I have been a fan of Warren Buffett for as long as I can remember. In fact, a book of his quotes is one of the oldest “business” books in my library. His recent piece in the NY Times is as bold as it is not. While he’s pushing for higher taxes for the ultra-wealthy and certainly will draw the ire of some of the 236,883 households in America who earn more than $1 million per year, there’s nothing all that earth shattering about a proposal that suggests that the rich should carry – at the very least – their proportionate share of the burden come tax time. Furthermore, he’s also supported by the simple logic that most of the households in question are not hurting for the basic necessities (i.e., food, shelter, healthcare, etc.) and could therefore spare even more of their income to pitch in and help solve this country’s ballooning national debt.
That said, I think there is more than amble evidence to suggest that Mr. Buffett has a supreme command of the complexities of finance and accounting and therefore I’m surprised that he did not take a stance on the thorny issues that are truly undermining the financial solvency of this great country – entitlement programs. Approximately 58% of the estimated 2012 federal budget is scheduled to be spent on Social Security (20%), Medicare and Medicaid (20%), and income security as well other miscellaneous entitlements (18%). It is estimated that by 2049 these three areas will consume fully 100% of the federal budget reaching a whopping 18.2% of the GDP. I think there are few people that would publicly (or even privately) suggest a wholesale slash-and-burn approach to overhauling these programs but passing the buck forward to our children and their children cannot be the best and only approach.
Mr. Buffett has proposed a brave new approach to ramp up our federal income when in fact what we need desperately is an inspired, realistic, and stoic plan to eliminate our deficit and fully fund these programs. A failure to effectively tackle these problems in the next five years will spell disaster for future generations.
- Warren Buffet: Stop Coddling the Super-Rich (americablog.com)
- Warren Buffet: Tax the Rich (slog.thestranger.com)
- Warren Buffet for President! (calgough.wordpress.com)
- Warren Buffet calls on ‘mega-rich’ to pay more taxes (cbc.ca)
- Is Anyone Else Getting Tired Of Warren Buffet? (davidnordmark.com)