Warren Buffet on billionaires protected ‘as if we were spotted owls’

Several of you have pointed out today’s op-ed piece by billionaire Warren Buffet in the New York Times, which begins thusly:

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Billionaire Warren Buffet/AP

Our leaders have asked for “shared sacrifice.” But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.

While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as “carried interest,” thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they’d been long-term investors.

These and other blessings are showered upon us by legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species. It’s nice to have friends in high places.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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174 comments Add your comment

Ghost Rider

August 15th, 2011
12:28 pm

DannyX

August 15th, 2011
12:30 pm

“My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress,” Buffett wrote. “It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.”

Anyone know where I can get a 2 million dollar signature loan?

Darrell

August 15th, 2011
12:43 pm

Mr. Buffett, you are free to pay more if you want to. If you feel you should pay more then by all means do so, why wait for it to be demanded by law? But I’d suggest that sending more money to Washington is a bad investment with very poor returns.

Danny O

August 15th, 2011
12:51 pm

Paying down the debt so that we don’t have to borrow so much is a great investment. Infrastructure improvements performed by Americans and American businesses make doing business here more efficient. Another great investment.

yellowdog

August 15th, 2011
12:59 pm

here’s a man who knows…..and hes willing…….as was ted turner, bill gates, and those who want to give back and do….for the rest of you its all conversation. thanks to mr. buffett.

DannyX

August 15th, 2011
1:00 pm

“But I’d suggest that sending more money to Washington is a bad investment with very poor returns.”

We’re sending Washington our Republican Representatives who are getting very good returns! Tom Graves is doing great financially, well kinda, he’s not real good at spending his own loot.

Nathan Deal loves his no-bid government contracts. He escaped congress just in time to dodge House ethics charges. Unfortunately his job wasn’t finished, Deal went bankrupt. Tea Party Georgia elected him governor. The new Georgia Pornatorium will open soon, he may start to recover.

Washington is a great investment for our political leaders. Of course the rich folk are getting pampered in return.

dannyp

August 15th, 2011
1:00 pm

Mr. Buffett, thank you for that poignant point that we all should be paying attention to…and that is that there is no shared sacrifce by the wealthy. I hope all of you fiscal conservatives and tea party supporters were reading that article, that’s if you can actually read.

the original and still the best John Galt

August 15th, 2011
1:04 pm

There will be no “paying down the debt.” It’s too large. Even 100% taxation could not sustain the current level of Federal spending and pay the current debt levels.

Governments get income in only three ways. They can borrow it, they can print it, and they can tax. In effect, government borrowing and printing are really just forms of taxation that tax future earnings rather than present earnings.

The government is between a rock and a hard place. If they keep borrowing, economic collapse looms. If they keep printing money out of thin air economic collapse looms. If they increase taxation of the very few productive citizens who are left economic collapse looms.

DannyX

August 15th, 2011
1:06 pm

You can pay down the debt the old fashioned way…with a good dose of inflation.

Minor Point

August 15th, 2011
1:09 pm

If you overpay your taxes due, the government will send you a refund check. So, Buffett cannot merely pay more as the IRS will not keep “more” than what he owes.

Jason

August 15th, 2011
1:13 pm

Does Mr Buffet know, he is welcome at any time to write a HUGE check made payable to: The US Treasury? I understand they also take Credit Cards. Otherwise, just shut up about “other people’s money”.

The fact is....

August 15th, 2011
1:19 pm

“…I hope all of you fiscal conservatives and tea party supporters were reading that article, that’s if you can actually read…”

It was NOT The Tea Party that ammassed the $14 National Debt. Maybe you could use some reading lessons.

The fact is....

August 15th, 2011
1:20 pm

Excuse me…that’s $14 Trillion National Debt. Pardon the typo.

DannyX

August 15th, 2011
1:25 pm

“Does Mr Buffet know, he is welcome at any time to write a HUGE check made payable to: The US Treasury?”

Its so easy to play that game. No wonder nothing ever happens. For instance, As head of the Republican Governors Association our very own Sonny Perdue fired off a letter to Obama demanding MORE stimulus dollars. Every single Republican governor signed the letter, including Gov Rick Perry of Texas who used stimulus money to balance his state budget.

