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Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Class Warfare - Guess Which Class Is Winning?

"There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war - and we're winning."

--Warren E. Buffet, chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway (interview with Ben Stein) Sunday NY Times 11/26/06

Ben Stein recently conducted a lengthy interview with 'one of the smartest men on the planet', Warren E. Buffett. One of the main subjects they discussed was taxes.

Mr. Stein wrote in his article, "Put simply, the rich pay a lot of taxes as a total percentage of taxes collected, but they don't pay a lot of taxes as a percentage of what they can afford to pay, or as a percentage of what the government needs to close the deficit gap."...

"...Mr. Buffett, with immense income from dividends and capital gains, paid far, far less (in taxes) as a fraction of his income than the secretaries or the clerks or anyone else in his office...and Mr. Buffett doesn't use any tax planning at all. He just pays as the Internal Revenue Code requires... 'How can this be can this be right?' asked Mr. Buffett."...

Ben Stein noted that, "(according to some) the mere suggestion of raising taxes, particularly for the wealthiest individuals, constituted 'class warfare'." Which led to Buffett's retort at the beginning of this post.

Mr. Stein discusses how he can be a conservative and still want higher taxes. "...I thought that conservatives were supposed to like balanced budgets. I thought it was the conservative position not to leave heavy indebtedness to our grandchildren...and the view that there should be some balance between income and outflow. When did this change?..."

"...It changed when we figured out that we could cut taxes and generate so much revenue that we would balance the budget. But isn't that what doctors call magical thinking? Haven't the facts proved that this theory, though charming and beguiling, was wrong?..."

"This brings me back to Mr. Buffett. If, in fact, it's all just a giveaway to the rich masquerading as a new way of stimulating the economy and balancing the budget...let's rethink it...I don't like the idea that Mr. Buffett pays a lot less in tax as a percentage of his income than my housekeeper does or than I do..."

"...I don't want class warfare from any direction, through the tax system or any other way..."

MrKen calls attention to the utter hypocrisy of our federal government. In a supposed 'time of war', it lavishes money on its rich supporters with tax cuts when it should be raising taxes to support our overstretched military. And instead of raising taxes in anticipation of the great wave of 'boomer retirees' who deserve a secure Social Security Retirement & Healthcare system(Medicare & Medicaid), it wages economic war against these soon-to-be-retirees and the poor. It refuses to raise the minimum wage even once in ten years but gives itself 8 pay raises worth $15/hour & 30,000/yr in that period.

The war is over, opines MrKen - the rich have already won...

For the full NY Times article, follow this link...

*italics & bolding added by MrKen for emphasis


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