When “I Can” Becomes “You Must”

posted at 5:45 pm on November 27, 2010 by Jimmie Bise, Jr

Breitbart’s news site has an interesting article about how nearly 2000 very rich people are lobbying the Democrats to raise taxes on “the rich”, defined as those people who make over $250,000 a year. Laying aside the issue of whether a small business owner who reports that income on an individual tax return (and there are quite a few of those folks) is “rich, I’d like to issue a challenge to the wealthy letter-signers who feel it’s okay to force other people to live under their moral code.

According to the article, there are 1,911 rich progressives in two separate groups who want the tax increases to happen. Now, the Obama administration reckons that if we don’t raise taxes, it will “cost” the national treasury about $680 billion dollars over the next decade, or $68 billion a year. So I did a little quick math and found that if each of those 1,911 rich progressives would pony up $35,583,464.20 each year for the next ten years, then hundreds of thousands of small business owners and, yes, even evil wealthy layabouts will get to keep their money and use it as they see fit.

You might ask me, “Jimmie, why should just 1,911 people bear the burden of the rich in this country, who just keep getting richer?” Well, I’ll tell you. See, the issue here is not “shared sacrifice” or whether “the rich” pay “their fair share”, as determined by someone else. We already know that the wealthiest among us pay far more than their fair share of taxes every year. If you are making more than $250,000 a year, you’re already carrying more of the freight than you should, if we’re talking about “fairness”.

The real issue is the difference between “I can” and “You must”. Let me pull a couple or three quotes from the story to illustrate my point.

“I think the country’s in trouble,” [Guy] Saperstein [the organizer of one of the letter-writing efforts] told AFP. “In hard times, the top strata who have done fabulously well need to sacrifice a bit, and it’s not much of a sacrifice… We have among the lowest tax rates of any industrialized democracy.” [...]

Philippe Villers, a French-born US businessman who founded Computervision in the 1960s and now heads Grain Pro, says he signed the letter even though it would mean higher taxes for himself.

“I don’t think (extending the tax cuts for the wealthy) are fair or in the interest of building a strong economy,” he said. [...]

“I’ve had a good run over the last few years. There’s no question that others now deserve to share in that prosperity,” said…Jeffrey Hayes, president of Stratalys Research & Consulting.

Similar comments have come from Warren Buffett, the investment guru who ranks among the world’s richest individuals.

“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,” Buffett said in an ABC News interview.

Now, these statements may or may not be true, but what is clear is that each of them feel that they are doing quite well financially and should pay higher taxes. If you sat down with each of them and showed them how much it would take to offset the desired tax increase, I have no doubt they certainly could write that check every year. Ben and Jerry’s, whose founders are among the most vocal proponents of the tax increase, grossed between $200 million and $500 million last year. I’m sure that they could take a chunk of that money and put it toward their stated goal of pushing “new models of economic justice” quite easily. Buffet himself has pledged to give away 99 percent of his wealth to philanthropic causes. What’s another few million among the billions he has?

But they won’t and I’ll tell you why. They have “I can” confused with “You must”. This confusion is at the very heart of the progressive mindset. Folks like Saperstein and Buffet believe that because they can easily weather a big tax increase, everyone else has to, or it wouldn’t be “fair”. But what is fairness if it is coerced? How is it fair to force someone else to contribute to the “moral good” only in the way you believe such a contribution should happen? They are not asking the President to tax them more as much as they are asking him to tax everyone more, otherwise their letter would have gone to the IRS instead and had several large checks attached to it.

Ultimately, these millionaires illustrate more about the central conceit of progressivism than they do fairness of “social justice”. They can pay more in taxes, but they won’t until they make everyone around them pay more, too. But that’s not fair, friends, and we all know it.


Jimmie runs The Sundries Shack and has his own very entertaining podcast called “The Delivery”. He is also an amateur musician, an aspiring composer, an unrepentant geek and an avid fan of Twitter. This article is cross-posted there.


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Comment pages: 1 2

how about this, the tax rate goes to 90% for income from what ever source for over 2 million dollars, so someone makes 1 billion dollars from stock or other investments or whatever source he gets to pay 900 million in taxes, no deductions no exemptions.

RonK on November 27, 2010 at 5:55 PM

Neat little article. Like it.

jeanie on November 27, 2010 at 6:02 PM

RonK on November 27, 2010 at 5:55 PM

NO! Work, any work, deserves its true reward.

OldEnglish on November 27, 2010 at 6:03 PM

Well that’s only 1100 votes. There’s several hundred thousand small business owners who don’t agree and also vote. Don’t let Buffet’s advice go to your head Mr. Obama.

jeanie on November 27, 2010 at 6:07 PM

*SIGH* Another thread bashing my very liberal friend. His wife Astrid and I hung out thrift store shopping this morning. She is just the woman next door…
No pretentious bones in her.

OmahaConservative on November 27, 2010 at 6:08 PM

we need a Palin facebook response for this. I’d offer the words “utter” “hypocritical” and “scum” as words she can start playing with to develop a theme

r keller on November 27, 2010 at 6:08 PM

I’d rather see a thousand people kick in voluntarily than one single person do so at the point of a gun.

