am the only on trying to drive the 55mph speed limit.

    4. Given you are so intent on being taken seriously, I suggest you dispense with the name calling. By appealing to emotions, not only will you alienate much of this reader-base, but you do nothing to advance your position. Thoughtful debates help everyone involved. Shouting matches and name calling cause people to close their mind and leave the farm.

      First, the problem isn’t that Buffet is calling for higher taxes. That’s his prerogative, and we’re happy that he’s exercising his First-Amendment rights to free speech. What we are critical of is his hypocrisy in doing so.

      “But he’s no hypocrite,” you claim. “Individual voluntary action does nothing.” Sure, individual voluntary action does nothing, I’ll grant you that. The problem is that Buffet is not “doing nothing”, but rather he is doing something that is exactly opposite what he wants.

      Using your examples, let’s say a motorist thinks the speed limit should be lower. But he drives 10 MPH over the speed limit. Does he lose credibility? Yes.

      Let’s say a patron wants a restaurant to be non-smoking. But if he lights up with the rest of them, are we really going to take him at his word? Hell no.

      Let’s say you live in a dangerous neighborhood and support gun control. Will your beliefs really get traction if you own a gun? I think not.

      Buffett suffers the same problem. Not only does he currently pay a low rate of tax, his company has been dodging taxes and are taking their sweet time in fixing the debacle. If Buffett were serious about his cause, then he wouldn’t be afraid to participate. The IRS would be happy to have the money, and if not, he could send it to a charity. On his own prerogative, he could determine exactly what percent his secretary pays, and make sure that he pays that same amount, either to the government or to a charity, each year.

      The problem is that he doesn’t. He continues to exploit a system he calls broken and unfair. He’s the epitome of hypocrisy, and that’s our problem. I agree, we can have reasonable debates on the problem and the policy, but when you insist on calling any position that disagrees with yours an “idiotic, shambling zombie of a meme,” you’ll get nowhere in a hurry.

      1. “Using your examples, let’s say a motorist thinks the speed limit should be lower. But he drives 10 MPH over the speed limit. Does he lose credibility? Yes.”

        I object to this example. Someone concerned with safety may correctly note that driving 10MPH over the speed limit is the safer course of action if that is the speed of traffic while still incorrectly believing that lowering speed limits on the same stretch of road will save lives.

        1. That’s actually a very good counterexample.

          But I think it goes to show that this is a poor analogy to increasing taxation.

          Buffett concern isn’t with some over-arching thing like safety. Rather, Buffett believes that wealthy people, like himself, do not pay enough in taxes. By “donating” more of his money to the government, he does nothing to undermine that position.

          In this thought, the gun analogy is flawed as well. Again, if an individual’s concern is not narrowly gun control, but rather a presumption of safety that would come from gun control, he may act to maximize safety while undermining gun control, because safety is his desired end goal.

          The only applicable analogy is the smoker. By joining the others in lighting up, he does nothing to prove his case, and he does nothing to undermine his case by not smoking. Very much like Buffett and taxes.

          1. To expand on this, the difference is whether the speed limit, the smoking ban, or the gun control laws are a means or an end.

            When your item is a means to an end (e.g. decreasing the speed limit increases safety), then I would argue that, as long as you are furthering your goal, your not being hypocritical. However, you should be honest with yourself about what your goal (your end) really is.

  24. I’ll tell you what. Warren Buffet, you are undertaxed. There should be a 100 percent levy on old cunts, and fucking pants-shitting, geriatric half-wits like you. You need to be gunned down walking to your Limo and forced to eat the dung that shoots out your old, decrepit asshole. Go fuck yourself, you doddering nobody. I hope the state rapes your fortune and uses it all to start a war against your corporations’ holdings. Seriously. I would punch you in the cunt if you were in front of me, and ass-fuck your daughter while beating her on the back of her head with a brick.

    1. There should be a 100 percent levy on old cunts, and fucking pants-shitting, geriatric half-wits like you.

      Jamie, why do you want to raise taxes on the entire Baby Boomer generation? Ageist!!!

  25. Note how many liberals are itching to let Buffett dictate policy, yet bitch and whine about… rich people dictating policy.

    It’s almost like he ISN’T a billionaire.

    1. Agreement with Buffett’s arguments is not the same thing as wanting him to “dictate policy.”

      Liberals don’t want Buffett to be able to make unlimited secret contributions to politicians through his corporations, even if he agrees with them on taxes or guns or education. Liberals want Buffett to win the argument on the merits, not through bribery and pay-to-play access.

      1. His argument has no merit, nor has yours, a secret contribution is not unethical, it is a fundamental right, it prevents people like you from attacking the messenger not the message. I want to fund anyone I want, without being in fear of tyrants like you.

