Warren Buffett, one of the world’s richest individuals, wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times in which he called for higher taxes on the mega-rich. This has been a standard line of his for years. Buffett is an Obama lover and he is a statist (or do I repeat myself).
Today, Pat Buchanan challenged Buffett to send a check for $5 billion to the federal government, since the man has about $40 billion in net worth (link via Drudge).
We’ll have to see if Buffett responds, but he has actually been challenged on this before. In an interview a few years back, Becky Quick of CNBC questioned Buffett on this exact thing.
Buffett responded, “Well, that’s a choice and it’s an option that… If I had to give it to a single individual, or make some young Buffett a multi-billionaire, or give it to the government, I’d absolutely give it to the government. I think that on balance the Gates Foundation, my daughter’s foundation, my two sons’ foundations, will do a better job with lower administrative costs and better selection of beneficiaries than the government.”
So there you have it. Buffett thinks he can spend his money better than his government. He thinks that his donations to his charities of choice are smarter than having the government use it for charity. But why doesn’t he think everyone else is capable of this? Does he think that only he is smart enough to pick good charities? Or perhaps he is concerned that some people might not donate enough to charity?
In his editorial, Buffett actually uses the term “mega-rich”. So he is not just talking about he rich, but the mega-rich. So when he is concerned about charitable giving, he is really targeting people like his buddy, Bill Gates.
Buffett is trying to play the class warfare card in a different way. He is trying to look heroic by calling for higher taxes because he is in this elite few. It is the same thing as many Hollywood celebrities do. They are either trying to relieve their guilt or look good in the eyes of their audience.
Buffett’s tactics won’t work with most people. Many people will ask the same question that Pat Buchanan asked. Unless Buffett actually puts his money where his mouth is, he will look like a fool and a hypocrite.
It is a shame that Warren Buffett is such a cheerleader for big government. His father, Howard Buffett, was one of the greatest politicians of the 20th century from everything that I’ve read. I can only think of one congressman who has been any better.