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August 15, 2011

Note To Warren Buffett -- Cut The Check

Once again, we have a self-righteous rich guy demanding that government force him to give more money to the government.

In a New York Times op-ed on Monday, titled “Stop Coddling the Rich,” Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway’s chair and CEO, said he and his “mega-rich” friends have been spared the “shared sacrifice” the country’s leaders have asked for as the country veers toward a double-dip recession.

“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,” he wrote.

“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.”

He observes that investment managers earn billions, but only pay a 15 percent tax rate.

Buffett said his 2010 tax bill, including income and payroll taxes, totaled $6,938,744 — or 17.4 percent of his taxable income. Most people in his office pay 33 to 41 percent, he said.

Let me remind Mr. Buffett of a couple of things.

First, if he is truly paying taxes at that rate, it probably is because he is availing himself of a lot of tax breaks and shelters that are legal under the laws of the United States. He doesn't have to use them -- nor does he have to take every deduction that he is legally entitled to. That he does indicates he is paying less by choice.

But more to the point, if Warren Buffett thinks he is under-paying, he does have an option -- cut a check to the US Government and mail it to the following address.

Gifts to the United States
U.S. Department of the Treasury
Credit Accounting Branch
3700 East-West Highway, Room 622D
Hyattsville, MD 20782

Heck -- there is even a handy online form that will let you surrender that ill-gotten wealth to Uncle Sam without the time and expense of using a paper check.

Seriously, Warren, put your money where your mouth is. make the sacrifice voluntarily, rather than demanding that government force you to. In other words, live by your stated principles and show that you are the sort of patriot that you claim to be -- or admit that you lack the testicular fortitude to do what you believe is the right thing without the threat jackboot of government on your throat and a gun to your head to make you do it.

ADDENDUM: I can't help but note that Warren Buffett didn't have the manhood to rise to this same challenge when I put it to him last November when he whined about the same issue. But then I'm not surprised -- he didn't do it back in October of 2007 when he complained about being under-taxed and i offered the same suggestion. Nor did he do so the other two times when I posted this address for allegedly "patriotic millionaires" who believe government isn't confiscating enough of their wealth -- but aren't patriotic enough to make the payment voluntarily.





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Comments on Note To Warren Buffett -- Cut The Check

I think someone missed the point. I suggest critical thinking before writing.

|| Posted by Get Real, August 15, 2011 11:12 AM ||

If you are reading this blog, you are poor. Since you are poor, you could benefit by agreeing with Buffett. It is not healthy to imagine yourself wealthy (either because of ego or in comparison to the TeeVee commercials you watch). The top 2% of taxpayers are keeping the entire 98% of America from progress. Look at your reality - not the reality you wish you had.

|| Posted by Jimbo, August 15, 2011 11:32 AM ||

"I think someone missed the point. I suggest critical thinking before writing.

|| Posted by Get Real, August 15, 2011 11:12 AM ||"

YES! Definitely missed the point.

|| Posted by Sobadiash, August 15, 2011 11:32 AM ||

Why is it I don't have the option to pay at 17%, and pay more "if I want to?" That way I could feel patriotic too!

|| Posted by Steve, August 15, 2011 02:17 PM ||

Hey -- I agree that the rest of us are overtaxed. We should cut EVERYONE'S tax rate to 17%, and cut government accordingly.

Well, not exactly -- we should also raise the rates of the 47% of Americans who pay $0 in income taxes to get them up to 17%

But as for Buffett -- if he feels he is underpaying, he has the option to put his money where his mouth is by writing a check for the difference. Unfortunately, for all his years complaining, he has failed to do that -- proving he really doesn't feel like he has a duty to pay more.

|| Posted by Rhymes With Right, August 15, 2011 03:46 PM ||

And let's be honest -- Buffett's argument would be significantly more persuasive if he did, in fact, put his money where his mouth is on this one.

|| Posted by Rhymes With Right, August 15, 2011 03:51 PM ||

Buffett is making policy recommendation, not suggesting charity. The U.S. is bogged down in two wars, is overextended financially, and if it wants to maintain a minimal safety net, it will have to raise taxes somewhat, as well as restructure the the safety net. This is the first time the U.S. has been at war where it cut taxes rather than raise them.

|| Posted by Zachriel, August 17, 2011 09:10 AM ||

And I'm arguing that Buffett, who claims he is not paying enough to the US government, is taking advantage of every provision of the tax code that allows him to allow him to lower his tax liability.

What's more, he has been putting forward this same argument for the last several years, constantly lamenting that he is underpaying.

Warren Buffett would have a whole lot more moral authority behind his argument if he quit structuring his finances to avoid taxes AND/OR wrote a check for the additional amount he believes he should be paying (maybe doing so retrospectively to cover the lower rates he has been paying since the Bush tax cuts).

But since he won't, it is clear that he lacks the integrity to live by his principles every bit as much as a crusader for chastity who makes her living as a prostitute.

|| Posted by Rhymes With Right, August 17, 2011 03:50 PM ||

Hello, Rhymes With Right.

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|| Posted by Zachriel, August 22, 2011 07:15 AM ||

You mean just like Michelle Bachman denounces government handouts as she and her husband pocket $150,000/yr for his "cure teh gay" clinic?

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I'd argue that there is a fundamental difference -- the mental health clinic (which deals with much more than you claim it does) provides a service to patients. Some of those patients are on government programs, and therefore the clinic receives payments from the government. You would be complaining if the clinic refused to provide services for poor patients, so your argument itself is weak.

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