As an investor, Warren Buffett has few peers.
As a philanthropist, he is second only to Bill Gates.
As a tax advisor, Mr. Buffett is misguided.
In a letter to the NY Times on Sunday, Mr. Buffett tells of checking with his “mega rich” pals to determine if they, like he, have benefited from “extraordinary btax breaks” along with “other blessing showered upon us (them) by legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us (them).” Did he really need to ask? The sycophants in Washington protect Buffett and his “mega rich” pals because they collectively exert an “unfair” influence over elected officials. Politicians only coddle influential constituents, stop sending them campaign checks and the “blessing and protection” they’ve previously showered would soon dry up.
For a man who has made billions for himself and investors analyzing companies, his half baked solution to the government’s debt and the plight of the poor and middle classes is alarming. The United States does not have a revenue problem; it has a spending problem. Until the parasites in Washington acknowledge this and make substantial reductions to expenditures, no amount of additional revenue will suffice. Simply raising taxes (fair or otherwise) is moronic, they would merely devise other ways to spend it.
Here, are some suggestions that might actually yield results worthy of discussion. Note, none of them requires government intervention.
- Create real jobs in America. Jobs in industries that create lasting value for families and communities rather than exploit “efficiencies” and “float.” Buffett made the bulk of his money with insurance and financial companies, companies that do not produce anything but simply extract a fee from society. Perhaps he could use some of those profits to restore meaningful jobs in industries like agriculture and manufacturing (of goods we need, not crap for landfills).
- Encourage the development of a healthy economy rather than a growing one. An economy where all resources, waste, and costs are accounted and paid by users rather than shouldered by the poor and middle classes. To quote Liberty Hyde Bailey, “Finance and social morals must coincide.”
- Deal with problems directly. How often are government programs regarded as efficient and well run? Why accept the waste? See it fix it, or see it fund it. Develop a nationwide network of non profits to replace as many government agencies as possible.
If Mr. Buffett and his buddies are altruistic in their desire to help the country, the time for suggestions to “12 members of Congress” is long past. Now is the time to do something. Writing letters is easy. Actions, as they say, are louder than words.
What would you suggest?
The full text of Buffett’s letter is here.