The only distinction between taxation and robbery is that governments maintain a monopoly on the legal use of armed force.

cthulhu on November 27, 2010 at 6:09 PM

*SIGH* Another thread bashing my very liberal friend. His wife Astrid and I hung out thrift store shopping this morning. She is just the woman next door…
No pretentious bones in her.

Well hooray for her!
She’s married to an a**hole.

single stack on November 27, 2010 at 6:14 PM

I would like to see people like Buffett appear on national TV and write a personal check for 90% of his entire worth to the federal government. After all, he can “afford” it.

sdillard on November 27, 2010 at 6:15 PM

Great idea, RonK! Then all the rich guys will pack up and move somewhere else, taking their lovely money with them.

At one point, Britain’s top tax bracket exceeded 100%. If you made too much money, you lost money. Which is (if I’m not mistaken) why the Stones’ Exile on Mainstreet was not made in the UK.

S. Weasel on November 27, 2010 at 6:15 PM

OmahaConservative on November 27, 2010 at 6:08 PM

The next time you are thrift store shopping with Mrs. Buffet, will you please tell her to tell her husband that people who make a little over $250,000 a year and who run a small business are not rich?

I don’t care how lovely a person she is, her husband is calling for a tax that may put my husband and I out of business.

Fallon on November 27, 2010 at 6:17 PM

These people are crazy or have some sort of guilt complex. I have problems with raising the taxes on the “rich” on several levels.

(1) I think that Buffett pays around $10 million in taxes for a rate around 18%. Do you really think he is using $10 million in government services each year? Does the military protect Buffett more than any other citizen? Is using welfare? He may think he’s getting a bargin, but I don’t think many people making $250k think they’re getting a good deal. Most of the “rich” use a much smaller fraction of government services than someone making $20k and paying no taxes.

(2) The government defines rich and that level rarely moves even though inflation continues to go up. $250k may have been wealthy in 1980, but today you can burn through that amount fairly easily in a large metro area. This is what the AMT was originally for and look how many people get roped into in now days.

(3) Sure, if you’ve got $50 billion a few percent increase in taxes won’t even be noticeable to your daily lifestyle. Ask the family making $500k if they feel the same way. I’m sure it would curtail their spending and saving.

(4) Do these guys actually think that the government will use this money to pay down the debt? Has there ever been a tax increase that did this or was it used to cover increased spending?

These guys are disconnected from reality. It just goes to show that just because you’re smart and resourceful enough to make a lot of money that you always make wise decisions…especially for OTHER PEOPLE.

ReaganWasRight on November 27, 2010 at 6:18 PM

Ben and Jerry’s, whose founders are among the most vocal proponents of the tax increase, grossed between $200 million and $500 million last year.

Umm, no they didn’t. Ben and Jerry sold the company off back in 2000. Of course this kind of proves your point. They’ve already made their money and have already paid tax on it.

Dave_d on November 27, 2010 at 6:20 PM

“Thou shalt not covet”

It’s an old idea…but still a very good idea!!

…and it happens to also be the 10th Commandment…

Warren and your Kleptocratic friends: Keep your hands out of my pocket!!!

landlines on November 27, 2010 at 6:20 PM

*SIGH* Another thread bashing my very liberal friend. His wife Astrid and I hung out thrift store shopping this morning. She is just the woman next door…
No pretentious bones in her.

OmahaConservative on November 27, 2010 at 6:08 PM

To be perfectly frank, if Mr. Buffett would just STFU in terms of trying to force his views of “fairness” on others who are struggling to achieve success as he has achieved success, then nobody would be bashing him. Perhaps you can put a bug in your dear friends ear that just because he has gotten his, the act of putting additional brakes on those who are trying to succeed is grossly unfair.

AZfederalist on November 27, 2010 at 6:24 PM

Just add one line at the end of every tax form that says:
I would like to contribute the following in additional taxes _____
then every liberal can donate 95% of their income to the Govt and leave the rest of us alone. Right now you can pay more, but is it written anywhere to remind people?

nazarioj001 on November 27, 2010 at 6:24 PM

They have “I can” confused with “You must”.

Why are they waiting for the tax code to change? Why don’t they just give more now? Because they don’t really want to pay more taxes, they just want the tax codes changed to hurt other businesses. They know that forcing more taxes on other businesses, especially small ones, will hamper those businesses. These big guys are established. But they know, in a free market with low taxes they will always have to look over their shoulders. A free market in a low tax environment forces them to be more customer friendly.
But, once they are established, it is too their advantage, they think, that government forces more regulation and taxes on the market. More regulation and higher taxes means less competition for the big guys. Less competition means they screw their customers anytime they like. They don’t worry that some new guy will come along on nothing more than a shoestring and a prayer with a brand new product that everyone loves and turn their world upside down. For the lazy rich corporations who are established, Fascism is a good thing.

JellyToast on November 27, 2010 at 6:25 PM

“Social justice”, when compelled by the state, is moral servitude.

petefrt on November 27, 2010 at 6:27 PM

single stack on November 27, 2010 at 6:14 PM

Fallon on November 27, 2010 at 6:17 PM

I will pass along both of your comments to Warren, why bother telling Astrid? She is her own person.

OmahaConservative on November 27, 2010 at 6:27 PM

BTW, I disagree with most of his politics, but they are friends.

