Saturday, October 1, 2011
Buffett on Double Dip, The Buffett Rule, and Why He Doesn't Voluntarily Pay More in Taxes
In this interview with Bloomberg, Warren Buffett claims we are in a recovery and not heading into a double-dip recession based on the the performance of the 70+ companies that make up Berkshire Hathaway (good news for Berkshire stock holders). The discussion then turns to his support of higher taxes on himself and some of those in his elite friends in the "super-rich" club.
At about 4:30 in the video, the Betty Liu asks Buffett the ultimate question: If he wants the rich (including himself) to pay more in taxes, why doesn't he simply voluntarily write a check to the government for the extra millions that he thinks would be "fair" for him to pay? Buffett fumbles around unable to give a clear answer. The reporter presses him again and asks "Warren, since you're a large proponent of higher taxes, why not write a check to the government for several billion dollars just to underscore a point?" Buffett then fumbles some more and claims that he doesn't want to act alone, but would join a group of other "ultra-rich" taxpayers who are supposedly "under-taxed" and they would all pay higher taxes as a group. Not exactly what I would call acting on your convictions or leading by example.
Why should Buffett wait for anyone else to act instead of being the first to voluntarily pay higher taxes and set an example for the skinflints in "ultra-rich" club? Isn't Buffett's position kind of like saying: I think it's a good idea to donate blood, but I won't do it unless: a) I'm forced to by the government, or b) a bunch of my friends and I hold hands and we all do it together?
HT: Carpe Diem