Ok To Despise Warren Buffett?

Gideon Fountain writes:

All thinking humans properly despise scoundrels like Michael Moore, but what about Warren Buffett?  Most of us have grown up hearing this avuncular, chubby-cheeked, Benjamin Graham disciple referred to as the “Oracle of Omaha”. Seemed like a nice guy.  And, after all, he appears to have come to his billions honestly, albeit, these days, using less Graham and more political-insider methods. But reports like THIS force you to recognize what a typical, double-talking hypocrite this old fool really is.

And if he were merely a double-talking, hypocritical old fool, it would be one thing, but he is actively working on behalf of the re-election of President Obummer. Having learned nothing from the last 2 1/2 years, he wants more of it. And he and his President vigorously advocate for higher taxes for “millionaires and billionaires” knowing full well that these higher rates will be applied to a much larger, more financially useful group known as “hundred-thousand-aires”.

So, are we allowed to despise a multi-billionaire whose company fights the IRS tooth-and-nail over every nickel owed and, at the same time, calls for higher taxes for those really rich guys, the ones making $300,000/year? Yes, indeed, yes.

And his tax arguement is PHONY, anyway.

20 Comments

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20 responses to “Ok To Despise Warren Buffett?

  1. dollarbill

    I’m shocked! Stephen Moore writes that our nation’s plutocrats, excuse me, “job creators”(like Paris Hilton) are over-taxed! Phone the neighbors and wake the kids! As resident genius Gideon would say, the 99% of us who are not Buffett or Koch should thank our lucky stars for these fine oligarchs who are clearly looking out for our best interests! Keep the rich lightly taxed, right kid?, thats just the right remedy for our floundering economy. Wonderfully intelligent analysis, worthy of the finest Tea Party intellectual. Not!

    • Gideon Fountain responds:
      “Dollar Bill”, I think you’re over-charging, old boy, you sound more like 35 cents. But good for you for mentioning Paris Hilton! That’s a fundamental technique of the loony-left; don’t argue facts, argue images! Oh, and I see you put “job creators” in sarcastic quotation marks because… everyone knows rich people don’t create jobs? So we’ll pay no attention, for example, to the hundreds of trucks parked all around Greenwich at the site of dozens of custom (and spec) houses going up. (Turns out, those shovel-ready-jobs were provided courtesy of the “plutocrats” you so obviously envy.)

  2. HG

    I am still interested whether the donation to charity of the Berkshire Hathaway stock he owns will at some point shield him from paying the higher taxes he is proposing for other millionaires and billionaires. I’ve never made a charitable donation larger than my annual income but he has pledged to do so. I assume the tax deduction can be carried forward. I wonder why he is paying taxes today at all.

  3. atticus

    Even Bloomberg thinks Buffett is full of hot air and a total phony. Buffett has done everything he can to avoid the taxes that he wants others to pay. E.g., the estate tax, that’s for “little people”, not for Buffett. So, yes, it would be nothing less than rational to despise him.

    Bottom line, watch what Buffett does, not what he says.

  4. George Crossman

    Actually, Paris Hilton creates lots of jobs. She had a silly tv show that employed people in the entertainment biz, created commercials for that job crowd and I am sure she provides lots of jobs through her endless travel. She probably spends a bundle on hair and nails and the guy who owns the salon has probably done his kitchen over with what she pays before she walks out the door. She is a huge consumer.

  5. dollarbill

    So touching of you to come to the aid of plutocrats. How many jobs are they actually creating fhese days, in the USA? I dont see too many. But that is sort of the point. Its those greedy middle class union guys who refuse to accept the terms of surrender you Galtian overlords wish to impose on the rest of us that has Liz Warren and those brave kids in Zuccotti Park telling the TP folks to go shove it, along with your snide right-wing contempt for ordinary Americans just struggling to get by.

  6. Al Dente

    Elderly eaters in Florida went berserk over the proposed “buffet” rule:
    http://www.spnheadlines.com/2011/09/violent-riots-rock-restaurant-over.html

  7. FlyAngler

    If “Uncle Warren” looked like Gordon Gecko, many more would see him as the crony capitalist he has become.

  8. Anonymous

    That’s it, Buffet’s officially gone off the reservation.
    Gone senile.
    He now thinks everyone’s just happy-go-lucky, fruit of loom-wearin’, see’s candy-eatin’ middle ‘mericans, including the enlightened commie’s over yonder in China.
    Let’s review, shall we?
    Jail sentences for his heretofore much-lauded reinsurance CEOs who schemed fraudulent risk transfer trades.
    Insider trading by other much-lauded CEO and former heir apparent, front-running an M&A deal (i mean, really? can you really be so stupid?).
    Supporting higher taxes on an elite class of the populace you know damned well will spend that which they’d otherwise have to pay in taxes instead on tax lawyers to find loopholes.
    Cozying up to Obama and having legislation named after him.
    I’m selling my Class B shares tomorrow. Right after they rise a little more….

