16 thoughts on “More On Buffett/Gates”

  1. No businessman wants freedom in his own markets. In his suppliers, certainly, competition is good. And definitely among his customers. But his own? Heaven forfend.

  2. I’d love to see Bill and Warren’s opinion of a direct tax on wealth, instead of income. Maybe they should bring it up with their Democrat friends. After all, it would be more fair and equitable.

  3. Yeah, it stuns me how few people know that. Or that free markets first suggested by the guy that said, “People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in the contrivance to raise prices.” (http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Adam_Smith)

    I wonder if Gates and Buffett’s meetings consist of “merriment and diversion” or “meet[ing] together”?

  4. I think these guys are no longer even in the class of employer where you can say, “…but if we tax the rich by anymore, they won’t have money enough to hire more employees” .

    Hell’s bells, Gates is worth over $50 BILLION, Buffet is at a paltry $45 BILLION.

    Raising their taxes to the 50% level would leave them with substantially more personal wealth than most businesses ever make, or some countries make for that matter.

    Asking them about taxes or listening to Gates and Buffet on taxes is foolish at best, IMO. With that kind of wealth, their opinions are a moot point, as they are above being truly affected by the tax ‘game’. And honestly, IF most of us had BILLIONS we’d be willing to be magnanimous too. Giving away half of Gates wealth or Buffet’s STILL leaves them richer than most African countries. Face it, there’s a huge difference in taxes going up on a million or even ten million if you are a person or family running a business.

    But taxes going up on 45 or 54 billion is a joke.

    Unless, of course, the tax man shows up leading a ragged crowd carrying pitch forks and torches and they’re dragging a guillotine!

  5. Minor nitpick: Isn’t that Bill Gates Sr. who wants to see the estate tax raised, not Jr., who got rich building the Evil Software Empire?

    Also, let’s not forget that part of Mr. Buffet’s wealth has been derived from selling ways to reduce how much people pay in estate taxes (life insurance). And I vaguely remember that Gates, Sr. is a lawyer associated with the estate-tax biz.

    But really, whenever anyone of these self-styled elites tells us that we need to raise taxes, that “we” aren’t paying, the response should be, “lead by example”, make a voluntary contribution to the U.S. Treasury, show us how it’s done.

  6. Hell’s bells, Gates is worth over $50 BILLION, Buffet is at a paltry $45 BILLION.

    Raising their taxes to the 50% level would leave them with substantially more personal wealth than most businesses ever make, or some countries make for that matter.

    But that’s their wealth, not their income. About the only tax we have on wealth is the death (inheritance) tax and rich people have ample means of avoiding that. I’m sure Gates and Buffet have a pretty substancial income but they can also afford accountants and lawyers to avoid as much of that as possible, too. Meanwhile, a farmer or other small business owner may have his weath tied up in non-liquid assets such as the business itself. They and their descendents are screwed.

  7. Gate and Buffett making tax policy recommendations are like Linus Pauling making nutrition recommendations. Or maybe that should be Linus Pauling making foreign policy recommendations. Or is it Demi Moore and Susan Sarandon making energy policy recommendations. The fallacy of authority is a gift that keeps giving at so many levels.

  8. So, Larry, you’re saying that they’ll be harmed, hurt, downtrodden, unable to hire new employees if taxes go up, just like the $1 million to $10 million guys, and they’re harmed REGARDLESS of that personal bank account? OH, puh-LEASE!

    You don’t think it changes the game for them, knowing no matter what their companies do or don’t do financially, they’d still have billions? As opposed to the $1 million guy who will lose everything if his company goes belly up?

    I repeat my original assertion, when you have the kind of wealth Gates and Buffet have, it CHANGES the game. Saying there’s a difference in personal wealth and business income is a no brainer. But trying to say it doesn’t affect how they run said businesses is just not realistic.

  9. Bill Gates’ personal fortune is mostly on paper.. Buffet’s personal fortune is mostly in the bank.

    As for taxes, meh.. all taxes are taken by force. Depending on your personal political philosophy, it really does sound like slaves arguing over who should get the bigger whipping.

  10. Der Schtumpy, you seen unable to grasp the difference between a tax on income and a tax on wealth. Gates and Buffett are talking about raising the tax on income even though it would have little impact on them. The only tax on wealth we have in the US (that I know of) is the estate tax. You can rest assured that Gates and Buffett have ample legal support to minimize the impact of estate taxes on them.

    Further, your economic envy keeps you talking about the two richest men in America when the real impact of raising income taxes on people who earn more than $250,000 falls on small business owners. Small businesses account for 70% of all new jobs created in America. When you raise taxes on small business owners, they have less money left over to hire new employees. They may even have to let some of their existing employees go just like they do when the minimum wage increases.

    Don’t let your economic penis envy of Gates and Buffett blind you to the bigger picture. You’re being played for a fool by the Democrats who claim to be for the little guy but who keep doing things that hurt the little guys’ employers.

  11. sound like slaves arguing over who should get the bigger whipping

    Trent, I never knew you were such a poet. I absolutely agree. Our founders didn’t give us an income tax. They taxed the state and left it up to them to figure where it would come from. By taking income directly from people it’s made us all slaves of the federal government.

    Hello fellow serfs, you are not citizens and haven’t been since that amendment.

  12. Free unregulated markets always transform over time into monopoly or oligopoly markets at which point the CEO’s of the winning firms do their best to raise barriers to entry to preserve their monopoly or oligopoly market structure. The old AT&T was a great example.

    Also when founders like Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and Rockefeller win they usually start to think about their legacy, which means generally giving their money away and being more active in the area of social welfare. That is also a natural progression. So the statement of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are not surprising. Its also how the real world differs from the libertarian fantasy world.

  13. The old AT&T was a great example.

    Which only happened because of ‘fairness’ so farmers could have phones like city folk by law that prevented competition.

    It is not a libertarian fantasy that competition is good. The fantasy is that more regulation makes for better competition.

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