Liberally Conservative

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free....... ~Ronald Reagan~

Monday, June 26, 2006

Warren Buffett - Two-Face With His Money

"Warren Buffett, the chairman and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., will give most of his $44 billion in Berkshire stock to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, entrusting his philanthropic legacy to the only person richer than him," Bloomberg reports. The New York Sun reports, Mr. Buffett could have let the government take its share of his estate after he dies. But just as Mr. Buffett has accumulated his vast wealth without paying much personal income tax, he has found a way to avoid the tax man in this maneuver as well, even writing in his letter to Bill and Melinda Gates that a condition of the gift is that the foundation "must continue to satisfy legal requirements qualifying my gifts as charitable and not subject to gift or other taxes." On the estate tax, watch what Mr. Buffett does, not what he says. The Gates Foundation isn't the only recipient of his largesse--three foundations headed by Mr. Buffett's three children, Susan, Howard, and Peter, will get hundreds of millions of dollars. Tax documents show that in 2004, Peter Buffett and his wife Jennifer each took a $40,000 a year salary for what they reported was 30 hours a week each of work on the foundation.
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Much like John Kerry (D-MA), Mr. Buffet is for the tax before he is against it. Unlike Mr. Kerry, who marries into money, Mr. Buffet uses the tax code to grow his wealth.

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5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

of course buffett does not want a bunch of government bureaucrats deciding what to do with his money. a private charity like the gates foundation will do much more good than the government ever could. two faced? are you communist? what the hell? buffett is setting a great example for other billionaires.

6/26/2006 04:45:00 PM  
Blogger Liberally Conservative said...

The point is this:

Buffett supports the "death tax" or estate tax.

However, he is working fast to get his money in place, with the current lower estate tax rates before they go up in 2011.

Don't insult me if you haven't read the whole article or wish to interpret the article to suit your blind mind.

His money will do good in the Gates Foundation, the point is he supports a tax he is working to beat so he doesn't pay it.

What's good for everyone else should be good for Buffett. What about the small business owner or farmers who pass their farms to relatives. They have less than Buffett and Gates.

6/26/2006 06:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wow walrus,
don't get your point. seems
like the guy wants to help
people out by donating money.
why would you attack him for
doing this efficiently?

g.

6/26/2006 07:45:00 PM  
Blogger Liberally Conservative said...

The point is not donating the money, which is quite admirable.

The point is Warren Buffett has come out strongly in favor of the estate tax, also known as the "death tax."

He is radidly moving his money before the current estate tax rules change, the same rules he disfavors. His sudden rush is to get the process done before 2011, if the favorable estate tax rates don't become permanent, which Buffett is against.

If the rates and laws he actually favors were now in place Buffett would pay 50-55% more in taxes against the money he is donating.

So...if Mr. Buffett is so crazy about the old rates he should voluntarily pay this tax to the government so they can waste it on earmarks.

Buffett is favoring tax rates that hurt small business owners, family farms and many others with small wealth compared to the billions he has. People should have a legal right to pass their estates to their families at death without fear from the government.

My post is not that the donation is not good, but Mr. Buffett should quit espousing something (higher taxes) when he is working to get around it by making himself look so generous.

Buffett wants it both ways for himself but not for others.

6/27/2006 09:49:00 AM  
Blogger Liberally Conservative said...

I might add, the Wall Street Journal points out this fact:

In explaining his charitable motivations this week, Mr. Buffett also went out of his way to say that he is "not an enthusiast for dynastic wealth." This is fair enough, and is also one of Mr. Buffett's arguments for so vocally defending federal death tax rates of 50% or more. But we can't help but point out that Mr. Buffett's gift will itself be shielded from Uncle Sam because it is going to a foundation. So in practice he is in favor of death taxes only for those whose estates are too small to hide in foundation tax shelters.

6/28/2006 09:55:00 AM  

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