OmahaConservative on November 27, 2010 at 6:28 PM

BTW, I disagree with most/all of his politics, but they are my friends and I am outspoken with my conservative politics.
You cannot help but like them if you know them personally. They are both very affable and grounded folk.

OmahaConservative on November 27, 2010 at 6:32 PM

This is so exasperating! I HATE how Progressives want to impose THEIR belief system on everyone and are not satisfied to exercise their own freedom to do what they believe.

Minorcan Maven on November 27, 2010 at 6:33 PM

OldEnglish on November 27, 2010 at 6:03 PM

I was kinda being sarcastic, I’m tired of people saying people that make more should pay a higher percentage of their income for people that won’t. why should a person that is willing to work 2 jobs or 60 hours or more pay a higher share of their income than someone that is only will to work 40 hours or not at all.

RonK on November 27, 2010 at 6:35 PM

It’s a protection racket. The people on the list are buying protection. Protection from the Left and protection from the unwashed when this whole thing collapses as it looks like it might. When Managing Directors of large NY banks are selling their Manhattan homes because they are afraid to own anything right now and gold continues to remain high, you know things are unstable.

TheBigOldDog on November 27, 2010 at 6:35 PM

Pass an optional higher income tax rate that these people can voluntarily pay and let’s see how many do.

We used to hear this kind of BS all the time in MA. So we passed a law where people could optionally pay a higher rate. Almost none of them choose to pay it.

TheBigOldDog on November 27, 2010 at 6:41 PM

i think we are missing the point, warren and his buddies just want to see how good their accountants are

Daveyardbird on November 27, 2010 at 6:41 PM

If these rich progressives want the government to have more money then they can give their entire fortunes to it, but leave the rest of us to hell alone.

rplat on November 27, 2010 at 6:42 PM

To make it fair, let’s counter-propose a progressive wealth tax. Not income tax, a wealth tax.

Let’s see how long they last on that one.

beatcanvas on November 27, 2010 at 6:44 PM

All the grammatical errors in Bise’s piece aside, I agree with the sentiment. Me I say if these idiots want to give all their $$ to the gov’t then I say go for it. But leave he rest of us alone.

Warner Todd Huston on November 27, 2010 at 6:44 PM

The $250K is targeted directly at small businesses… big businesses like to keep small businesses down and out so they aren’t threatened by upstarts. This is the other part of National Socialism where the preferred companies and individuals get a say in the regulatory and tax system to ensure they are never threatened by others…

If Mr. Buffet so wants to give more to the US Treasury he can write a check: give until his conscience is soothed, a couple of billion ought to do it, I would think. That is extremely fair as he gets to decide how much more to give, when to give it and the color of the check he writes it on. Unless he is purposefully targeting small businesses with his rhetoric during an economic downturn to make it a worse downturn as these are the people who do most of the hiring around the country. If you want to ‘spread the wealth around’ the idea is to let people earn their wealth through a good job. The super-duper incredibly rich can just write a check out of their excess billions if they want to do the wealth spreading, the less fortunate of the ‘wealthy’ don’t have that option when it comes down to keeping people employed or not.

ajacksonian on November 27, 2010 at 6:45 PM

I do not understand what is wrong with these smug attention seekers that makes them think that government spending is better for the economy than creating jobs through private investment. Why doesn’t Ben or Jerry or whichever one it is use his proposed tax increase money to invest in a new line of products? Why doesn’t Moby use the money to open another restaurant in Manhattan, or increase the promotion and sale of his line of iced tea?

This is purely about casting themselves as heroes in a play about morality. It’s no different to donating a large sum of money to charity and then issuing a press release about it. Oh, except there are actually some worthwhile charities out there.

Sharke on November 27, 2010 at 6:46 PM

They just want the opportunity to preen before the public. You push them to ACTUALLY WRITE A CHECK to the feds, and they’ll come up with all kinds of excuses why they can’t.

GarandFan on November 27, 2010 at 6:47 PM

BTW, I disagree with most of his politics, but they are friends.

OmahaConservative on November 27, 2010 at 6:28 PM

Uh-huh.

KS Rex on November 27, 2010 at 6:52 PM

I *Hate* the word “fair”. I have a 14 yo & the “f” word is virtually banned from use because of it’s uslessness. It’s worse than beauty in terms of being in the eye of the beholder.

But if they want to increase their tax burden, I suggest they start with instructing their CPAs to insure that no tax deductions are taken.

dts-01 on November 27, 2010 at 6:54 PM

Of course, living within a budget is too much to ask for

Kini on November 27, 2010 at 6:55 PM

How many of these 1911 people pay more than they are legally required to pay? Any willing to speak up?

How much should people be taxed if their only source of income is from tax-free bonds and investments?

All of these discussions tend to equate wealth with income. there are plenty of wealthy people who may have little or no taxable income. (see above)

There are many with incomes over 250K who are certainly far from being wealthy. They may have high commuting expenses, or other non-deductible business expenses; may have to care for sick family; or may have an upside down mortgage or other large debt they are trying to service.

Focusing only on earned income avoids the harder questions that must be answered.

M2inOR on November 27, 2010 at 6:57 PM

OmahaConservative on November 27, 2010 at 6:28 PM

Uh-huh.