  9. Steve

    I don’t like his politics, but this is a bad argument. There is a big difference between Warren Buffet and his tax obligations and that of Birkshire Hathaway. Berkshire has a fiduciary responsibility to its stockholders (some of whom aren’t rich) to maximize its profits and returns and that included posting no more taxes than necessary. Warren himself is free to have an opinion that he should personally be paying more in taxes. The two have nothing to do with each other and any recent news organization should know the difference.

    • Gideon Fountain responds:
      Steve, Buffett doesn’t merely “have an opinion that he should personally be paying more in taxes”, he’s become the poster-child for the movement! He lobbies congress, he writes articles, he appears on talk shows, he raises money for the re-election of our current Tax-Raiser-In-Chief. In addition, he cynically exploits the public’s lack of knowledge of how corporate income is taxed. Obviously, as owner of Berkshire Hathaway, he pays taxes at a far higher rate than “his secretary” because his income is first taxed at the corporate rate of 35% before being taxed again at around 13.9% when it is distributed to him as a dividend. He’s clearly a lying manipulator but I can’t quite figure out why he’s turned out like this… Senility, perhaps?

  10. Steve

    Warren being the poster child for the movement doesn’t change the fact that you cannot confuse the responsibilities of Berkshire Hathaway with those of Buffet as an individual. His secretary is probably also a stockholder. I’m as right leaning as you are, but there are good arguments and bad ones and this particular one doesn’t stand up.

    • Gideon Fountain writes…
      Steve, I still disagree, here’s why: Buffett owns about 1/4 of Berkshire Hathaway. In 2008, his company paid $3 billion in federal corporate taxes (the US’s 35% corporate tax rate is the second highest in the world). That’s HIS company paying out HIS money, but, apparently for political reasons, he pretends that the only taxes he pays are capital gains on the dividends he receives. If he were merely the paid CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, it would be different, but as owner, he is paying out enormous taxes but wants to pretend otherwise in order to induce (always eager) politicians to raise regular income taxes on the rest of us. Buffett and his company are inextricable, both are fair game.

  11. Anonymous

    Interesting how certain “billionaires” call for tax increases AFTER they have made their billions. I never hear them advocating for higher taxes while they are hard at work accumulating their wealth. I can tell you from the billionaires I know (and I know a number of them), they all actively practice the art of tax avoidance (vs tax evasion which is illegal). I don’t blame them for taking advantage of current tax law, but it is very hypocritical to push for higher taxes for those aspiring to better themselves.

    • Thing is, Buffett made most of his money when rates were far, far higher on just about everything. I think his argument is the exact opposite of what you percieve it to be

  12. OK everybody, where are we going to get the $ to balance the budget? The little guys?? The middle class is disappearing. I will say it again…tax rates under Clinton resulted in balanced budgets; let’s go back to them. 35%-39%, big deal. Don’t embarrass yourself and say it will all come from spending cuts. How come no one in this country wants to sacrifice???? And we wonder why this is a declining nation. I guess we all want to be like Bill-O O’reilly and be out for ourselves….sad.

    • Gideon Fountain writes…
      Bob A.: How about this: We go back to Clinton-era tax rates but in exchange, we also go back to Clinton-era spending levels…deal? Presently, the US government takes in $3 TRILLION/year and will spend $4.5 TRILLION/yr. Isn’t is possible, Bob A., just possible, that a lot of that money is wasted? Is it possible?

  13. Anonymous

    Buffet’s underoos are squeezing his nuts, can’t think straight anymore.

    He’s that old guy driving the ’88 Crown Vic on Post road at 17 mph, weaving in & out of the lanes.

    Time for the farm, Uncle Warren. Sit back, relax, and read some old cat risk policies while sipping tea in your rocking chair.

  14. Behind the Library

    The man is detestable,and his holier-than-thou schtick is getting old. He’s a hypocrite because he accrues most of his wealth in unrealised capital gains, on which the tax is zero, zip, nada. He will dodge taxes on his accumulated wealth because he doesn’t need it to live on and he will pass it tax-free to the Gates Foundation. He’s also a market manipulator. He talks markets up and down every bit as much as any short, but because he’s a long, and because he’s Saint Warren of Omaha, nobody calls him on it.

    And he plumps for higher estate taxes too, while his insurance companies make a fortune selling tax management tools to clients in the form of life insurance policies that do nothing more than transform taxable estates into tax-free estates. Say you’re rich and old, and you want to move the money to your heirs tax free. Actuarially, you’re gonna go soon. Life Insurance proceeds are tax free. So you spend nearly all your money on a life insurance policy. Since you’re 90, they charge you close to the full amount of the benefits, and they make money for as long as you live. The heirs get the benefits without tax. Voila, you have converted a taxable estate into a tax free estate. Buffet has a personal vested interest in a complex high-tax environment, whether for income taxes or estate taxes. And somehow he always fails to disclose this while arguing for more taxes.

    I can’t psychoanalyse the guy. Other than the fairly naked self-interest elements, I have no idea why he wants to tax me into penury. If he wants to give his money to the government, fine with me. But he has no legitimate claim on my earnings, thank you very much.

  15. Anonymous

    Behind the LIbrary–well said. And so true.