Dec 15, 2007

Kevin Duffy on the statist Hillary Clinton and pseudo-capitalist Warren Buffett tag team

Next up: American capitalism's folk hero, Warren Buffett, raising funds for Hillary Clinton. According the WSJ:

"The fund-raising 'Conversation with Warren Buffett' drew over 1,500 people, including a mix of Silicon Valley executives such as John Doerr, a partner at venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers... Tickets ranged from $100 to more than $2,300, drawing in around $1 million, according to the Clinton campaign."
How ludicrous - the country's prominent venture capitalists and its best known and beloved "capitalist" raising funds for a committed welfare statist and socialist. On CNBC, Hillary agreed with Buffett's position to maintain the estate tax because, in her words,

"It's really a tax to prevent us from having inherited wealth generation after generation which would undermine the kind of spirit and meritocracy that the United States stands for."
This is awfully charitable of Hillary and Warren to provide such a vital service to our "free" society. Never mind that Mr. Buffett sells life insurance to these very people attempting to protect their family businesses and family estates from the ravages of the tax man, just so they can keep them intact for their children. Buffett chooses to hand over the vast majority of his $57 billion fortune to charity, so why should he care? Repeal the exemption on charitable giving and you would see him go apoplectic. In 1995, Buffett was quoted on the subject:

"I personally think that society is responsible for a very significant percentage of what I've earned. If you stick me down in the middle of Bangladesh or Peru or someplace, you find out how much this talent is going to produce in the wrong kind of soil... I work in a market system that happens to reward what I do very well -- disproportionately well... I do think that when you're treated enormously well by this market system, where in effect the market system showers the ability to buy goods and services on you because of some peculiar talent -- maybe your adenoids are a certain way, so you can sing and everybody will pay you enormous sums to be on television or whatever -- I think society has a big claim on that."
So on the one hand, Buffett realizes the free market maximizes human potential, and on the other supports Big Government, itself the greatest threat to free markets. Some capitalist. Note to Oracle of Omaha: If you feel the need to give back, why not write a few checks to free market think tanks?

~ Kevin Duffy, Bearing Asset Management, "Beam Me Up,", December 14, 2007

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