Warren Buffett Has Called Obama's Bluff
Published: August 17, 2011 at 10:33 am
In his class-warfare campaign, the President has been talking about "millionaires and billionaires," as if they were somehow equally mega-rich.
But Warren Buffett has now changed the dynamics with his open challenge to Obama to raise taxes on billionaires, “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.”
As a child born and raised in bone-crushing poverty in the rural farming communities of Tennessee, I know what it is like to be homeless, hungry, and suffering from an aching deficit of self-esteem. I also know what it is like to be a soldier during a time of war. Throughout my time living in poverty, there is one important lesson I learned. You never refuse an offer of a substantial cash gift from one of the world's riches men.
It is clear that the President has received a wonderful gift--an invitation from the king of the mega-rich,Warren Buffett, to raise taxes on billionaires.
America is deeply in debt. We are a country short on cash. Who in Congress would dare deny a request from one of the world's richest men to riase taxes on billionaires?
The arrogance of Warren Buffet’s comment is also disturbing. It is embarrassingly condescending to regular working families.
Congress and the President should stop talking about raising taxes on "millionaires and billionaires," and start talking about a wealth tax on all assets of people with one billion or more in net worth.
Warren Buffett, in his statement, defined the difference between millionaires and billionaires very clearly. Billionaires are the "mega-rich."
Comparing millionaires to billionaires was flawed from the start. It is a lot like comparing the world's largest yacht owner to the humble owner of a small fisherman’s boat.
Make no mistake about it, you will never hear fishermen begging Washington to raise their taxes.
But, billionaires like Warren Buffet are powerful figures, capable of arranging a meeting with the President of the United States. Either Warren Buffet was serious, in which case the President should take him up on his offer immediately. Or, Warren Buffet was bluffing and does not want Congress to raise his taxes. Perhaps he was merely attempting to bolster President Obama's class warfare argument.
Let’s compare billionaires to millionaires. The progression of wealth in the U.S. can best be illustrated by the following:
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1. Ten People holding a ten dollar bill each would collectively have one hundred dollars.
2. Ten People holding a one hundred dollars each would collectively have one thousand dollars.
3. One thousand People holding one thousand dollars each would collectively have one million dollars.
4. One thousand People holding one million dollars each would collectively have one billion dollars.