Few have the guts to speak the truth

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-25-2006
Few have the guts to speak the truth
71
Mon, 08-15-2011 - 10:40am

Here's one who does:

Stop coddling the super-rich: Buffett
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9:05am EDT

BANGALORE (Reuters) - Billionaire Warren Buffett urged U.S. lawmakers to raise taxes on the country's super-rich to help cut the budget deficit, saying such a move will not hurt investments.

"My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It's time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice," The 80-year-old "Oracle of Omaha" wrote in an opinion article in The New York Times.

Buffett, one of the world's richest men and chairman of conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway Inc , said his federal tax bill last year was $6,938,744.

"That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income - and that's actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent," he said.

Lawmakers engaged in a partisan battle over spending and taxes for more than three months before agreeing on August 2 to raise the $14.3 trillion U.S. debt ceiling, avoiding a U.S. default.

"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," Buffett said.

Buffett said higher taxes for the rich will not discourage investment.

"I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone - not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 - shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain," he said

"People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off."

(Reporting by Santosh Nadgir; Editing by David Holmes)



http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/08/15/us-buffett-tax-idUSTRE77E13V20110815

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http://www.pnhp.org/news/2009/october/meet_the_new_health_.php

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQTBYQlQ7yM

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-27-2009
Thu, 08-18-2011 - 3:06pm
Those tax cuts had limited effect, but they did have an initial positive impact. Do you really think that economic conditions are that easily manipulated?
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-27-2009
Thu, 08-18-2011 - 3:08pm
Buffett may be right, but he is a hypocrite. He doesn't have to take advantage of one single tax loop hole to lower his tax burden, but he does. He has the option to put his money where his mouth is and give to the US gov. to lower the debt, and he doesn't.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-22-2003
Thu, 08-18-2011 - 3:17pm

'Buffet may be right, but he is a hypocrite"

Actually, I disagree that he is a hypocrite. He has to take advantage to remain competitive. But it is the responsibility of congress and President to create a level playing field and enable free market system with a sound justice system that protects property rights and sound corporate governance. Just the way oil execs are not wrong in taking tax credits and making billions of dollars in profits, it is the congress that has created tax subsidies for that industry. Same way, organic food is way expensive because inorganic farming gets lot of subsidies and that makes it cheaper for consumer to buy inorganic compared to organic food. Removing those farm subsidies will create a level playing field and consumers will benefit from cheaper and healthier food which will improve health of the citizens and reduce health costs (hopefully) :-)

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-27-2009
Thu, 08-18-2011 - 3:44pm
We're going to disagree on this one then.

He's complaining about being coddled by the tax structure, yet he takes advantage of it when he doesn't have to. Just because others use it doesn't require his participation. If he feels strongly he could set an example and not use loop hole to lower his tax burden. If he really thinks that as a billionaire he should have a higher tax burden then he could give freely of his money instead of waiting for the government to take it by regulation (equal to force).

"Removing those farm subsidies will create a level playing field and consumers will benefit from cheaper and healthier food which will improve health of the citizens and reduce health costs (hopefully) :-)"

Explain to me how removing subsidies will lower food costs. I've always been under the impression that the point of subsidies was to keep food costs low and stable.

iVillage Member
Registered: 10-25-2006
Thu, 08-18-2011 - 4:25pm

Maybe Warren Buffet doesn't want to voluntarily pay more in taxes because he knows that, without a change in the tax law and without a change in our current military engagements, it'll just end up in the pockets of other billionares; or in corporate investments in China and India; or poured into war efforts to destroy and rebuild around the globe..

-----------------------------------------------
http://www.pnhp.org/news/2009/october/meet_the_new_health_.php

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQTBYQlQ7yM

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-22-2003
Thu, 08-18-2011 - 4:43pm

Any subsidies lower prices artifcially by suppressing competition. If the actual cost of producing food is higher but the seller is able to sell at lower price because government is paying for the difference, he is at a undue advantage compared to others who

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-04-2001
Thu, 08-18-2011 - 6:41pm

I would disagree.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-27-2009
Thu, 08-18-2011 - 7:25pm
I agree that subsidies need to end, and your point about new business development benefiting from tax breaks. I still don't understand the rationale that ending subsidies will necessarily lower prices so that people will eat healthier, if anything there needs to be incentive to produce fruits and vegetables, in place of the over subsidized corn and grains.

You make sound points on Buffett and competition, and I also agree with you that loop holes need to be closed before tax rates are increased. I read an article on this topic since Buffett's comments, the author seemed to think that the end result of raising taxes would be a hit on the middle class and that it would not stop with billionaires and millionaires as Buffett promotes. I can't remember the details, if I can find the article- and remember to look for it too, as I can't do it now, I'll post it.
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-09-2011
Thu, 08-18-2011 - 8:35pm

"Maybe Warren Buffet doesn't want to voluntarily pay more in taxes because he knows that, without a change in the tax law and without a change in our current military engagements, it'll just end up in the pockets of other billionares; or in corporate investments in China and India; or poured into war efforts to destroy and rebuild around the globe.."

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-22-2003
Thu, 08-18-2011 - 11:48pm
Lanie,

I agree with you partly. There are always going to be people in the world who are careless, but I don't think you can say that "too many people don'r want to take care of their own families" for sure. We don't know the stats. Some people may not have the strength to get out of a bad environment or ways and means. Also we cannot lump all businessmen in that category. Businessmen have to take risk in everything they do. If they don't take risk they will never grow their companies and we will not enjoy the economic progress we have had so far over decades. But one can never tell how much or what level of risk is right. It is not always black and whte in business world as well as people's lives. I agree that we need to minimize or eliminate waste and fraud in social programs, but even that is at cost. Cost benefit analysis must be done in order to determine what is level of waste and fraud we can tolerate. If it cost lot more to eliminate it completely as compared to the amount of money taken fraudulently, then it is better to just minimize it to an acceptable level. There are opportunity costs associated with every choices we make and don't make. One should always take the option with lowest opportunity cost.

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