Random ramblings of a mind damaged by years of disuse and abuse. Also a place to go to be bored to tears.
The Random Comic Strip
Words to live by...
"How beautiful it is to do nothing, and to rest afterward."
(The right to looseness has been officially given)
"Everyone carries a part of society on his shoulders," wrote Ludwig von Mises, "no one is relieved of his share of responsibility by others. And no one can find a safe way for himself if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interest, must thrust himself vigorously into the intellectual battle."
Apparently, the crossword puzzle that disappeared from the blog, came back.
Saturday, January 28, 2012
Political trickery, taxes, and you (and me)
My beef today is regarding the silliness called the "Buffett Rule". Why do I call it "silliness?" Simple. It is the old political slight-of-hand, a scam. Well, the rule may not be but the pretense behind is.
Do you know that Buffett's secretary, the one who pays a higher tax rate than Buffett, makes a 6 figure salary? Possibly between $200,000 and $500,000? Still feeling sorry for her? I am sure she is paying a higher rate, she ought to be. She makes more than most of us ever did. She's definitely in the top 5%, maybe the top 1.5%.
On Wednesday, President Obama used her in his State of the Union campaign speech (you don't really think it was a run of the mill SOTU speech, do you? In an election year?) She was invited to be part of the audience and was placed next to the First Lady. She looked like your typical middle class secretary. Except she's anything but. C'mon, she works for a multi-billionaire! She runs in some pretty heady business and political circles.
Nobody in the media seems to ask the tough questions, not of her and not of Buffett.
You see Buffett runs that company, Berkshire Hathaway, as the CEO and largest shareholder. He must take a salary from that position and it is not supposed to be just stock options and a token $1. That's the law. So, he has to make more than just long term capital gains. Therefore, the only way he pays a lower rate is that his taxable income is lower than his secretary's. And to get to that taxable income, he must take advantage of all those loopholes we always hear apply only to the rich. Well, his secretary is rich by any standard so why doesn't she also take advantage of those loopholes? And why, if Buffett is angry about how cheaply he gets off, does he allow his accountant to use all those loopholes and tax breaks?
This is why it is a scam to get you, the public, fired up over the gross inequities between the rich and poor. They want you to be distracted while they, like that pickpocket in the street, empty your wallet... all in the interest of "fairness." Why do I say that? Because you could tax those millionaires (which, according to the administration are those making $250,000 a year) at 100% and still not make a significant dent in the deficit. They will have to (reluctantly, they'll say) increase your taxes to "make ends meet."
My friend, the union thug, tells me he votes Democrat and supports Obama because he's "never gonna be rich." He told me this as he got into his Lincoln Aviator to go home to his vacation house here in Paradise where he spends his winters each year. His house in Michigan sits empty but his three other houses are rented out.
I have one house. I have never had a vacation home. I have owned more than one house at a time, though. Each time because I couldn't sell the one I lived in when I transferred to another state.
My parents owned two houses for a very short time when we moved to Florida in 1956. My father stayed behind to sell it. They owned two houses in the 70's, renting one out while they lived in the other. That lasted for about 3-4 years and then they sold the larger house and moved back into the smaller one because their tenant moved out.
I don't think my union thug friend understands what middle class really is anymore. I don't think he understands what most of us have to struggle through. But, if he does, he is making a mockery of it. Just as his choice in political parties and his choice in presidents do.