KS Rex on November 27, 2010 at 6:52 PM

What, you have no libtard friends or family? People you love?

OmahaConservative on November 27, 2010 at 7:00 PM

Since the near crash of the financial system was caused by the CRA – a creation of the Democrats. And since Obama’s economic policies have done nothing but increase the deficit and debt and drag out the recession, it is only fitting that rich people who have benefited from the good Reagan, Gingrich and Bush economies, but who voted Democrat, should pay a higher rate of tax. This is particularly true of Buffet, who should have had the good dense to issue warnings about Obama. Instead, he moronically promoted him.

Basilsbest on November 27, 2010 at 7:07 PM

Just like the hypocritical AGWers who jet around the world telling us to sacrifice without themselves setting an example first, Buffet and his ilk have had every opportunity to pay more – yet they have not.

This article could have nailed the issue a bit better – “I think it is the right thing to do therefore you must (but don’t look for me to show my committment to doing the right thing… that’s for the “little” “rich” people).

Alan on November 27, 2010 at 7:11 PM

The wrong question is being asked. All the talk about the taxes is an after the fact discussion. There is little risk once you made the bucks. That risk is before you make them.

So my question to those 1900 well feathered souls that feel this pang of remorse — Why didn’t you ‘do the right thing’ and issue or increase your profit sharing to your employees? Spread that wealth around like Obammy says. That would have lessened your burden of remorse, increased someone else’s bottom line, reduced the need to have more poverty programs, yada, yada, yada.

I’ll tell you why you didn’t. You were afraid you weren’t going to make that much money this year. You didn’t stick your neck out and make the commitment beforehand. You wimped out.

Ride your guilt and pay up, you few, you gutless 1900.

Dr. Dog on November 27, 2010 at 7:11 PM

I want the super rich telling me.. or anyone else what to do with our money… about as much as the super rich want me telling them what to do with their money.
-
-0-

RalphyBoy on November 27, 2010 at 7:14 PM

i think we are missing the point, warren and his buddies just want to see how good their accountants are rent-seekers who emplace themselves in niches where the government must do business with them.

Daveyardbird on November 27, 2010 at 6:41 PM

Turn off the spigot.

NOW.

Inanemergencydial on November 27, 2010 at 7:16 PM

So cut the freaking check already…

reshas1 on November 27, 2010 at 7:25 PM

There is a place on the 1040 to pay more in taxes. I suggest these weathly people take advantage of this and leave the rest of us alone.

Ricki on November 27, 2010 at 7:29 PM

Morons. They don’t care, because taxes are on income, not wealth. The asshats probably have a large percentage of their fortunes stashed away.

Just another group of progressive aristocrats who don’t want any of the peasants gaining wealth and joining their club.

reaganaut on November 27, 2010 at 7:45 PM

You cannot help but like them if you know them personally. They are both very affable and grounded folk.

OmahaConservative on November 27, 2010 at 6:32 PM

I’ll pass.

SagebrushPuppet on November 27, 2010 at 8:08 PM

Buffet is an immoral person for taking the positions he has. Also Bill . I say this as a stock holder of both. They benefit from the capitalist system, but they are intellectually and ethically unable to understand it.

proconstitution on November 27, 2010 at 8:09 PM

OmahaConservative on November 27, 2010 at 7:00 PM

I am sure the Buffet’s are lovely folks, it’s just a bit ​presumptuous of him to speak for a tax bracket that has that much discrepancy amongst the earners. Also, there is nothing keeping him from paying more money to the government if he really wanted to.

Cindy Munford on November 27, 2010 at 8:18 PM

proconstitution on November 27, 2010 at 8:09 PM

There’s that “immoral” word again.

Cindy Munford on November 27, 2010 at 8:19 PM

I’m sure it’s already been said here but anyone can make voluntary contributions to the U.S. Treasury if they want. A law has already been passed to allow this. Yet, of those 2,000 “progressives” who signed the letter to encourage a higher tax rate, very likely NONE of them are making a dime of voluntary contribution.

How do I know this? I know this because the last figures I saw regarding these voluntary contributions, the total annual amount was about $5 million for this country. Obviously, $5 million is virtually nothing for a country like ours.

So why listen to these people. They can drop dead as far as I’m concerned.

BillCarson on November 27, 2010 at 8:21 PM

But they won’t and I’ll tell you why. They have “I can” confused with “You must”. This confusion is at the very heart of the progressive mindset. Folks like Saperstein and Buffet believe that because they can easily weather a big tax increase, everyone else has to, or it wouldn’t be “fair”

Look, Warren Buffet has said on many occasions that his tax rate- which can be defined as over $1 million annually when capital gains are included- should be raised. Buffet has never made a huge point of setting a single income tax level, such as over $250k, for higher taxes. His point is that people with massive wealth should pay more taxes. A majority of the wealthiest entrepreneurs, like Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Larry Ellison agree with him completely. Go ahead and attack that group if you have a problem with success.

And it’s absurd to accuse a man of tax evasion because he decided to donate 90% of his wealth to charity. Buffet is known for living a very modest lifestyle and self-deprecating humor. But the moment his wealth is donated to charity, it’s an evil tax evasion scheme. Classic.

