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View Diary: Warren Buffett calls for A Minimum Tax for the Wealthy (107 comments)

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  •  Y'know, this may be true on some sub- (2+ / 0-)
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    LilithGardener, elwior

    conscious level, but it certainly isn't anything I can read between the lines of what my wealthy friends say. It was quite a Thanksgiving at my house and my very wealthiest guest clearly believes that many, many of those who aren't making it in this society have only themselves to blame. He, himself, came up the youngest in a very large, very poor family and worked his ass off to accumulate the substantial wealth he now holds. He is one of the most generous people I know, always the first in our community to offer substantial gifts to those in need and to important local causes. He really does believe that the poor are making war on the rich who deserve all that they have made in their lives. He doesn't seem to recognize that he couldn't have made that money all by himself -- but he's not in any conscious way wanting to "preoccupy" the poor with their survival needs.

    I guess what I'm trying to say here is that we don't necessarily gain anything like truth by stereotyping the wealthy any more than they approach truth by stereotyping the poor. Rather, arguing for economically advisable tax policies (as Buffett does and as RobLewis does in his rec-listed diary) seems more useful to me than demonizing the wealthy as a group.

    The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain, is floating in mid-air, until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life. Jane Addams

    by Alice Olson on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 09:09:49 AM PST

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    •  Yes, but the irony is that many of (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      elwior

      the opportunities he found and prepared for, and took advantage of were in a time when taxes were much higher!

      His attribution error is in not recognizing that no one today, in the circumstances he faced in his youth could repeat what he was able to do.

      •  Well, he has no college education, is not (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LilithGardener

        an American citizen (he was born and raised in post-war Germany) and came to the US as a common laborer. Little by little, he saved money and built a small business which with very hard work he grew into a big business and then an international business. He took lots of risks and he acknowledges that he was lucky.

        Honestly, I don't know whether what he achieved is impossible today. I do know, it's not very likely and that he is an especially driven guy. In fact, that's pretty much true of all the really, really rich people I know. Nothing matters more to them than the accumulation of wealth; sad by apparently true.

        The good we secure for ourselves is precarious and uncertain, is floating in mid-air, until it is secured for all of us and incorporated into our common life. Jane Addams

        by Alice Olson on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 02:31:06 PM PST

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        •  Good for him - but any one starting out in (0+ / 0-)

          similar circumstances today has today's economic conditions to deal with and not the 2 long bull markets that began in the 90s and ended so spectacularly in 2007.

          I imagine he's a fine businessman. For people without a college degree, there are far fewer doors open now, and many obstacles stand in the way of those who "did everything they were supposed to do" when the invested in a college education.

          I've been extremely successful considering my background, but I am sick of people who say, "If I could do it, then other can do it."

        •  He may be the poster child for ethical business (0+ / 0-)

          practices...or not.

          Did his business involve employees?
          Did he pay them fairly?
          Did he treat them fairly?
          Did he pay all the taxes legally owed?  (Nothing under the table?)

          Did he take any shortcuts?
          Did he play by all the rules?

          Like I said, he may be the most ethical business person who ever lived -- I wouldn't know.

          But, sometimes, when becoming wealthy is the most important thing, a driven person will decide that the ends justify the means, and nothing stands in their way.

          Sometimes they don't even notice.

          "I think in America, the opposite of poverty is justice." Bryan Stevenson

          by gfre on Mon Nov 26, 2012 at 06:10:41 PM PST

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