        1. Even if you were right, Mr. FIFY is still wrong.

          But you are wrong anyway. I have no a priori obligation to submit to politicians that you secretly give money to. I have as much right as anyone to set the qualifications, parameters, and ethical limits on the people who would presume to exercise the power of the state. One of those limits can be a prohibition on taking secret money. You have no right to secretly bribe government officials that everyone else is expected to obey. Mandatory refusal of your bribery is a perfectly legitimate qualification/limit on the office of a government official.

          1. “You have no right to secretly BRIBE government officials that everyone else is expected to obey.”

            Note that asshole now claims support = bribery.

          2. No one said you had an a priori obligation to submit to politicians at all. That’s the whole point of election day. No one is suggesting that politicians should get elected and that jump into a back room where they proceed to rape the entire country (kind of like they do now). The problem is not transparency during elections, the problem is transparency during service.

            1. For a guy who calls himself “liberty 4 me but not 4 thee”…

        2. Hear hear!

          It’s like when union organizers were allowed to call a vote without a secret ballot. Then it didn’t matter whether or not the union had merits; all they had to do was attack those who voted no.

        3. The biggest bullshit strawman ever, freedom of speech is not a bribe nor is it subject to government in who is doing the speech.

          I don’t do bribes tyrant, that is your speciality, a bribe is what you do every time you vote for a politician that taxes me and gives money to you. A bribe is what Buffet does, give money to government and then get sweet rail and banking deals coming his way. Funding a political party is not a bribe, especially when it will reduce the power to bribe in the first place.

          Also why should I submit to somebody because you put an X on a piece of paper ??? Take your tyranical urges and play civilization or some other game.

      2. “Agreement with Buffett’s arguments is not the same thing as wanting him to “dictate policy.””

        Bullshit.
        His argument requires ‘dictating policy’.
        Don’t you get dizzy from all that spinning?

        1. Epistimological Fail, sevo: The policy of tax increases may be ‘dictated,’ in your view, but it is ‘dictated’ by the state, not by Buffett. Only if Buffett were to be given state power — above and beyond the policy-advocacy prerogatives that we all have — would he have the capacity to ‘dictate’ policy.

          1. This comes from the same moron who just a few posts above accuses me of wanting to dictate policy by bribing politicians because I happen to agree with them.

            Just add in the words metaphysical, sociological and holistic and your dung will look like you are supposed to be intelligent.

          2. Again, how is this any different than “rich people dictating policy”? It’s not like the so-called 1% are our government. They are no more the state than Warren Buffett. Again, if you are concerned with corruption of politicians because of campaign contributions, the problem isn’t the contributors, but the politicians.

            I feel like you’re digging yourself in a hole here: if Buffett wins on the merits, he’s not dictating policy. But if he loses on the merits, but the law is enacted anyway, it is dictating policy? Does that mean that most of the government’s policy have no merit, because they are all dictated?

            1. “Just add in the words metaphysical, sociological and holistic and your dung will look like you are supposed to be intelligent.”

              To make it clear, he’s pointing out that Buffett isn’t holding the gun; Buffett is only suggesting that someone *else* hold the gun, so, you see, he’s not ‘dictating’ policy…. If you’re stupid enough to believe such shit.
              And then we have the strawman that those who disagree presume that Buffett writing a check will ‘solve the problem’; the ‘problem’ being unstated, but presumed by the asshole to be a lack of taxes.
              Well, writing that check will solve the problem; the problem is Buffett’s hypocrisy.

          3. “Epistimological Fail, sevo:”
            And I gotta ask: Do we have the return of Danny Boy?
            Same pretentious (and irrelevant) vocabulary, combined with arrogant presumption of ‘truth’, all the while pitching brain-dead philosophy.
            Do we have a match, Danny?

            1. These losers are really scared that the money conveyer will shut down soon.

      3. I was talking about his TAX policy, you fuckstain.

  26. “Epistimological Fail, sevo: The policy of tax increases may be ‘dictated,’ in your view, but it is ‘dictated’ by the state, not by Buffett.”

    Stupid fail, l-4-me.
    In order for Buffett’s argument to be valid, it requires dictation.

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  28. I think that the mortgage interest deduction is pure evil, but so long as it is part of the tax code, I’m going to be claiming it.

    1. Obviously you can’t believe it’s “pure evil” then. If you strongly believed that it should be removed from the tax code, why keep using it?

      One of two reasons:

      1) You really don’t hate the mortgage interest deduction as much as you say you do.

      2) You’re a hypocrite.

      This is the entire problem here. Buffett is either 1) preaching a policy he doesn’t actually believe in, or 2) he’s a hypocrite. Either way this is an issue.