Do you understand that Buffet is talking about the class of wealthy professionals in major cities- where wealth is concentrated in this country? He’s not talking about entrepreneurs, but lawyers, stock brokers and corporate executives. Buffet has repeatedly stated that this country’s trade and budgetary deficits pose the greatest threat to the country’s future- not the tax rates that under past Presidents including Nixon and Clinton lead to a balanced budget.

It’s funny to see Hotair, which claims to support capitalism, go on the attack against the world’s greatest capitalists such as Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. It’s more than hypocritical.

bayam on November 27, 2010 at 8:22 PM

Amen, Amen, AMEN!!!

Nothing is stopping these people from simply writing a nice fat check, and sending it to the government. They’re always accepting of donations. So why not do that, and sweep in front of your own doorstep, before pushing your moral compass on everyone else?

capejasmine on November 27, 2010 at 8:25 PM

How do I know this? I know this because the last figures I saw regarding these voluntary contributions, the total annual amount was about $5 million for this country. Obviously, $5 million is virtually nothing for a country like ours.
So why listen to these people. They can drop dead as far as I’m concerned.

That’s just idiotic. Democracy isn’t based on the honor system. Everyone has to contribute and sacrifice. A group of rich individuals can’t end the budget deficit or resolve similar systematic problems. Anyway, why should great capitalists and financiers who create jobs have to voluntarily pay more taxes than the idle trust fund winners whose main goal in life is to protect their inheritance?

Yes, go ahead and wish that the greatest capitalists drop dead. Take the side of the socialists and communists.

bayam on November 27, 2010 at 8:26 PM

*SIGH* Another thread bashing my very liberal friend. His wife Astrid and I hung out thrift store shopping this morning. She is just the woman next door…
No pretentious bones in her.

OmahaConservative

*SIGH*, another lame post defending your make-believe friends. Even if it were true, it wouldn’t have a damn thing to do with the issue at hand.

xblade on November 27, 2010 at 8:38 PM

*SIGH* Another thread bashing my very liberal friend. His wife Astrid and I hung out thrift store shopping this morning. She is just the woman next door…
No pretentious bones in her.

OmahaConservative on November 27, 2010 at 6:08 PM

..o.k., enough is enough! You beath this to death in another thread. We get it! You and Mrs Billionaire are friends and Warren is really misunderstood.

This mantra is growing beyond tedious. Change the record already!

The War Planner on November 27, 2010 at 8:43 PM

What about the 47% who don’t pay any taxes? What about the people who receive more than they actually pay (free housing, free food, free healthcare). It’s (past) time they contribute to the country who gave them so much! My suggestion? While I am working to pay for their housing, food, & healthcare (schools, roads, upkeep on federal/state property, payroll for police/schools/fire dept…), the least they can do is clean my car, house & yard!

TN Mom on November 27, 2010 at 8:53 PM

Warren is really misunderstood.

It’s not that he’s misunderstood, it’s that he’s demonized. Not on Wall Street or among the most successful investors, but by right wing ideologues. Why? Because his message of raising taxes on the wealthy to balance the budget must reflect character flaws and evil tax evasion schemes, right? I mean, if you want to disagree with him, fine, but there’s no need for ad hominem attacks of the world’s great capitalist. Warren Buffet is a role model that kids in America should try and emulate- along with every middle class investor.

By the way, when Buffet called out the internet stock bubble in the late 90′s, up and down Wall Street and Silicon Valley people derided him as an out of touch old man. Most of Wall Street considered Buffet senile five years ago given his description of derivatives as “financial weapons of mass destruction”. (Alan Greenspan and Buffet placed a bet with Warren famously predicting that derivatives would lead to a very bad outcome for the financial system.)

Other people continue to deride Buffet for criticizing our trade imbalance with China as unsustainable and calling for an end to what Buffet has called “semi-trade”.

Has betting against Buffet ever been a wise move?

bayam on November 27, 2010 at 9:00 PM

There is no such thing as coincidence, just the illusion of coincidence.

Bayam, the multiplier (x10) between someone making $25,000 a year and someone making $250,000 a year is the same as it is between someone making $250,000 a year and someone making $2,500,000 a year; and yet you pretend that it okay to treat one gap much differently than the other, in the name of fairness.

I have also noticed that you show up to cheerlead the champions of “capitalism” when the subject is Buffet, Gates and taxing the “rich”.

It’s just weird. I am alway intrigued by coincidence.

Fallon on November 27, 2010 at 9:01 PM

Ben and Jerry’s, whose founders are among the most vocal proponents of the tax increase, grossed between $200 million and $500 million last year.

Umm, no they didn’t. Ben and Jerry sold the company off back in 2000. Of course this kind of proves your point. They’ve already made their money and have already paid tax on it.

Dave_d on November 27, 2010 at 6:20 PM

Re-read the quote – it is the company that is being discussed, not the founders of the company. The link in the article goes to the company webpage, which states:

As a wholly-owned subsidiary of Unilever, Ben & Jerry’s reports financial results for the purpose of this report based on an annual revenue reporting range provided by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). For 2009, Ben & Jerry’s revenue was between $200 million and $500 million.

mnealtx on November 27, 2010 at 9:49 PM

It’s funny to see Hotair, which claims to support capitalism, go on the attack against the world’s greatest capitalists such as Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. It’s more than hypocritical.

bayam on November 27, 2010 at 8:22 PM

When they champion causes that seek to destroy capitalism. They become oligarchs, and need to be stopped.

