The difference between rich republicans and rich democrats is that often time republicans will at least admit they want to minimize their tax bills and make a lot of money. The same cannot be said for guys like Warren Buffet. He says rich people should pay more taxes, but he goes out of his way to take advantage of every loophole in the book. He justifies his actions by saying that his contributions would only be a “drop in the bucket” unless everyone else also paid more.
1) Even if everyone else paid more, his increased contribution would still be the same “drop in the bucket”
2) Did Jesus not live by the morals he preached simply because himself alone could not suddenly make the whole world moral?
Today we got more news from Buffet, mainly that he is helping Burger King move their headquarters to Canada to take advantage of their more favorable tax policies (which makes sense considering the USA has some of the highest corporate tax rates in the developed world). Liberals are naturally calling foul on this play because they don’t believe in companies minimizing their taxes (though many high profile liberals don’t mind legally minimizing their own taxes, even if that means using tax havens). Many are also disappointed that Buffet, such a loyal supporter of the President and supposedly a rich guy who “gets it”, is helping facilitate BK’s move. But this should surprise no one. Buffet is most likely just as self interested as any other rich and powerful person. Just because someone gives to charity and talks as if they are against rich people doesn’t mean they are consistently loyal liberals.
I’m not saying there is anything wrong with what Buffet helped BK do, or that he minimizes his tax bill. I’m just saying that people on the left shouldn’t be surprised that the richest man in the world isn’t a male version of Elizabeth Warren.
In 1984 Walter Mondale ran a presidential campaign on the promise to raise taxes. He lost every single state except his home state of Minnesota, handing Ronald Reagan one of the biggest victories in the history of presidential elections. Since that time, Democrats have been smarter about their positions on taxes. They still support higher taxes on everyone. After all, if you do the math you find out that it is impossible to pay for an expansive welfare state unless the middle class is heavily taxed. But Democrats have learned to hide this dirty little secret and instead just call for higher taxes on “the rich”. This strategy was epitomized in the 2012 election by the Buffet Rule, which tried to convince voters that all the nation’s fiscal problems would be solved if only the rich were taxed more. The rule was named after billionaire Warren Buffet, who claims he wants to pay more taxes in the name of fairness. While this sounds great, the truth is that Buffet is a self interested hypocrite.
You see, the law allows people to make voluntary contributions to the US treasury. Oliver Wendell Holmes is famous for donating his fortune to the government. So if Buffet really wanted to be “moral” and pay more taxes, he can. But he doesn’t. When confronted with this cold reality, Buffet further exposed his hypocrisy by saying that him alone paying more money wouldn’t solve anything unless every other rich person paid more too. He said his donation would just be a “drop in the bucket”. There are two problems with this.
1) Even if everyone else paid more, his increased contribution would still just be “a drop in the bucket”. If he pays $100 more voluntarily or because the law says so, he is still just contributing $100 more. You are either part of the problem or part of the solution in this circumstance.
2) Buffet is making appeals to morality when he calls for higher taxes, but since when does morality have a disclaimer that says you only have to be moral if everyone else is too? Imagine how the world would be if Jesus acknowledged that loving your neighbor is the right thing to do, but said that he wasn’t going to love his neighbor because no one else was doing it. If Buffet was being genuinely moral, he would do what he says is the right thing to do- pay more taxes- regardless of what other people were doing. That’s how morality works.