      1. So to avoid hypocrisy, Some Guy must fall on the sword he is forced to hold.

        1. I’m not sure how that’s a relevant analogy. Trying to fit into your framework, first off, no one made him take the sword. Secondly, if he took the sword to kill monsters, and he is a monster, then yes he should fall on his sword.

          But again, I fail to see how this is an apt analogy.

          1. Any deduction reduces his total tax liability. You are proposing that since he disagrees with the premise of a particular deduction, he should voluntarily increase that liability. You paint it as hypocrisy that he should be capable of compartmentalizing the two and dealing with each accordingly, in the interest of minimizing the effects of the state’s intrusion on his life.

            1. If his interest is in minimizing the effects of the state’s intrusion on his life, then his problem is not with the mortgage deduction, and (1) applies.

              What you are proposing is a half-analysis of the problem. The mortgage deduction does not exist in a vacuum. It is intimately tied with decreasing his total tax liability. You cannot remove the mortgage deduction and have lower tax liability. You can’t eat your cake and have it too.

              Again, if Some Guy truly thinks the deduction is “pure evil,” then he must therefore believe that the decrease in his tax liability due to the mortgage deduction is also pure evil. Therefore, to capitalize on the deduction is hypocrisy, number (2).

              I’m not saying that it’s wrong to want a lower tax burden, and I’m not saying that it’s wrong to have deductions. The issue here, again, is what Some Guy really believes. If he believes that, as you seem to assert, the government should have a smaller footprint in our personal lives, then the mortgage deduction cannot be pure evil, because it helps facilitate that. If his real complaint is that the tax code is too complicated, and he wants it to be simplified to a flat tax code, then, taking the deduction would not be hypocritical, because there is no alternative that exists. In other words, there’s no such thing as a flat tax code available in the US, so he has no alternative to take.

              But if his issue is solely with the mortgage deduction, then there is an option: he can opt not to take it. That’s a totally legal an viable way of attacking the “pure evil.” By opting to instead take the mortgage deduction, he is, again, either (1) overstating the problem or (2) being a hypocrite.

              1. It is intimately tied with decreasing his total tax liability. You cannot remove the mortgage deduction and have lower tax liability.

                If it didn’t exist, then rates could be lowered for everyone – and house prices would not be inflated due to it. The amount that I get back from it doesn’t even pay for the additional amount that it costs me.

                Again, if Some Guy truly thinks the deduction is “pure evil,” then he must therefore believe that the decrease in his tax liability due to the mortgage deduction is also pure evil.

                I contend that my tax liability is higher because of the interest deduction, even if claiming it lowers it below the inflated rate I would pay whether I had a mortgage or not. But even if I didn’t I would still claim it because it is the only logical thing to do. Not claiming it will not make it go away.

                The issue here, again, is what Some Guy really believes. If he believes that, as you seem to assert, the government should have a smaller footprint in our personal lives, then the mortgage deduction cannot be pure evil, because it helps facilitate that.

                Taking money from one group (non-mortgage debtors) to subsidize another group (mortgage debtors, and those who benefit from their debt) does not seem like a smaller footprint to me.

                If his real complaint is that the tax code is too complicated, and he wants it to be simplified to a flat tax code, then, taking the deduction would not be hypocritical, because there is no alternative that exists.

                So your statement was based on the nonsensical belief that I am fine with all other tax code subsidies?

                1. I don’t think you quite understand exactly what I’m getting at. This is precisely the same issue as I was talking about in an earlier post. It’s about whether getting rid of the mortgage deduction is a means or an end.

                  As you explained above, you clearly have no problem with the mortgage deduction in-and-of itself. Your problem is, rather, twofold: the intrusion of government into your life, and the ill effects that the tax code has on home prices.

                  This is like the analogy of a motorist who wants the speed limit lowered. The reason the motorist wants the speed limit lowered is not that the motorist wants cars to move more slowly, it’s that the motorist want the roads to be safer. Lowering the speed limit is a means, not an end. For that purpose, the motorist may drive 10 MPH above the speed limit, because he knows that driving the speed of the traffic makes everyone safer.

                  In this way, my first point (1) applies. And you are not hypocritical, because there is no alternative in which those negative effects don’t exist. In other words, there is no way for you to realize your desired end.

                  In the case of Warren Buffett, however, he does have a way to realize his desired end. As he has said many times, his goal is to increase the amount of money super-wealth people like himself pay to the government. He could write a check and realize that end immediately. By not doing so, he is being hypocritical.

                  1. Your argument and analogies do not make sense.

                    Your belief in what Warren Buffet’s “end” is incorrect (he wants people to pay more for the sake of paying more?), and your analysis would still make no sense even if that was his end. (His writing a check to the government would do precisely as much as my not taking the deduction would.)

