Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Who's Going to Build a Better America?

Here's the answer from the 2nd richest man in America...
Stop Coddling the Super-Rich

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….
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….

—Warren E. Buffett, New York Times, August 12, 2011

The above is from a post by Jeff Mathews quoting an article by Warren Buffet in the NY Times. Here's more from Matthews:
Warren Buffett is the most successful investor of his times, possessing not only one of the most rational minds in the business but also the uncanny ability to frame the cloudiest issue in a crisp, clear frame that makes whatever he’s talking about sound, well, pretty rational.

And while today’s op-ed piece sounds pretty rational, the more interesting aspect is that it unleashes a new aspect to Buffett’s tax “fairness” campaign: he takes off the figurative gloves and talks about what he would do if he ran the joint.

Among these are “pare down some future promises that even a rich America can’t fulfill,” “leave rates for 99.7 percent of taxpayers unchanged,” “continue the current…reduction in the employee contribution to the payroll tax,” and “raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million…”

Whether Buffett’s prescription is what America needs, let alone whether it will work, we make no judgment on here.

We’re more interested in why he’s taking off the gloves now.

And the reason—at least based on a close reading of “Stop Coddling the Super-Rich”—is that Warren Buffett is getting worried:
Twelve members of Congress will soon take on the crucial job of rearranging our country’s finances. They’ve been instructed to devise a plan that reduces the 10-year deficit by at least $1.5 trillion. It’s vital, however, that they achieve far more than that. Americans are rapidly losing faith in the ability of Congress to deal with our country’s fiscal problems. Only action that is immediate, real and very substantial will prevent that doubt from morphing into hopelessness. That feeling can create its own reality.
I wonder, however, if a guy with $40+ billion is as worried as he claims, why doesn't he write a $1 billion check to the Democratic party to run candidates to oppose the rightward drift in US government? Why doesn't he put his money where his mouth is?

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