Slowburn on November 27, 2010 at 9:54 PM

And it’s absurd to accuse a man of tax evasion because he decided to donate 90% of his wealth to charity. Buffet is known for living a very modest lifestyle and self-deprecating humor. But the moment his wealth is donated to charity, it’s an evil tax evasion scheme. Classic.

bayam on November 27, 2010 at 8:22 PM

..oh crap! This mantra is spreading. First it’s “Bugffet and his wife are my friend” and now it’s “the evil envious haters over on HHA”.

It’s NOT an evil tax evasion scheme. The point was made that rich people can do whatever they want with their money — including make the choice between giving the money to charity or giving the money to government. We are just saying that they should STFU about how they think that the government should engage in confiscatory tax rates to penalize those of us who would aspire to those lofty levels on wealth.

How difficult is that too comprehend?

The War Planner on November 27, 2010 at 10:05 PM

How about we stop allowing these billionaires to put STOCK from their company into their OWN CHARITABLE FOUNDATION and write it off so they pay next to nothing on millions of dollars in yearly income?

New law: Charitable donations must be MONEY, not STOCK. Stock is permeable in value and must be liquidated before any benefit can be realized.

New law: Charitable donations cannot be made to foundations that you or a group you are part of started. You cannot have a say in how the money you donated is used, or else its a money laundering scheme.

This would take care of Warren Buffet, at least. Raise your taxes? Got it pal! Instead of raising rates, we’ll just cut the legs out from under your money shuffling schemes!

Cheesecakecrush on November 27, 2010 at 10:06 PM

We are just saying that they should STFU about how they think that the government should engage in confiscatory tax rates to penalize those of us who would aspire to those lofty levels on wealth.

How difficult is that too comprehend?

That’s fine. How would raising taxes on those who earn $500k or more in regular income and /or capital gains impact aspiring capitalists like you?

It’s hard to comprehend why so many people believe that the evil great capitalists and entrepreneurs are out to get them. Do you have any idea how many jobs these men have created? Buffet, Gates, and Jobs aren’t your enemy.

bayam on November 27, 2010 at 10:21 PM

I say any rich dude that wants to donate to the national treasury is welcome to do so. Leave everybody else out of it.

Mojave Mark on November 27, 2010 at 10:53 PM

RonK on November 27, 2010 at 6:35 PM

My apologies, RonK. I’m afraid a red mist descended rather too quickly.

OldEnglish on November 27, 2010 at 11:17 PM

Buffet, Gates, and Jobs aren’t your enemy.

bayam on November 27, 2010 at 10:21 PM

Yes they are the enemy, they became the enemy when they decided they knew better than I do how my money should be spent.

That is evil, taking other people’s money against their will. It is evil to force your will on other people. That is what they are doing. They are evil.

petunia on November 27, 2010 at 11:37 PM

Re-read the quote – it is the company that is being discussed, not the founders of the company. The link in the article goes to the company webpage…

Well the confusing part of the quote in the original article is that the company grossed 200-500 mil but the proponents it’s talking about are Ben Cohen and Jerry GreenField. (IE the part about “whose founders are among the most vocal proponents of the tax increase” it’s talking about the guys B & J, not the company.)

Dave_d on November 27, 2010 at 11:40 PM

we need a Palin facebook response for this. I’d offer the words “utter” “hypocritical” and “scum” as words she can start playing with to develop a theme

r keller on November 27, 2010 at 6:08 PM

Can’t you just stop thinking about her even for sec?

By bashing her, you’re promoting her too much.

TheAlamos on November 28, 2010 at 12:11 AM

*SIGH*, another lame post defending your make-believe friends. Even if it were true, it wouldn’t have a damn thing to do with the issue at hand.

xblade on November 27, 2010 at 8:38 PM

Now why on earth would I want to lie about this? I’m not real crazy to have a lefty poli sci prof as a brother either, but I do love him, anyway.

OmahaConservative on November 28, 2010 at 12:45 AM

bayam,

With an income of 250K a year, how long does it take to amass 2.5 million in capital? Now, how long does it take with that 250K taxed at 50%? You apparently think that halving the rate at which capital can be accumulated among the entrepreneurial classes will have no effect on “capitalism” because Warren Buffet sez so. Warren Buffet and Bill Gates are bizarre outliers on this planet of 6 billion people and are as disconnected from middle class entrepreneurial activity at this point as Charlie Sheen is from normal dating.

shazbat on November 28, 2010 at 12:57 AM

Flat tax. Plain and simple.

Shy Guy on November 28, 2010 at 6:36 AM

All the grammatical errors in Bise’s piece aside, I agree with the sentiment. Me I say if these idiots want to give all their $$ to the gov’t then I say go for it. But leave he rest of us alone.

Warner Todd Huston on November 27, 2010 at 6:44 PM

There seems to be a grammatical error in your post. The fact that you point out the article has grammatical errors is ironic. I am no expert on grammar but the sentence,”Me I say if these idiots want to give all their $$ to the gov’t then I say go for it”, feels wrong. Was referring to your self twice necessary? If so, should a comma separate them? eliminate the Me in the sentence and it works.

