Thursday, December 13, 2012

Fiscal idiots...

What is it with the super-rich's infatuation with government?


Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, John Bogle, George Soros and sixteen other uber-rich cats and ex-politicians sent a letter to Congress the other day recommending a 45% death tax on estates exceeding $2 million. 


Forget about the travesty of decimating, yes decimating, the estates of families (farmers, small business owners, etc.) that represent lifetimes, generations even, of prudence and hard work --- families that occupy the class that pays the lion's share of all income taxes year in and year out --- and consider the utterly sickening notion that somehow society would be best off by the taking of those assets, those resources, from the folks who've earned them and handing them to the most fiscally inept cast of characters this country has ever seen. I mean Bill Gates is a bright guy, isn't he?


Yes, the U.S. government is a fiscal train wreck. To sustain its present level of spending, it has to find more revenue. But understand, the politicians knew what government was bringing in while they were ramping up spending --- in the real world that's called fiscal stupidity (a real world entity would have to cut spending). And the mega-rich want to give them more (taken from the private sector) to play with.  Insane! 



  1. Exaclty my feelings...My only explanation would be that the government has succeeded in making the super rich feel guilty for their success. (anything to squeeze money from them - and others)
    I can't find any other reason for this stupidity...

  2. Some of "the most fiscally inept cast of characters this country has ever seen" are the offspring of the super rich. And some are qualified and motivated to continue family farms and businesses. A number of plans to make the taxes on inherited wealth fairer have included deferring taxes for those who continue family farms/businesses, as well as making the tax a true inheritance tax, adjusted and levied at the receiving end. These are needed adjustments to create one the fairer sources of government revenue. I am attracted to the reasoning of Matt King (George Clooney), the wealthy lead character in the movie "The Descendents," who says that he wants to leave his children "enough so they can do something, but not so much that they can do nothing."

  3. So what if an heir didn't want to continue the family business, but would rather risk her inheritance on some new venture, maybe some world-changing technology that might improve the lives of ordinary people? And what of the family who sells the farm in Central California for say $6 million and pays $1.5 million+ in state and federal capital gains taxes. Is it fair that government then takes yet another round of taxes, to the tune of another $1 million+, at the deaths of mom and pop? Would you consider these folks "super-rich"? And who's to determine what's fair anyway, a bureaucrat? To whom would the bureaucrat distribute the takings? Whose interests would he promote? Would piling yet more money into the same dysfunctional government programs even remotely begin to solve the core, fundamental issues? Who's to determine the "qualification and motivation" of heirs who might carry on the family business, a qualified and motivated bureaucrat?

    As for "fiscally inept casts of characters" - if the offspring of the super-rich are comparable, in that regard, to the politician, thank God they don't have printing presses to cover up their profligate ways.

    As for George Clooney's character, I can understand not leaving his kids "so much that they can do nothing." But why on earth wouldn't he leave the rest to someone (or entity) who might do something productive with it? Surely, you wouldn't suggest a bureaucrat, would you?

    I think Milton Friedman, a man who was known for his empirical work, said it best: "Societies that put equality before freedom get neither. Societies that put freedom before equality get a great a deal of both."