What do you think about the Buffet rule?

Cooper Wesley Warren ‏ @cwesleywarren: what do you think about the Buffet rule?


I’m not sure what “the Buffett Rule” is. There’s two things I’ve heard about in relationship to Buffett’s Rules that he’s tried to inflict on the masses:

A) let’s tax more people because, for some reason, Warren Buffett pays a smaller percentage of his taxes than his secretary.

B) everyone should give all of their wealth to charity and not leave anything to their children.

There’s a story: Warren Buffett was giving Katherine Graham (the publisher of the Washington Post) a tour of Zales Jewelry Store in Omaha. Buffett owned the store.

Graham noticed that there was a necklace labeled “Buffett”. She asked a sales clerk about it. The sales clerk said, “oh yeah, that’s a necklace that Buffett’s daughter has on a layaway plan. Only 20 more payments and she’ll get the necklace.”

Graham made Buffett buy the necklace for his daughter. From his own store.

I am not like Warren Buffett. Money can’t strangle me. Can’t strangle my family. I’ve let it before but I won’t let it again.

So Buffett wants us all to pay this or that taxes. Wants us all to not leave money to our kids. Wants us all to give everything to charity.

I have a few comments:

A) Buffett can always write a bigger check to the government so that his percentage of taxes equals his secretaries. That’s perfectly within the law.

B) Berkshire Hathaway is in an ongoing dispute with the IRS because they refuse to pay certain taxes.

C) Buffett has given quite a bit to charity. Not only to Bill Gates’ Foundation but to foundations for his kids. I think each kid got $3 billion in a foundation. Which means (in my limited understanding of Foundation math) that they can probably pull $90 million a year out in salary per year. Not so bad for them. I think they can probably survive without the “help” of their father.

My main comment, though is: If Warren Buffett can keep his hand out of my wallet then I promise to keep my hand out of his wallet.

[Note: I looked it up. The Buffett Rule refers to taxing people a minimum tax of 30% for people who make over one million a year. I guess this means they should be taxed this regardless of whether or not it was income (which is taxed at 28% anyway or long-term capital gains (which is taxed at 15%). I have no real opinion on this but it does seem that if you really wanted to get back to a budget surplus then I would focus on cutting government than on dipping into the wallets of the people who actually invest in building the American economy (or Derek Jeter).]