Blogs & Comment

Taxes and Warren Buffett

Is it right that Buffett says wealthy people like him should pay more taxes when he uses every angle to avoid paying taxes?

(Illustration: Craig Smallish/Getty)

Warren Buffett’s prostate cancer is not at a serious stage, but it still got me to thinking about what his legacy will be like after he is gone. I wouldn’t be surprised if the shine comes off over time.

The news came out just as I was reading a tirade against Buffett in a new investment book, Scott Schultz’s Guide to Closed-end Funds:

“Mr. Buffett has set up his charitable [foundation] to deprive the U.S. Government of about $30 billion … dollars upon his demise. He has structured his affairs … so the U.S. Government, which has protected him as he earned his billions, goes begging while he donates his largesse to poor countries globally. Mr. Buffett can use the current laws while crying crocodile tears that tax rates are not high enough on the rich. … It does rankle some I’ve spoken with that Buffett proudly boasts his secretaries pay more in taxes than he does!”

Buffett’s desire to avoid taxes seems to border on the fanatical or, dare I say, the pathological. Donating a few billion or so of his wealth to helping the U.S. Government get its house back in order would sure help preserve his legacy. After all, it was the land of freedom and opportunity that allowed him to flourish, so it seems some token of gratitude would only be fitting.