In the mean time, Republican Congressmen were putting on a unanimous big show, demanding an end to the stimulus spending. Same thing is happening right now. Our current governor was begging for pork a day after the deficit deal. Deal has gone to Washington begging for money on behalf of three different projects. He’s been governor for 6 months!!! Tea Party Republicans are also demanding pork.

Anyone can play that game. That’s why nothing gets done.

Shared sacrifice??????

August 15th, 2011
1:26 pm

Funny, no mention of the 47% that pay ZERO in Federal Income tax. Shared sacrifice my a@@.

DannyX

August 15th, 2011
1:28 pm

“It was NOT The Tea Party that ammassed the $14 National Debt.”

Was that meant as sarcasm?

Dollar Bill

August 15th, 2011
1:31 pm

Wow. He really did it. Mr. Buffet wrote a check for 5 Billion made out to Uncle Sam.

TBell

August 15th, 2011
1:32 pm

Warren Buffet stands out like many great Americans before him by knowing the facts. In the great depression, the wealthy, the politician’s and the world came to together to get the country on track because when America is on track the world is better economically. I just wish we had the type of people today willing to make the changes individually as well as collectively for the better of this great free nation we live in. We forget this liberty was paid with a price.

Same ol

August 15th, 2011
1:34 pm

Quick! DannyX don’t forget Medicare Part D! The $14 Trillion debt was there BEFORE The Tea Party.

The fact is....

August 15th, 2011
1:36 pm

Dollar Bill

August 15th, 2011
1:31 pm
“Wow. He really did it. Mr. Buffet wrote a check for 5 Billion made out to Uncle Sam.”

Well, let him write some more!

deegee

August 15th, 2011
1:37 pm

For those of you that think that Warren Buffett should be writing big fat checks to the IRS, here is the other part of the issue. No one wants to be the only schmoe paying 33% to the government. Warren Buffett advocates for a simpler tax code that strips away the inequitable tax loopholes and deductions. Make the rates reasonable and make everyone in the same income bracket pay the same rate.

DannyX

August 15th, 2011
1:44 pm

Nope. Medicare Part D was already there. Of course so are hundreds of Republican retreads now talking all Tea Party crazy.

Lets start with the easy one, Michelle Bachmann. The Tea Party princess. She has been gobbling up federal dollars for YEARS!!! Her husband is scheming Medicare funds. To this day she is writing letters demanding more pork for her district. Billionaires love Bachmann.

By the way, exactly when is the socialist Medicare Part D repeal bill going to surface in the House?

The Least of These

August 15th, 2011
1:45 pm

Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they’d been long-term investors.

All kind of sweat equity tied up in those short-stock brokers. Generations of family sweat equity tied into those day trades… I’m sure that is the reason why they are so resistent to pay a fair share of taxes… because their great Granddad Cleofus used his hands and the ole family mule to short that stock, right? The crazy thing is that those same folk also drive down people’s 401K savings plans that are supposed to bethe principle retirement fund (so that folk don’t have to heavily lean on entitlement programs). So they essentially hurt the ability to be “self-sufficient” while using loopholes to reduce funding for Social Security which can supplement retirement funds. A vicious circle of unholy behavior. Some how when asking WWJD, I doubt the answer is “screw the old folk and keep the dough”.

The fact is....

August 15th, 2011
1:49 pm

A bit of a hack aren’t you Danny boy. You insinuate REPS/Conservatives/Tea Party are scraming for pork, yet you’ve never had a problem with LIB/DEM pork. Why is that?

Disgusted Republican

August 15th, 2011
1:50 pm

Hey Danny X! If you want to know where you can get a 2 million dollar signature loan you might ask Congressman Tom Graves and his State Senate partner. Might not have to pay it back either if you can use the old ruse that the lender should have knon you couldn’t pay it back when he/she loaned it to you. Of coursev it helps if you are in a position to do him/her special favors!

deegee

August 15th, 2011
1:53 pm

What about the fact that old folks can’t make anything on their CDs and Money Market funds? They took a bath on their stock funds. They can’t make anything on their bond funds but the banks are doing very well lending each other money at 0 interest. WWJD? Screw the old folks and keep the dough.

