So, the uber-wealthy Warren Buffett is complaining again that he pays too little in taxes:
“I think that people at the high end, people like myself, should be paying a lot more in taxes; we have it better than we’ve ever had it.”
The duplicity in all this is just staggering. As a commenter at HotAir noted, Warren Buffett makes a significant amount of money selling tax shelters, such as life insurance, through his Berkshire Hathaway vehicle, and would stand to make an additional personal fortune should the high-end marginal tax rates increase, leading the wealthy to (predictably) look to shelter more of their wealth.
Even more to the point is the fact that Buffett can give as much of his money to the Feds as he wishes right now; he doesn’t have to wait for Congress to tell him to. Fausta Wertz captures it perfectly in a post from Friday:
To the best of my knowledge nothing prevents anyone from writing a check to Uncle Sam for any amount, be it small or large. He doesn’t need to claim a tax deduction if he doesn’t want to. The IRS is not going to haul him off to jail for that. Correct me if I’m wrong.
So, if Warren Buffett thinks he’s not paying enough, let him show us, in a grand gesture to end all grand gestures, just how much he is willing to pay. He can put all his money – every red cent of it – where his mouth is, and leave the rest of us in peace.
Fifty billion ought to pay for a government program or two.
I have no way of knowing whether Buffett believes his own BS, or if this is part of a straight-up scam, but I do know for certain that he is more concerned about how the government can collect other people’s money than he is with how it can collect his own. There’s no way around that, and his lack of unilateral action to correct what he professes to be an injustice is a stark indictment. What is he waiting for, after all? The whole point and purpose of implementing (or expanding) confiscatory taxation is to confiscate other people’s money, and assign its management to Those Who Know Better (or, more nakedly, to the power brokers).
The more I reflect on the social ramifications of taxation policy, the more I come to understand what a poison taxation is to culture once its level exceeds that of meeting the common requirement of civic duty. Cultures need virtue in order to thrive, not coercion and compulsion.