Monthly Archives: May 2012

On Hypocrisy, Barack Obama and the Buffett Rule

There are few issues in American politics today that I find more hypocritical or concerning than the so called “Buffett Rule”. Based upon the Billionaire of Omaha suddenly realizing late in life that he pays a lower rate of tax than his secretary. For starters let’s leave aside that if he had concern over his secretary’s financial situation, he could simply dip into his piggy bank and give her a well deserved raise. No, that Warren Buffett would suddenly have a concern that he pays lower tax rates than most Americans is laughable. What did Warren think he was paying those tax attorneys for over the decades? Why did he structure his investments in corporate structures aimed to qualify resultant earning as capital gains rather than standing up like a man and simply characterizing it as ordinary income? No, Warren has built his fortune exploiting every tax scheme available. Now Warren wants other Americans who have been successful to pay higher taxes than the now 80 year old Buffett has for decades. Well, I may not be a financial genius like Warren, but I can spot a blue blooded hypocrite when I see one Warren Buffett is in a hypocritical league of his own.

This story becomes more pathetic when President Obama comes along and latches onto “The Buffett Rule” as the salvation to the nation’s economic ills. Unfortunately President Obama is more a political opportunist and liberal who can never let the opportunity to increase taxes pass them by. Instead of applying the Buffet Rule revenue to debt reductions President Obama would simply use it to fund his liberal democrat social agenda. The President Obama & the Do Nothing Democrats in congress have bet their future upon a political class warfare platform. Any political opportunist cannot resist an opportunity to leverage someone else’s reputation for their gain and Warren Buffett is big league butt cover.

America is a nation where the dream of a better life for one’s self and children was always a core value of the people.  American’s aspire to success and work to give their children a better life than they have. Those who have succeeded have been seen as inspirations to be emulated, not objects of scorn and envy to be torn down. Class warfare has never been a cornerstone of our nation’s political discourse. Today we have a president who in seeking a second term to advance an extreme leftist agenda is basing his reelection on class division and envy without regard to the damage it can do to the nation’s character. In and of itself, hypocrisy is usually a benign personality trait which simply diminished the reputation of the hypocrite. Rarely do hypocrites succeed for long as their lack of character is transparent. However when a national leader bases his partisan future on such a hypocritical platform to advance the big lie, then real harm can be done to the nation.

I will leave it to others to demonstrate how little good the Buffett Rule would do for the debt and the damage raising taxes during a recovery could do (for reference see the Heritage Foundation Article). I actually share the president’s view that there are fundamental inequalities in our tax system. Corporate Cronyism has permeated the tax code leaving it littered with the best loop holes money can buy. But the Buffett Rule is not a solution to inequality but rather a syndical revenue grab by a tax & spend liberal administration. The only way to solve the inequality is a revenue neutral fundamental round of tax reform with simplification as its goal. The more flat our tax system becomes with fewer deductions and loop holes, the more fairness we would see. Mr. President, real tax reform does not make for as good a rally speech, but it is good for the country and the honesty may just help your reputation and the nation’s future. Country first, what a novel concept.

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Filed under 2012 Election, Barak Obama, Budget, Free Markets, National Debt, Politics, Taxes

Vive la France, and Death to the Euro

“There are significant differences between the American and European version of capitalism. The American traditionally emphasizes the need for limited government, light regulations, low taxes and maximum labor-market flexibility. Its success has been shown above all in the ability to create new jobs, in which it is consistently more successful than Europe.”

― Margaret Thatcher, The Path to Power

Let’s set the record straight, I’m basically boring geek and I am damn proud of it. I was the one who always picked a seat at the front of the class and broke out in a sweat when I didn’t have my homework done. Thus it stands to reason that the one and only time I was kicked out of class sticks out in my memory. It was in fact 20 years ago this summer, spring session during my MBA. I will save the professor the embarrassment of naming him but basically he was a liberal academic who worked as a consultant to government when he was not demonstrating his business prowess to we mortal students. It was our corporate strategy course and he was explaining how government industrial policy was essential to business survival. That night he was pontificating how the European Economic Union and the creation of the Euro was proof of the inevitable death of the nation state and the emergence of a single global economy.

Now growing up in a land of leftist purity I had learned the fine art of sucking up one’s own views in pursuit of good grades, but that night I had had enough. You see, to my thinking the Euro was the personification of socialist utopianism. In theory the Euro was the solution to all of Europe’s ills. However, like that ideology, when faced with reality, it was doomed to come crashing down. He asked how I, a mere student and a conservative at that, could have such an idea. I explained it was simple. When economic challenge meets political reality, politics trumps economics every time. It was fine the Germans would give up the Deutche Mark in the name of European nationalism, but when it came time to elect the members of the German Bundestag, the German people would do what all voters do, vote their pocketbook. While Professor (name withheld to protect the intellectually deficient) seemed to conclude European Economic Union would put a permanent end to the economic cycle, some things like gravity never change.

The southern European countries have always had more socialist economies where cradle to grave social programs took precedence over such mundane business metric such as productivity and innovation. Thus that night I had the nerve to say that when a serious economic crisis forced those tight fisted Germans to suck up higher taxes to bail out some spend happy Europeans nation that threatened the stability of the new Euro, political gravity would take over and disintegration would follow. Now I was not smart enough to call Greece as the culprit, I always thought Italy was the kindling that would start the fire. Yet over the last three years we have seen Europe attempt to defy gravity and preserve the Euro as the nations who failed to meet the European Union’s own deficit targets in the good old days fell through the floor in the face of the current debt crisis. The resulting “Our Pain for Your Gain” is a losing political equation.

While European leaders have done a remarkable job managing to keep their fingers in the crumbling dike, the French Electorate yesterday cast their votes against the painful but responsible package of fiscal restraint created by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and now defeated French President Nicolas Sarkozy will be torn apart by the newly elected socialist president of France. How this plays out over the coming months is as uncertain as the end is inevitable. The Euro is about to go the way of the 8 track and the shock waves will be global. So Professor B, the nation state is not dead, you can always count on the electorate to vote their own interests during difficult times. Yesterday the French did exactly that and while their new Socialist President’s policies are doomed to failure, they are the death of the Euro. So tonight I say the words I never thought I would say, Vive la France, Vive la Libertie. As for my almost forgotten Professor, being right comes from the strength of your convictions and the rightness of your ideals, not tenure.

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Filed under Europe, France, Politics