When it comes to the Warren Buffett story, there’s really not much about it that I don’t love. After all, how could you not like a guy whose favorite meal is a big cheeseburger and a Cherry Coke
On top of that, he still lives in the house that he bought in 1958 for $31,500-long before he ever became one of the richest guys in the whole world.
And as for his financial talent….well everybody knows the story on that one.
Nonetheless, I’m not exactly blinded the brilliance of his Congressional testimony yesterday, in which he pleaded that the estate tax should not only "tax the hide" out of guys like him but should also be practically etched in stone.
That’s an issue now because the fate of the tax will likely be decided during next year’s presidential and congressional races.
At present, estates worth up to $2 million are exempt from federal taxes, while the portion above that threshold is taxed at 45%.
That exemption level rises to $3.5 million in 2009, and by 2010 the tax will be eliminated entirely-but not for long.
That’s because unless Congress changes the law, the death tax will make a comeback in 2011 with a ridiculously low threshold of $1 million and a top tax rate of 55%, which is an idea that Warren just loves
You see Warren is apparently worried that we are drifting towards becoming a plutocracy.
Here what he told Congress yesterday:
"Dynastic wealth, the enemy of a meritocracy, is on the rise. Equality of opportunity has been on the decline and a progressive and meaningful estate tax is needed to curb the movement of a democracy toward plutocracy."
He also made this baffling remark:
"I believe in keeping equality of opportunity. You don’t get to be a quarterback…because your father was a quarterback 20 years ago."
Huh? So that’s it I guess. When you pass away none of your children or grandchildren should benefit.
His solution, of course, to this "problem" is for Uncle Sam to continue to take half of a person’s wealth and then some after they pass away for redistribution-as if that person hadn’t already spend practically their entire lives sending money to Washington.
In other words, in Warren’s gigantic and super-sized world, the idea of an inheritance is something of a moral wrong that can only be fixed through further government confiscation.
I mean the horror of it all….people actually wanting to leave their loved ones a leg up after they are gone. It’s crazy I tell you. And it’s ruining America!
Buffett is so wrong on this one that I don’t know where to start. But in the end it all boils down to this: It’s not their money!
The government needs to learn how to live off of less money-not more.
So ponder that one over your next cheeseburger, sir.
And by the way, you are more than welcome to leave your entire fortune to Uncle Sam if that’s how you want to handle it. I just don’t think that you ought to be lecturing the rest of us over what we ought to do with ours.