The REAL fact is

August 15th, 2011
1:54 pm

The fact is….

you’re right. The Tea Party sat on their hands in mass silence as the President they elected amassed a huge portion of the $14 National Debt. But as soon as they lose power then OH MY GAWD something must be done.

Maybe you could use some history lessons.

Same ol.

August 15th, 2011
1:55 pm

“By the way, exactly when is the socialist Medicare Part D repeal bill going to surface in the House?”

Don’t you know? The closest thing to eternal life on earth, is a Government Program?

Centrist

August 15th, 2011
2:00 pm

I’m all for “balance” in debt reduction schemes – but aimed here:

Tens of thousands in the top .02% of incomes earning over $1 million a year pay no or little in taxes – that AMT didn’t catch them like middle class taxpayers. Those capital gains, credits, loopholes, and trusts were made for them. Here is where we get to the TRULY wealthy that Obama now says should pay a greater share of taxes – but they are the influential protected class of Senators, and campaign contributors with their incomes mostly from much lower capital gains rates. We are talking about only one out of every 500 taxpayers. Even if they could be made to pay a “fair share”, there not enough of them to dent our debt problem.

The top .01% make over $2 million a year. THESE are the mega-rich spotted owls Buffet is referencing.

The fact is..

August 15th, 2011
2:03 pm

The REAL fact is

August 15th, 2011
1:54 pm

And what exactly was The Community Organizer’s “Plan” for the National Debt. Please explain.

DixieDemons

August 15th, 2011
2:05 pm

@ Sames ol

“Don’t you know? The closest thing to eternal life on earth, is a Government Program?”

Or Federal Employment ( they get a 2% COLA just because their name is on the payroll and another 3% raise if they show up for work more days than they miss ) this keeps on going until they die.

DannyX

August 15th, 2011
2:06 pm

“Hey Danny X! If you want to know where you can get a 2 million dollar signature loan you might ask Congressman Tom Graves and his State Senate partner.”

Oh my. Is this some sort of mistake???? These fine Republicans are Tea Party. You know, “We The People.” They must have had a constitutional right to that generous bank loan. We the people get those types of loans all the time. Everybody has their own no-bid government contacts too, right?

You don’t think they will get primarried do you? Isn’t that illegal in Georgia?

Barney Frank

August 15th, 2011
2:09 pm

Hey DannyX, my dear, sweet friend. It was Chris Dodd and I who made where ANYBODY can get a home loan!! Wasn’t that great? Why heck, didn’t even need to see a W2. It’s your “right” to have a home!

Centrist

August 15th, 2011
2:13 pm

Republican leaders don’t want ANY tax increases. Democrats want to lump professionals and small business owners who make hundred of thousands a year as “rich” in with the TRULY rich who make at least 10 times in the millions per year.

At least Obama moved to the middle ground – but the Democratic Senators who would get pinched screamed like the stuck pigs they are – and queered the deal of $800 million in loophole and deduction closures that Obama and Boehner had tentatively agreed upon.

WAW

August 15th, 2011
2:17 pm

What if Mr Buffet decided to run for President? I can just imagine what you TP & (R) folks would have to say to spin the truth. No I wouldn’t, you just tried above here and look stupid.

DannyX

August 15th, 2011
2:19 pm

LOL!!! Barney Frank!!! Barney Frank!!!

Barney Frank pinned Tom and Chip down forcing them to submit to the terms!!!

Barney Frank!!! LMAO!! I can’t wait to see that in their campaign literature!

Chip for Congress! Reelect Tom.

Barney Frank

August 15th, 2011
2:22 pm

DannyX —MUAH!

Eye Roll

August 15th, 2011
2:24 pm

This is not the first time in recent years that Buffet has made this sort of comment regarding his wealth and that of his friends. Go ahead … put up or shut up Mr Buffet. Walk the walk, Mr. Billionaire Next Door! Your Net Jets is ready when you are to head to DC!

