Warren Buffett’s Financial Incentive to Push for Higher Taxes

by Stephan Tawney on August 17, 2011
Did I say “financial incentive”? Why yes, yes I did. It turns out that Mr. Buffett — new liberal hero thanks to his push for higher taxes on the “rich” — isn’t really a disinterested party:
Buffett Profits from Taxes He Supports
Buffett regularly lobbies for higher estate taxes. He also has repeatedly bought up family businesses forced to sell because the heirs’ death-tax bill exceeded the business’s liquid assets. He owns life insurance companies that rely on the death tax in order to sell their estate-planning businesses.
Buffett Profits from Government Spending
Buffett made about a billion dollars off of the Wall Street bailout by investing in Goldman Sachs on the assumption Uncle Sam would bail it out. He also is planning investments in ethanol giant ADM and government-contracting leviathan General Dynamics.
Buffett not only profits when family businesses go under thanks to heavy tax burdens, but he also benefits when the government has more money to spend. And now you can understand why he lobbies for higher, economy-crushing taxes. It makes him more money.
Furthermore, Michael Arrington of TechCrunch notes:
Then I figured it out. As I wrote then, the super rich won’t mind at all if we “tax the rich” as it’s currently defined. That’s because people who are super rich don’t really pay taxes. They pay taxes on this year’s income, and capital gains on accumulated wealth. But the only “tax” that can ever touch what they’ve already made is inflation.
That’s why a man worth $47 billion dollars can pay just $6,938,744 in federal income taxes and not be accused of a crime. In fact, he can boast about how little he pays, and ask to be charged even more.
That man is Warren Buffett. And his article in today’s NY Times, titled “Stop Coddling The Super Rich” is a huge pile of manipulative garbage. The super rich love to talk about higher taxes on the rich because it’s a competitive barrier protecting them from competition. If the people making a lot of money today have to pay much higher taxes, they probably won’t ever accumulate enough wealth to be “super rich.”
Now if you really want to screw the rich, start talking about a wealth tax. It won’t save the economy but it’ll certainly serve to even everything out. Buffett wants a higher tax rate on himself and anyone making $1 million or more per year. If you doubled the tax rate on these people, someone making $1 million a year would lose another $380,000 to the government.
And here’s where Arrington really hits the nail. Pay attention:
Buffett is just fine with big new taxes on the rich because those taxes never touch all the under-taxed wealth he’s accumulated over the decades. He talks about how he’s benefited for decades by being under taxed, but is only willing to pay more in the future. That’s like a steroids-ridden baseball player declaring that steroids are bad and from now on no one gets to take them. But paying for past sins? Shhh.
Buffett only wants higher taxes on the “rich” now that he’s super-rich. A slight tax increase on new wealth? What does that mean to a guy worth $47 billion?
What he wants is other people — people who aren’t yet really “rich” or “super-rich” — getting the shaft. Why? Because it stops them from threatening his position — both personal and business. He only wants to lock out new entrants now that he’s inside.

One thought on “Warren Buffett’s Financial Incentive to Push for Higher Taxes

  1. Nothing surprising.

    The super rich and big business are almost all in a mutually dependent relationship with the State. Feeding off taxpayer money.

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