An irreverent view of the “Buffett Rules”
By Shamus McConomy
Buffett rules are good for America. They bring harmony, sharing and fairness to Americans. I don’t understand all the haters of the Buffett rule. Perhaps the lawmakers overreached (again) and wrote a bill laced with some poison pill pork projects that had to be voted down. Perhaps I could take a stab at some legalese that will establish a Buffett Law that is sure to satisfy Congress and the rest of Americans.
Restaurants shall, in the act of cooking and serving cheeseburgers, garnish said cheeseburger with lettuce, tomato, and a Heinz 57 ketchup product. Cheeseburgers shall also be accompanied with French fried potatoes, kosher dill pickles, and an ice cold beer. This law shall be enforceable in all states and territories of the United States of America regardless of the restaurant’s location being designated paradise. In the event that a cook or chef Jamacias a mistaka in the preparation of a cheeseburger, that individual will have up to thirty minutes to replace the errant order, at the sole expense of the restaurant, and the affected customer is entitled to a complementary frozen concoction of his or her choice.
What do you mean wrong Buffett? Warren who? Berkshire what? I’m still not following you. Are you telling me that there is some rich dude saying he is not being taxed enough and Democrats are franchising his name onto a bill to make rich people pay mandatory taxes regardless of existing tax treatment of various income sources? Interesting! Well it sounds like President Obama has finally found that magic bullet to balance the budget. Right?
When President Obama promised he would have the most transparent White House in history most of you thought he meant transparency of information. Well months of closed meetings and back door deals on the healthcare bill proved that wrong. What he really meant is his motives would be incredibly transparent, such as ginning up class warfare in an election year.
I know 60% of Americans favor this rule. Why not? It’s other people’s money. We need to balance the budget and as long as the tax man doesn’t cometh to my door then kudos to the politicians. It doesn’t hurt that liberals have used a complicit media to create a narrative in which Warren Buffett pays the same taxes as his secretary. Really? He may pay the same rate, but unless they changed math since I graduated high school 15% of $100,000 is slightly less than 15% of $1,000,000. I know I went to government schools but let me see if I can recreate the mathematical formula.
(.15 x $100,000) < (.15 x $1,000,000)
(If I remembered Ms Carver correctly, the alligator’s mouth is always open towards the larger number)
But we have been conditioned to think that the more income someone makes the government is entitled to a greater proportion. We call it progressive tax rates and that is the only way we can be fair. A progressive tax ensures that the SOBs making more money than you pay even more taxes. Progressive tax codes combined with social engineering have created a tax system where 5% of the country’s earners pay the lion share of the country’s tax revenues and almost 50% of the population pays none. See how that’s fair? Almost half of the voting population has no skin in the game but gets to benefit from all of government’s inefficient glory. One might call that representation without taxation.
You know why this narrative is allowed to permeate throughout D.C.? Because politicians need votes and there a significantly more working stiff votes at stake than millionaires and billionaires. The unspoken problem with continuing to ratchet up the top end of the tax code while pandering to the freeloading majority is eventually you run out of other people’s money (thank you Margret Thatcher).
It is obvious that the budget will not be balanced through revenue increases. We have the highest corporate taxes in the world and taxing 5% of the population more won’t raise enough revenue. Actually history has shown it raises less. Spending cuts are the only way to handle this crisis. This so called Buffett rule wouldn’t raise enough money to pay for a year’s worth of GSA benders but here we are spending time on a DOA tax bill to score political points. Thankfully the GSA incident occurred at the same time as this Buffett nonsense. Proving once and for all we have a spending problem not a revenue problem.
We must cut spending at all levels and not let the politicians dupe us into thinking cuts equal grandma dying in a nursing home. Instead of forcing the bureaucracies to become leaner and efficient, we currently increase revenue and debt (mostly debt). And there are no sacred cows to government spending. Conservatives seem to believe that every government department and agency is infested with fraud, waste and abuse; except the Department of Defense. I hate to burst your bubble but the same contracting rules and oversight that create workers standing around for months on a road project also built the stealth bomber. The pork barrel buffet needs to be over because there isn’t an all can you tax Buffett solution.
Shamus McConomy is a resident of the Tampa Bay Area where he has spent his career as a lender to small and medium sized businesses. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of South Florida and an M.B.A. from the University of Tampa. E-mail him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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