The Right Coast

Editor: Thomas A. Smith
University of San Diego
School of Law

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Friday, November 30, 2012

When Warren Went Left: The Ideological Seduction Of Warren Buffett - Forbes

Every year he says the rich pay too little, and less than the middle class. Every year conservative think tanks and pundits go to work tearing the reasoning to pieces, and every year Mr. Buffett ignores their reasoning.

Maybe it’s time for us to consider the idea that the usually very rational Buffett is in this case not reasoning at all, but simply emoting. That by adopting the Buffett Rule as the new operating principle of American tax reform, we’re not tapping into the best that his higher brain functions have to offer, but instead taking his own private psycho-drama of paternal conflict and hard coding it into the law of the land.

You see, Mr. Buffett is the son of Howard Buffett, the Ron Paul of the WWII generation.  Howard Buffett ran for Congress in 1942 as a harsh critic of the New Deal, and surprisingly, he won. He was an ardent libertarian, friend of Murray Rothbard, and an entrepreneur who built his own stock brokerage firm. He gave gold jewelry as gifts to the women in his life, not principally for adornment purposes, but as an investment against paper money. The Buffetts were committed Christians, members of a conservative Presbyterian Church.

Buffett rebelled against his father. According to Roger Lowenstein’s biography, “Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist”, if memory serves me correctly, Warren actually visited his sick father in the hospital to announce his shift to liberalism and to the Democratic party, a sure and cruel blow to his father, a four term Congressman who had lost his seat.


His psychodrama, our money. --TS

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"Every year conservative think tanks and pundits go to work tearing the reasoning to pieces"

I smell epistemic closure. Note that the article fails to give any reasons Buffet is wrong. But then it's often easier to try to diminish the messenger than to take on the message.

Posted by: keynesian | Nov 30, 2012 2:19:41 PM

Mr. Buffet is famous for advocating higher taxes on the wealthy. That's fine, but he has a way of avoiding most taxes himself, according to a recent article. He even plans to give away his estate, at death, to the Gates foundation, as long as the transaction is non-taxable.

I have a little tax proposal myself: An annual tax of 5% on all accumulated wealth over $1Billion. That would be fair, wouldn't it? In Buffet's case it would amount to over $2Billion in the first year. I'd like to hear his response to that proposal.

Posted by: Jim M | Dec 1, 2012 12:20:42 PM

Why start at $1 Billion? Make it a graduated tax starting at a few million and a smaller % and we have a deal!

Posted by: keynesian | Dec 3, 2012 9:15:32 AM