IowaWoman on November 28, 2010 at 6:56 AM

Extremely wealthy liberals deciding what should be tax policy for the rest of the nation is like having marmots design cars. Don’t hold your breath waiting for a good result.

Extrafishy on November 28, 2010 at 8:31 AM

Warren Buffet loves to talk about how we should give our money to the govenment while he puts his in trust funds, foundations, escrows, and tax shelters. He doesn’t understand that he continues to control the money but he wants to force others to give up control.
I remember the article written by Mr. Buffet saying he is 100% in favor of a high estate tax. The next day, he took all his own money and put it into a foundation that won’t get seized upon his death. Nice. Guess he thinks the peasants can’t tell the difference

Ohio Granny on November 28, 2010 at 9:02 AM

Warren Buffet loves to talk about how we should give our money to the govenment while he puts his in trust funds, foundations, escrows, and tax shelters. He doesn’t understand that he continues to control the money but he wants to force others to give up control.

Ohio Granny on November 28, 2010 at 9:02 AM

Mr. Buffet understands perfectly. It keeps him on top of the heap while the rest of us get mashed down.

SagebrushPuppet on November 28, 2010 at 9:51 AM

People if you ain’t got skin in the game then you don’t give a darn. Every body ought to ante up the same percentage and let’s throw the loopholes out that enrich our politicians and fat cats cause these cats that are offering to pay more taxes will hire a couple of accounts to see they DON”T pay more taxes after the Demorats raise taxes on small business folks..

Herb on November 28, 2010 at 10:13 AM

Great post. Every one of these “Progressives” has the opportunity to pay more than they owe. I’d wager that none of them have. I’d also wager that they all have employed full time accountants whose sole purpose is to reduce their “fair share” to the minimum possible. Friggin hypocrites.

Do as I say, not as I do.

2ipa on November 28, 2010 at 10:16 AM

There is also an air of hypocrisy (shocking, I know) in this collection of wealthy folk. Not only are they not voluntarily giving more money to the US Treasury, they are likely (and in Buffet’s case, certainly) giving vast amounts of money to charity to effect their version of cultural or socio-economic justice. The fact that they voluntarily give to charity but not to the government demonstrates how they feel about the relative benefits of private versus public justice.

Perhaps we should consider their actions above their words. Philanthropy is always an alternative to higher taxation, and is likely to be far more efficient.

Selkirk on November 28, 2010 at 10:24 AM

Does everyone post on Hot Air now? Perhaps someone has explained the change that has come over the site, and I have just missed it.

Kralizec on November 28, 2010 at 10:56 AM

Speaking from the standpoint of philosophy, if a course of action is compelled by moral rectitude, then the fact that others choose not to follow that course of action gives the actor no relief from his moral duty to act. In other words, if the 1,911 rich people who signed the letter actually believe that it is a moral imperative to pay more taxes, then they are morally wrong not to do so–whether or not the rest of us agree with them or not.

Put up, or shut the f*ck up, you @ssholes.

PD Quig on November 28, 2010 at 11:42 AM

Those enlightened rich folks can write the check and give everything they have to the government in the name of fairness. What is stopping them? Why would Gates and Buffett give the money to their private foundation instead? They do not think the government will do a good job with their money?

bayview on November 28, 2010 at 11:48 AM

I would love to see Mr. Buffet interviewed by someone who would push back a bit and point out his practices.

Cindy Munford on November 28, 2010 at 11:57 AM

Ahh … so NOW progressives are all about legislating morality. Go figure ..

LissaKay on November 28, 2010 at 11:58 AM

What part of “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors goods” do these people, rich and poor, not understand? If they feel that the Government deserves more support, let them forgo their foundations and private charities and give their money instead to the Government.

unclesmrgol on November 28, 2010 at 11:58 AM

It’s funny to see Hotair, which claims to support capitalism, go on the attack against the world’s greatest capitalists such as Warren Buffet and Bill Gates. It’s more than hypocritical.

bayam on November 27, 2010 at 8:22 PM

When they forget how they got to where they got, or they remember and try to close the door behind them, that’s when the hypocrisy starts. The hypocrisy is firmly in Warren and Billy’s camp.

unclesmrgol on November 28, 2010 at 12:02 PM

Those enlightened rich folks can write the check and give everything they have to the government in the name of fairness. What is stopping them? Why would Gates and Buffett give the money to their private foundation instead? They do not think the government will do a good job with their money?

bayview on November 28, 2010 at 11:48 AM

I’ll cut the filthy rich some slack on this if they give significant amounts of their wealth to real charities that help people directly. Unfortunately for us they probably give to political benefits, like the laundering operation Tides, or ‘progressive’ (read as ‘kinder, gentler marxism’) organizations, or the nutball environmental multinationals.

We need two tiers of IRS deductions for contributions to nonprofits, and move out the political charities.

slickwillie2001 on November 28, 2010 at 12:18 PM

The link these people are missing is that government is a fiction, not a person. Society is a metaphor, not a person. Those two concepts are not “real.” In short, they have no soul to save.

I am not a better person for living in a society where other people are compelled to pay someone to care for the poor, regardless of which faith or non-faith you subscribe to.

