Obama and Buffett
Creation Date Thursday, 22 September 2011. Hits 1213
Billionaire Warren Buffett recently wrote an op ed for the New York Times in which he complained that he just wasn't being taxed enough. He griped that he and his "mega-rich" friends had been "coddled long enough" and it was time for our Government to get serious about "shared sacrifice". President Obama seized on this opportunity to propose the "Buffett Rule", which would ensure that millionaires are taxed at a higher rate than their non millionaire counterparts. We are supposed to pay no attention to the fact that the average American pays 16% of their income in federal taxes, while the average millionaire pays 20%, which means that this is already happening without the Buffett rule. I suppose that we are also supposed to pay no attention to the fact that Warren Buffett not only has the opportunity to pay more taxes than he already is, but he also has a damn good reason to.
“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.
Now I don't personally care what Mr. Buffett does. He can pay or not pay his taxes. He can hire multiple accountants to work him the best deal, or he can overpay his taxes by a billion or two. Makes no difference to me either way. He could shred all of his money into tiny pieces and use it to stuff animals in his basement, I don't care. But since he brought up the subject, I do have a couple of observations on his situation.
- If you feel that the super rich aren't paying their fair share, than why are you arguing with the IRS about how much they want in taxes out of your business? Just take the amount you feel that you have been under-charged, and pay up for your corporate interest.
- If you still feel that you haven't paid your "fair share", you and your fellow rich liberal friends can feel free to send your extras to the Federal Government anytime you begin to feel the guilt.
- If the tax burden is killing your secretary, than perhaps you could give her a raise. If you have such a big heart that the nearly $7 mil you paid in taxes wasn't enough, than why are you only paying her $60k a year?
Yet isn't it fitting that President Obama would jump on this opportunity handed to him by Warren Buffett without ever noticing the hypocrisy of a man who's business is 9 years behind on its taxes complaining that he hasn't paid enough taxes? After all, President Obama is the guy who complained about both torture and the outsourcing of American jobs. But what was his response? He ended water-boarding, but kept rendition alive, which means we can still torture, as long as we outsource it. If we're going to have blood on our hands, shouldn't we at least get the jobs?
This is also the President who wanted to bring foreign terrorists picked up on a foreign battlefield here to America, give them the rights of American citizens, try them in American courts, defended by American attorneys, to be sentenced to a life in American prisons... all of course on the taxpayer dime. But what if the terrorist was born here, and thus already has all of the rights of an American citizen? Simple. We don't charge him, mirandize him, try him, defend him, or put him in our prison. No, he just puts him on the CIA kill or capture list. I would say that he ignored all of the rights that came with the mans citizenship, but that would be unfair. You see, the State Department recently refused to release documents requested in regards to the native New Mexican based on their belief that to do so would violate his right to privacy.
"The Department of State, Passport Services has reviewed your request and has given full consideration to the reasons provided. However, we have determined that your request must be denied. This denial is pursuant to subsection (b)(6) of the Freedom of Information Act. The release of this information to you would be an invasion of personal privacy of another person, without written authorization from that person."
And if that wasn't enough hypocrisy for you, don't forget that this document cover-up is brought to you by the most transparent administration in history, headed up by the Nobel Peace Prize winner that couldn't be satisfied with the two wars he inherited, and needed to start a third. He's the environmentalist who wasn't satisfied with the 2 limos he inherited, so he added a third. He demands healthcare reform, saying that our system will only work if we all have coverage, then grants waivers by the thousand to exempt people from getting coverage. So why not raise taxes on all the rich to satisfy one rich old bat who thinks he hasn't paid enough taxes, and the IRS agrees with him?
But all of this I have said without getting to the heart of the matter. Is Warren Buffett right? Are the mega-rich getting over too easy? Are they being coddled by Congress? For both those who agree with him, and those who do not, it is sad that we don't get to have this debate on its merits because the topic is being used as nothing more than a pill to assuage the "rich guilt" of an aging fat cat and a political pawn for a desperate politician who is so clueless on the economy that his best hope is to design a plan that will never pass in hopes that you will be angry at Congress for standing in the way, rather than directing your anger at him for where his clueless fumbling has lead our economy.