BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY: THE ORACLE OF OMAHA SAYS THROW’EM A BONE SO WE CAN KEEP WHAT WE OWN!
Global Revolution 1: American Revolution 2: Day 56: Communication 1
IronBoltBruce’s Kleptocracy Chronicles for 11 Nov 2011 (g1a2d0056c1)
How many examples of greed and corruption must you see before you act?
If your mind is media-managed like that of most Americans, hearing the name “Warren Buffett” immediately spawns images of a nice old man with a twinkle in his eye – and billions in the bank – who reminds you of your Grandpa (or the Grandpa you wish you had). Well, Warren Buffett is a “man” … and he is 80 years “old” … but he is NOT “nice”. Check the facts: Warren Buffett is Chairman and CEO of the Fortune 500 conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway, but he had nothing to do with founding that company. Rather, he took it over so he could fire what may have been one of the last men to mess with him. It should also not go unmentioned that – given his $5 billion investment in Bank of America this past August – Buffet stood to pocket a pretty penny from their $5 debit card fees if BOA had not cowered and caved.
Through the companies and brands owned by Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett makes money off almost every American almost every day. I would wager that 90% of you reading this directly or indirectly contributed to the bottom line of more than one of Warren Buffett’s companies more than once in the past 90 days:
The GEICO Gecko, the Fruit of the Loom guys, Dairy Queen’s old-fashioned shaving bunnies, and yes even those four former General Re executives who just got their AIG-related fraud and conspiracy convictions overturned on a technicality are (or were) drummers and shills for Warren Buffett. Sensing mortality (or feeling guilty) perhaps, Buffett has made massive philanthropic moves in recent years. But I’d say his primary motivator is still greed – if not in the having, then at least in the getting. And like any winning chess player, Buffett thinks no more about sacrificing a pawn than he does about throwing dogs a bone. Just as he did here…
The following is a 14 August 2011 Op-Ed contribution by Warren Buffett to the New York Times. It is entitled “Stop Coddling the Super-Rich”, but clearly conveys the message “Throw’em a Bone So We Can Keep What We Own!”:
[The words of Warren Buffet begin here]
OUR leaders have asked for “shared sacrifice.” But when they did the asking, they spared me. I checked with my mega-rich friends to learn what pain they were expecting. They, too, were left untouched.
While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks. Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as “carried interest,” thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate. Others own stock index futures for 10 minutes and have 60 percent of their gain taxed at 15 percent, as if they’d been long-term investors.
These and other blessings are showered upon us by legislators in Washington who feel compelled to protect us, much as if we were spotted owls or some other endangered species. It’s nice to have friends in high places.
Last year my federal tax bill – the income tax I paid, as well as payroll taxes paid by me and on my behalf – was $6,938,744. That sounds like a lot of money. But what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income – and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and averaged 36 percent.
If you make money with money, as some of my super-rich friends do, your percentage may be a bit lower than mine. But if you earn money from a job, your percentage will surely exceed mine – most likely by a lot.
To understand why, you need to examine the sources of government revenue. Last year about 80 percent of these revenues came from personal income taxes and payroll taxes. The mega-rich pay income taxes at a rate of 15 percent on most of their earnings but pay practically nothing in payroll taxes. It’s a different story for the middle class: typically, they fall into the 15 percent and 25 percent income tax brackets, and then are hit with heavy payroll taxes to boot.
Back in the 1980s and 1990s, tax rates for the rich were far higher, and my percentage rate was in the middle of the pack. According to a theory I sometimes hear, I should have thrown a fit and refused to invest because of the elevated tax rates on capital gains and dividends.
I didn’t refuse, nor did others. I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone – not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 – shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain. People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off. And to those who argue that higher rates hurt job creation, I would note that a net of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000. You know what’s happened since then: lower tax rates and far lower job creation.
Since 1992, the I.R.S. has compiled data from the returns of the 400 Americans reporting the largest income. In 1992, the top 400 had aggregate taxable income of $16.9 billion and paid federal taxes of 29.2 percent on that sum. In 2008, the aggregate income of the highest 400 had soared to $90.9 billion – a staggering $227.4 million on average – but the rate paid had fallen to 21.5 percent.
The taxes I refer to here include only federal income tax, but you can be sure that any payroll tax for the 400 was inconsequential compared to income. In fact, 88 of the 400 in 2008 reported no wages at all, though every one of them reported capital gains. Some of my brethren may shun work but they all like to invest. (I can relate to that.)
I know well many of the mega-rich and, by and large, they are very decent people. They love America and appreciate the opportunity this country has given them. Many have joined the Giving Pledge, promising to give most of their wealth to philanthropy. Most wouldn’t mind being told to pay more in taxes as well, particularly when so many of their fellow citizens are truly suffering.