                    1. No, my argument and analogies are sound. You’re completely missing my point.

                      Look, you’re goal has absolutely nothing to do with the mortgage deduction. It has everything to do with the effects of the mortgage deduction. In your original post, you should have said something like “I think that the mortgage deduction’s effect on society is pure evil”. If we could remove the ill effects of the mortgage deduction, would you still call the mortgage deduction pure evil? I would think no.

                      Now, I know it is impossible to separate cause and effect, but you have to be honest with yourself about what is more important: the cause or the effect (the means or the end).

                      For most people, I think the effects are more important. Why would you want to for lower the speed limit for the sake of lowering the speed limit? That would be foolish. But if it were my position, I would be hypocritical to continue to drive faster than the speed limit.

                      In Buffett’s case, his goal is to increase government’s revenue by way of increasing taxes on mega-wealthy investors. In other words, his goal is to get his wealthy peers to pay more money to the government. Right now, he may not be able to realize his means (increased taxes), but he can realize his goal (in part) by writing a check to the IRS.

                      The hypocrisy comes from standing up and espousing a position, but doing nothing to advance that position even though it’s possible.

                      In your case, failing to take advantage of the mortgage deduction would do nothing to advance your cause of stopping the mortgage deduction’s artificial redistribution of money between haves and have nots. Again, by failing to take the deduction you make absolutely no progress towards your goal.

                      In Buffett’s case, by writing a check to the IRS, he can indeed make progress towards his goal.

                      However, if his goal is instead raising taxes for the sake of raising taxes, then no, he couldn’t make any progress towards his goal by giving money to the IRS. However, I think we can all agree that this is a horrible goal, and all the more reason that Buffett needs to get out of politics.

      2. If you are continuing to claim the deduction in order to fund the campaign to abolish the deduction it would be ironic, but not hypocritical.

        1. That it would be ironic. But I don’t thing Some Guy is using the mortgage deduction to fund its downfall, and even in that case, he could hardly believe it to be pure evil because it’s helping fund a cause he believes in.

      3. If you are continuing to claim the deduction in order to fund the campaign to abolish the deduction it would be ironic, but not hypocritical.

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  30. I want to have Buffett’s baby, but he won’t look me in the face when he fucks me.

  31. “I have no a priori obligation to submit to politicians”

    See, if you’d just be rational and end your sentence after making a logical point, you’d be better-liked around here.

  32. Most of the super-rich in this country have been made super-rich by average American’s. By using their capital, or by selling goods to us. The Walton’s, (Walmart) have 4 members of their family on the list of wealthiest Americans. They got that way by destroying mom and pop stores, underselling their competitors, by buying goods made in China i,e, (lead based paint in toys, Poison Pet food), slave wages, few fulltime employees and every other tatic to enrich themselves. Other CEO’s followed their model and as a result Millions of Americans are out of work. We poor and middle class bailed out Wall St. so they could make loans to small business and they took our money, gave themselves bonuses and still refused to lend money to borrowers. That’s why they came to the tax payers with hat in hand. When a few elite have access and all the power then we cease to be a nation of the people, by the people, instead we become a nation of how much money do you have. How many Senators and Congressmen can you bully into signing agreements that could lead to the downfall of the nation, and is close to treason, so they can hold on to their 6 figure income for 2 or 6 more years. Our voice shouldn’t be biasd on how much you have, but rather for the good of all. I’m no socialist, but the alternative is a super ruling class. Will they pass laws that they can kill, what they refer to as a worker and not get punished. Hitler started with 7 people, he got some wealthy investors (BMW, Mercedes, Bayer Pharmacy etc. and caused over 100 mil deaths. Everyone that can afford to pay should give me the tax loopholes the rich have. Congressman Joe (teaparty) Walsh (Ill.) owes $177,000.00 in child support, has he been arrested no. He hates Obama so leave him alone. That the super-rich at work.

  33. This post is so dumb and the response so obvious that I’m left nearly speechless.

  34. Fuck the rich

  35. Ron Paul, speaking in D.C Oct 8th. Not taking the communist metro.

  36. Buffett and tax increases so annoying. I’m learning how to plan an essay on buffett

  37. If giving your money to the government is so important, why go around begging your rich friends to donate half of their earnings to charity, thus preventing the government from their cut? You say you are giving away 99% of your wealth, when in fact you set up charitable foundations for your children to ‘run’. It’s just another way to game the system to your advantage.

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  39. Buffett knows damn well the difference between W2 income and wealth. Everyone should go read Thomas Sowell for a good description of how the left has used this obfuscation to confuse stupid people. Warren is not stupid. He’s up to no good.

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