Watch this guy whine about how he works harder than anyone else and that’s why he deserves more money than the rest of us, yada yada, blarty-blart, and then read about Buffet and others below. Their attitudes about money and taxes are refreshing:
Apparently, he feels put-upon and under-appreciated for the hard work he does which creates a lot of jobs. He also feels that small business owners are losers and that they don’t create “real” jobs.
He’s a Marketing Manager.
And then there are Buffet and others who understand the idea of a social contract.
From the 2003 Annual Report of Berkshire Hathaway:
On May 20, 2003, The Washington Post ran an op-ed piece by me that was critical of the Bush tax
proposals. Thirteen days later, Pamela Olson, Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy at the U.S. Treasury,
delivered a speech about the new tax legislation saying, “That means a certain midwestern oracle, who, it
must be noted, has played the tax code like a fiddle, is still safe retaining all his earnings.” I think she was
talking about me.
Alas, my “fiddle playing” will not get me to Carnegie Hall – or even to a high school recital.
Berkshire, on your behalf and mine, will send the Treasury $3.3 billion for tax on its 2003 income, a sum
equaling 2½% of the total income tax paid by all U.S. corporations in fiscal 2003. (In contrast, Berkshire’s
market valuation is about 1% of the value of all American corporations.) Our payment will almost
certainly place us among our country’s top ten taxpayers. Indeed, if only 540 taxpayers paid the amount
Berkshire will pay, no other individual or corporation would have to pay anything to Uncle Sam. That’s
right: 290 million Americans and all other businesses would not have to pay a dime in income, social
security, excise or estate taxes to the federal government. (Here’s the math: Federal tax receipts, including
social security receipts, in fiscal 2003 totaled $1.782 trillion and 540 “Berkshires,” each paying $3.3
billion, would deliver the same $1.782 trillion.)
Our federal tax return for 2002 (2003 is not finalized), when we paid $1.75 billion, covered a mere
8,905 pages. As is required, we dutifully filed two copies of this return, creating a pile of paper seven feet
tall. At World Headquarters, our small band of 15.8, though exhausted, momentarily flushed with pride:
Berkshire, we felt, was surely pulling its share of our country’s fiscal load.
But Ms. Olson sees things otherwise. And if that means Charlie and I need to try harder, we are
ready to do so.
I do wish, however, that Ms. Olson would give me some credit for the progress I’ve already made.
In 1944, I filed my first 1040, reporting my income as a thirteen-year-old newspaper carrier. The return
covered three pages. After I claimed the appropriate business deductions, such as $35 for a bicycle, my tax
bill was $7. I sent my check to the Treasury and it – without comment – promptly cashed it. We lived in
SELECTED QUOTES from “I DIDN’T DO IT ALONE: Society’s Contribution to Individual Wealth and Success:”
“I personally think that society is responsible for a very significant percentage of what I’ve earned.”
— Warren Buffett, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway
“My wealth is not only a product of my own hard work. It also resulted from a strong economy and lots of public investment, both in others and in me. I received a good public school education and used free libraries and museums paid for by others. I went to college under the GI Bill. I went to graduate school to study computers and language on a complete government scholarship… While teaching at Syracuse University for 25 years, my research was supported by numerous government grants… My university research provided the basis for Syracuse Language Systems…”
— Martin Rothenberg, founder of Syracuse Language Systems and Glottal Enterprises
“Lots of people who are smart and work hard and play by the rules don’t have a fraction of what I have. I realize I don’t have my wealth because I’m so brilliant. Luck has a lot to do with it.”
— Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, Inc.
“The opportunities to create wealth are all taking advantage of public goods–like roads, transportation, markets–and public investments… We are all standing on the shoulders of all that came before us, and creating a society for our children and those that come after us. We have obligations as part of that.”
— Jim Sherblom, venture capitalist and former chief financial officer of Genzyme
“I feel like there’s no way I’ve done this by myself… Every single person we worked with has contributed to making Hanna what it is today… People in Sweden don’t like paying taxes either, but nobody would ever suggest that you would close schools because you didn’t have enough money to keep them open.”
— Gun Denhart, co-founder of Hanna Andersson clothing company