The REAL fact is

August 15th, 2011
2:24 pm

The fact is….

That’d take more time than I care to devote to blogging. Just thought I’d take a moment and point out your hypocrisy.

DixieDemons

August 15th, 2011
2:25 pm

Can we agree that GOTP are not intellectual heavyweights ?

It is ok for the US Govt to borrow money to bail out Wall Street, AIG, Fannie & Freddy, GM , Dodge, this bank that bank and the other bank,greedy home owners, dollars for dishwashers etc, etc, etc . But when it comes time to borrow some more to pay the interest on the money you borrowed because the corporations you gave it to have not paid you back, it is a problem for the nation ????? If we had let these unethical Rapacious GOP Huckster controlled corporations go under we would not be in this situation today.

Centrist

August 15th, 2011
2:26 pm

Pretending that Graves and Rogers got a “signature loan” that wasn’t backed by real estate that fell with the rest of bubble is partisan politics. The bank SETTLED, but partisans never will.

Alt Min

August 15th, 2011
2:28 pm

Have any of you on this blog ever made over $200K? I didn’t think so.

Carry on with you wealth envy. You have no idea what “rich” is!

Centrist

August 15th, 2011
2:30 pm

We really probably should raise taxes across the board. The rich are taxed far too little, the middle class is taxed slightly too little, and something needs to be done about that half of the country that is not paying taxes at all.

I keep hearing that corporations are taxed too much…and then all of this crap about taxation making American uncompetitive. Remember what those taxes buy. Education, infrastructure, and security. These baby-boomer brats need to wake up, same goes for the GOP and especially the Tea Party. We will be much less competitive if we keep allowing education to slip, if we let our infrastructure crumble, and if our idea of security is solely confined to the military industrial complex.

Jobs are sent overseas because of payrolls, not because of taxes. Also, corporations are only taxed on the profits they pocket…not those they reinvest. If my company makes a profit of $100k this year and I let it sit in a bank account then all of it gets taxed. If I purchase new equipment to make my business more efficient (computers, vehicles, software, property, etc) I lower the tax burden.

In a good tax regime, corporate profits taxes will act as the “Sword of Damocles.”

Only one taxation regime taxes investment, the FairTax.

The fact is..

August 15th, 2011
2:30 pm

The REAL fact is

August 15th, 2011
2:24 pm
The fact is….

“That’d take more time than I care to devote to blogging. Just thought I’d take a moment and point out your hypocrisy.”

LMAO!!! Talk about hypocrisy! LOL! You know and everyone else knows, he didn’t even HAVE a plan!

John Galt

August 15th, 2011
2:32 pm

Why must it be extorted? Let Buffet make a donation, make it public, and challenge his friends to do the same-

JustMe

August 15th, 2011
2:35 pm

If they don’t have a problem with paying more then why does some piddling little tea party member who probably doesn’t even cross the $50K mark?

The fact is..

August 15th, 2011
2:41 pm

JustMe

August 15th, 2011
2:35 pm
If they don’t have a problem with paying more then why does some piddling little tea party member who probably doesn’t even cross the $50K mark?

And you base your statement on any fact?

Centrist

August 15th, 2011
2:41 pm

The post under my “Centrist” screen name above @ 2:30 was made by an imposter. Although I agree with his FairTax which the TRULY rich, politicians who live by tax code gifts to their contributors, and socialists will never allow to happen – I do NOT agree we should “raise taxes across the board”.

Look at the title headline of this blog that references “billionaires”. Democrats who advocate raising taxes “on the rich” really mean the professional class and small business earned income – job killing tax increases in the name of “fairness” and class envy. The truly rich with unearned income (with the exception of Buffet) will lobby BOTH party politicians to be spared – and they will be heard.

The fact is..

August 15th, 2011
2:42 pm

JustMe

But then again, you’re talking of spending another person’s money, not yours.

Young Lady

August 15th, 2011
2:48 pm

@Why must it be extorted? Let Buffet make a donation, make it public, and challenge his friends to do the same-

So taxes are a donation and not a law now? I guess that explains a lot about billionaires.