As for the economic argument, this is another incident of Democrats deliberately conflating the truly rich with those with a moderately high (current) income. If the rich in this country can bear a higher tax rate, then fine, let’s tax them – but then we tax wealth, not income, or we set the top tax rate at 25 million, not $250,000 gross. Just because these filthy rich nuts can bear higher taxes doesn’t mean doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and half the population of New York should have to join them.

HitNRun on November 28, 2010 at 12:34 PM

So far, every time I’ve heard the term “social justice” it’s used to justify immorality.

unlisted on November 28, 2010 at 12:36 PM

“Buffet himself has pledged to give away 99 percent of his wealth to philanthropic causes.”

But that is different. It´s still HIS money to give to a cause of his choosing. By his own logic he should give the money to the state, to see it spent on … anything THEY deem important: bridges to nowhere, social engineering, pensions for public employees.

Give it to the IRS, Warren. See it melt away without a trace. Does it still feel good? No? Screw you, fork over some more.

el gordo on November 28, 2010 at 12:45 PM

I hear the Buffetts are shopping at the Million Dollar Store for the holidays this year, to economize.

Akzed on November 28, 2010 at 1:11 PM

But that is different. It´s still HIS money to give to a cause of his choosing. By his own logic he should give the money to the state, to see it spent on … anything THEY deem important: bridges to nowhere, social engineering, pensions for public employees.

You’re mixed up. Buffet is the greatest capitalist and master of finance in the world. You’re sitting in the free market peanut gallery, trying to voice your trivial credentials by calling Warren one of THEM, as if you’re the real capitalist and Warren is lucky to live in your presence. Get a grip and stop whining about the greatest example of American exceptionalism in the business world.

It’s not Buffet’s fault that the US is a debtor nation with a massive trade deficit. Buffet’s understanding of finance clearly exceeds that of the entire peanut gallery on an order of magnitude that’s impossible to define. And Buffet has offered concrete proposals to fixing our imbalances, just as he tried to warn Wall Street about derivatives long before the financial crisis.

bayam on November 28, 2010 at 3:00 PM

The Yearly Operating Budget for the small business where I last worked was roughly $300,000, reported on my boss’s tax return as individual income. At the time, the company employed eight people full-time. If we had not prepared for the coming tax increases in advance (by downsizing the company by over 50%, meaning laying off both me and my husband), the company would have been socked with this tax on “the rich,” even if we only broke even for the year. Guess what would have happened to the company, and all of our jobs?

Fortunately, my boss saw this coming and was able to give us all advance notice, so most of us now have new jobs (and many have relocated, as well). Even so, we all certainly would have preferred the company have the opportunity to grow and prosper rather than shrink to its smallest functioning size. This is what so-called progressives don’t understand: my boss was not RICH, and in fact we were all made POORER by these tax increases, rather than wealthier. These idiots are going to drive the country into the ground.

Animator Girl on November 28, 2010 at 3:36 PM

Bayam, please indulge me and answer the question, why should someone making $250,000 a year and someone making $2,500,000 a year be treated as if they are equals, when you do not treat someone making $25,000 a year and someone making $250,000 a year in the same manner?

You’re mixed up. Buffet is the greatest capitalist and master of finance in the world.

I don’t worship anyone. We all return to dust in the end.

I am starting to think there is a bit of sarcasm tucked in your postings. What on earth is your angle in mock defending Buffet’s incredible hypocrisy and gall?

Are you trying to infer that capitalism, at its apex, can lead to self-importance and guilt, so capitalism as an economic system is flawed? I am totally stumped by your exuberant defense of someone you obviously do not really admire.

Fallon on November 28, 2010 at 3:58 PM

#4. Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules.

Wait. I think I’ve got it, Alinsky Rule #4 for Power Tactics used to undermine capitalism.

If capitalism is good (which most of us believe) and Buffet is a master of capitalism (arguable but whatev’s), then what Buffet says is golden to be used against other capitalists, including his (and nearly 2,000 of his ultra wealthy friends) scr@wing those underneath him/them in the name of fairness and charity. Whew! I can go now?

Fallon on November 28, 2010 at 4:11 PM

My apologies, RonK. I’m afraid a red mist descended rather too quickly.

OldEnglish on November 27, 2010 at 11:17 PM

no need for an apology, sarcasm is hard to read in text and I didn’t indicated it in the text.

I’m just tired of people like Buffett who thinks they have the right to dictate to others about taxes Bill Gates Sr is another, big proponent of the income tax for Washington state. I wonder how big a proponent they would be it they started by drying up loop holes they use. I used believe in a flat rate tax, no exemption no deductions and should only be on income earned, but since buffett started on it, I have since revised it that it should include all income, a tax forgiveness for people un 2x the poverty level but not 100%.

RonK on November 28, 2010 at 4:39 PM

bayam on November 28, 2010 at 3:00 PM

Buffett is a rent-seeker. Not teh greatest free market adam smither of all history.

Inanemergencydial on November 28, 2010 at 8:14 PM

How about a 21/2 percent one-time tax on NET WORTH!

Then you’ll hear a different tune from ALL those that want to pull up the ladder of success to keep the rest of us out.

Please congress, make the hypocrites squeal!

belad on November 28, 2010 at 9:03 PM

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