Is anyone besides me getting a little weary of the unsolicited tax advice coming from Warren Buffett? What a relief to read that some of his contemporaries are. Harvey Golub, former CEO of American Express airs it out in his Wall Street Journal piece as he breaks down the fact and fiction of Buffett’s assertions. One has to wonder if we would have to endure this current ad hominem if the entire tax code were rewritten to broaden the tax base (read: require the lower 45% to “invest” in running this country) reworked the current deduction loopholes that Messrs. Buffet, Soros, Damon, et al enjoy, and truly reformed how Congress appropriates tax revenues. I somehow doubt The Oracle of Omaha would be such a progressive tax shill for The Obama of DC.
What’s earned and what’s fair? A recent expose by College Republicans of U Cal – Merced put together a not so hilarious video of them conducting a survey with their fellow students. In it they asked peers if they would be willing to give up a portion of their grade point average if it was determined theirs was “excessive”, i.e. a 4.0. The excessive GPA would be given to other students whose GPA’s weren’t as good because of other circumstances. The resolute response was absolutely not, after all they had earned their GPA. When a parallel was made to making the wealthy give more of their income for taxes, the responses were revealing, but predictably hypocritical; …“I agree with making the rich pay more taxes but GPA’s are totally different, or “I need my GPA to get into grad school”. Or how about this one – “I earned my GPA, their money is free”.
While we’re at it maybe we should ask some business people if they would consider sharing their frequent flyer miles or credit card rewards points or maybe suggest that well off senior citizens donate some of their Social Security benefits with the less fortunate. Then you’d get a well rounded earful of what’s been earned, who earned it, what is fair and what isn’t. You get the point, but somehow this same argument doesn’t seem to apply where the “tax the rich” mantra is uttered.
The irony of this whole charade is that Mr. Buffett and his colleagues of wealth know full well that if they really wanted to they could easily put their money where their conscience/mouth is without dragging others with them who don’t agree with their progressive view of social justice as it applies to taxation.
Mr. B., just write a check. Please sir, let me provide you with detailed instructions and the address for Gifts to the United States Government. Click here for more information
Even with the sarcastic tone taken here with Mr. Buffett it is important that I go on record in recognizing him for coaxing his peers to join in giving philanthropically to global causes. One can only imagine how much good his generosity and that of those he has enlisted have done throughout the world. The continent of Africa will never be able to repay Bill Gates for the resources his foundation has provided in their struggles with health and education. But here’s the difference; mandating someone who has achieved a level of financial success to throw an ever increasingly disproportionate percentage of their earned income into a governmental black hole through progressive tax policy as opposed to providing incentive for them to advance philanthropic endeavors that benefits the global community. The inconsistency in current tax policy becomes more significant when one remembers that more than 45% of income earners pay nothing at all.
If our political leaders could somehow get their/our fiscal house in order, rewrite the tax code, and provide the taxpayer with a sense of accountability that their tax dollars are being used wisely; we likely wouldn’t have to endure Warren Buffett’s complaints of “being coddled” or not giving his fair share.
Mr. Golub puts it nicely; …” Before you “ask” for more tax money from me and others, raise the $2.2 trillion you already collect each year more fairly and spend it more wisely. Then you’ll need less of my money.