Twelve members of Congress will soon take on the crucial job of rearranging our country’s finances. They’ve been instructed to devise a plan that reduces the 10-year deficit by at least $1.5 trillion. It’s vital, however, that they achieve far more than that. Americans are rapidly losing faith in the ability of Congress to deal with our country’s fiscal problems. Only action that is immediate, real and very substantial will prevent that doubt from morphing into hopelessness. That feeling can create its own reality.
Job one for the 12 is to pare down some future promises that even a rich America can’t fulfill. Big money must be saved here. The 12 should then turn to the issue of revenues. I would leave rates for 99.7 percent of taxpayers unchanged and continue the current 2-percentage-point reduction in the employee contribution to the payroll tax. This cut helps the poor and the middle class, who need every break they can get.
But for those making more than $1 million – there were 236,883 such households in 2009 – I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including, of course, dividends and capital gains. And for those who make $10 million or more – there were 8,274 in 2009 – I would suggest an additional increase in rate.
My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.
[The words of Warren Buffet end here]
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SHOW ME WHAT KLEPTOCRACY LOOKS LIKE! THIS IS WHAT KLEPTOCRACY LOOKS LIKE!
Kleptocracy [klep-TOK-ruh-see]: A government or state in which those in power exploit national resources and steal; rule by a thief or thieves. See also the United States of America where, as Goethe said, “None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” Want documented examples of the corporate greed that corrupts our government and fuels the Revolution? Find dozens here, with more to come:
IT IS NO COINCIDENCE THAT OF THE LAST 14 U.S. PRESIDENTS, 7 HAVE BEEN DEMOCRATS AND 7 HAVE BEEN REPUBLICANS.
Our Kleptocracy-controlled media focuses on America’s two-year election cycles as if who wins or loses in the swinging of the pendulum was a matter of life or death, when in fact even at the Presidential level it makes no more difference than the outcomes of Monday Night Football, American Idol, Dancing With The Stars, Hillbilly Handfishing or the trial of Michael Jackson’s doctor. U.S. elections are staged primarily to give Sheeple the illusion of control so they will (a) vent their frustrations and expend their energy, emotions and resources supporting or attacking the Puppet on the Left hand or the Puppet on the Right, and consequently (b) never recognize and challenge the common omnipotent Puppetmaster.
There was no real change in 2008. There was no real change in 2010. There WILL be real change in 2012, but it won’t be coming from tele-brainwashed couch potatoes, manipulated voter lists, rigged voting machines or predetermined ballot counts. It will be coming from us…
The 99 Percent
I AM NOT ANONYMOUS. I AM AN AMERICAN.
I am not just a Consumer. I am a Citizen.
I will no longer be labeled Left or Right, Liberal or Conservative, Demopublican or Republocrat.
I will no longer follow Puppets labeled Left or Right, Liberal or Conservative, Demopublican or Republocrat.
I am the People. And I am coming for the Puppetmasters.
I am part of the 99 Percent. And I demand the following:
1. End the Fed.
2. Reverse Citizens United.
3. Repeal PATRIOT Act.
4. Expose 9/11 Truth.
5. End Profit Wars.
6. Refund Taxpayer Trillions.
7. Imprison the Kleptocrats.
8. Single Term Limits.
Or, if these demands are not addressed promptly:
1. Regime Change.
LABELS (A POEM OF PROTEST)
The parties of the system;
Puppets both, for sale their votes,
No character or wisdom.
For change or status quo?
Pick either one, the change is none,
All charlatans and whores.
Far “Left” we place the Anarchists,
Libertarians claim far “Right”;
Yet both decry the government:
False continuum brought to light.
For oil, “We” bomb their mud huts,
Strip them bare, then offer “Aid”;
And fake their retribution as
Pretext – a false flag raised.
Unarmed hundred thousands killed
By weapons of “Defense”,
While rights are lost for “Freedom” sake -
On profit, all depends.
With stroke of pen, the “Patriot” Act,
And patriots’ gifts are taken;
Then “Citizens United” leaves
Our citizens forsaken.
We protest loss of liberties,
Put “World Wide Web” to use;
Cloudmark Authority censors us
For “messaging abuse”.
They label us to finger-point,
With labels, “They” deride us;
Their labels keep us all at bay,
For with labels, “They” divide us.
JOIN THE GLOBAL REVOLUTION!
Occupy Wall Street/OWS:
Occupy DC/Stop the Machine:
Watch these Videos:
Take this Pledge:
How many examples of greed and corruption must you see before you act?