Blog on the Run: Reloaded

Monday, August 15, 2011 8:08 pm

Warren Buffett, masochist; or, supply-side BS unmasked

Filed under: I want my money back. — Lex @ 8:08 pm
Tags: , ,

Raising taxes on the wealthy doesn’t scare off investment and doesn’t hurt job creation, says Warren Buffett:


Back in the 1980s and 1990s, tax rates for the rich were far higher, and my percentage rate was in the middle of the pack. According to a theory I sometimes hear, I should have thrown a fit and refused to invest because of the elevated tax rates on capital gains and dividends.

I didn’t refuse, nor did others. I have worked with investors for 60 years and I have yet to see anyone — not even when capital gains rates were 39.9 percent in 1976-77 — shy away from a sensible investment because of the tax rate on the potential gain. People invest to make money, and potential taxes have never scared them off. And to those who argue that higher rates hurt job creation, I would note that a net of nearly 40 million jobs were added between 1980 and 2000. You know what’s happened since then: lower tax rates and far lower job creation. …

Job one for the 12 [members of Congress who will be defining deficit-reduction details] is to pare down some future promises that even a rich America can’t fulfill. Big money must be saved here. The 12 should then turn to the issue of revenues. I would leave rates for 99.7 percent of taxpayers unchanged and continue the current 2-percentage-point reduction in the employee contribution to the payroll tax. This cut helps the poor and the middle class, who need every break they can get.

But for those making more than $1 million — there were 236,883 such households in 2009 — I would raise rates immediately on taxable income in excess of $1 million, including, of course, dividends and capital gains. And for those who make $10 million or more — there were 8,274 in 2009 — I would suggest an additional increase in rate.

My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.

Buffett, in simple language, explains just how rigged the system is in favor not only of the wealthy but also in favor of those whose income is derived from investments rather than labor.

Friday, May 28, 2010 8:39 pm

Warren Buffett, come on down

I noted that billionaire Warren Buffett dumped a bunch of Moody’s stock (as did company CEO Raymond McDaniel) the same day Moody’s received a Wells notice, which is formal notification from the government that it intends to get a legal order to stop Moody’s from rating securities. Which is, you know, pretty much the bulk of what Moody’s does.

Well, as a result of that, Buffett was invited to testify before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission. He declined. What happened next?

FCIC:* Uh, dude? When we said “invite,” well, we were just being polite.

Buffett:* Screw you.

FCIC:* I will ask you once more. Nicely.

Buffett:* SCREW. YOU.

FCIC: (issues subpoena).

Which is interesting, but this gets better as Tyler Durden at Zero Hedge notes that this investigation “obviously revolve[s] around Buffett … Moody’s is merely a smokescreen.”


*possibly not a direct quote

Saturday, May 8, 2010 9:12 pm

Moody’s: Dead rating agency walking?

The SEC has filed a Wells notice, the company disclosed last night, which means that it intends to get a legal order for Moody’s to stop rating securities.

Which is kind of what Moody’s does, so I can see how this might put a crimp in their business plan, not to mention be of interest to stockholders.

Inflated ratings on mortgage-backed securities were one of the key mechanisms by which a lot of wealth was stolen and a lot of damage done to the economy in recent years. So I would like to think that this is only the first drop in a hellstorm that will culminate in lengthy prison sentences for senior Moody’s executives in one of those prisons that doesn’t have a single blade of grass in the exercise yard.

Of course, I also would like to think that when I wake up tomorrow there will be a third tap at my kitchen sink that will dispense Natty Greene’s Buckshot Amber, but that probably ain’t gonna happen, either.

UPDATE: The same day Moody’s got its Wells notice, the CEO dumped a bunch of stock. I’m with Gibbs: I don’t believe in coincidences.

UPDATE: Also unloading Moody’s stock that fateful day? Warren Buffett.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010 5:32 am

Quality government ain’t cheap

It looks like the cost to taxpayers of getting Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., on board with the Democrats’ finance-reform bill — that is, getting him to vote for a cloture motion and break a GOP filibuster — may be an $8 billion gift to Nebraska’s richest man, Warren Buffett. Warren, pal, you’ve been on the side of the angels before, but on this one, you’re just one more bankster.

(If this bill were actually going to prevent another big economic failure, I’d say it was worth it. But it doesn’t go nearly far enough to do that.)

Sunday, March 21, 2010 9:49 pm

Featuring special guest star Warren Buffett as The Lizard King, Jim Morrison Axl Rose …

Filed under: Fun — Lex @ 9:49 pm
Tags: ,

… a Geico recruiting commercial, featuring real Geico employees and The Man:

Monday, December 7, 2009 9:57 pm

Odds and ends for 12/7

It’s not a game, but somebody forgot to tell the Labor Department:

The real Climategate. ‘Nuff said.

Remembering Mark Pittman: This guy was the real deal.

And if we follow this line of logic to its painfully obvious conclusion, we learn …: Warren Buffett thinks federally subsidizing a competitor of his Business Wire would be bad. How long before he concludes the same thing about subsidizing another of his key investments, Goldman Sachs?

Fire ’em. And lock ’em up: Someone at the FDIC is passing inside information. Mary Schapiro needs to be fired, beaten and driven across the landscape like a mangy bison.

Clarity: This is bizarre, in a good way — Zero Hedge and Google have formed a partnership to, among other things, translate government financial info into plain English.

Your flawed premise. Let me show you it: Two (out of the more than 6,000) members of the Academy of Motion Picture Whozawhatsis call for Al Gore’s Oscar to be rescinded in light of the hacked e-mails about global warming. Which would be fine except that Al Gore never got an Oscar. The Oscar went to the director of “An Inconvenient Truth.” Who was not Al Gore.

Opaque is the new transparent: A government meeting on open records and transparency is closed to the media and public. Write your own punchline.

Bummer: Obama rules out drugs, hookers as economic stimuli. Dang.

Someone remind me again who the terrorists are?: AIG execs threaten to walk out en masse if they don’t get their bonuses. Door. Ass. Quoth Digby: “This could be Obama’s equivalent of Reagan and the air traffic controllers if he wants it to be.” Precisely.

Well, yeah, if, by “narrow, ideological interest group” you mean “three-fourths of voters”: Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., says only a few politically motivated people want a public option for health insurance.

How did I miss this?: Slate had a “Write Like Sarah Palin” contest. On the down side, to be competitive I’d’ve had to drink at least a case in one sitting.

Silenced: Former Guantanamo prosecutor Morris Davis, who once resigned rather than run what he thought was a rigged system of justice at Guantanamo, has been fired from the Library of Congress for continuing to criticize the military-commission system publicly and calling former AG Mike Mukasey out for the pants-wetting anti-American baby he is. The ACLU has taken Davis’s case. Good.

Blessings: Former Fox “News” host Eric Burns counts his: “I have several. Among them is that I do not have to face the ethical problem of sharing an employer with Glenn Beck.”

Quote of the day: From Balloon Juice’s John Cole, on “bipartisan” health-care reform: “You know, as much as our national political chattering classes are enamored with the baby Jesus, I find it amazing that none of them ever managed to hear the story of King Solomon. … every Senator apparently [is] eager to rush home to show off their half of the bloody baby.”

Quote of the day runner-up: From Doc at First Draft, on the Dallas Morning News’ plan to have its news editors reporting to advertising execs: “You can say that there’s a line that’s drawn and that we don’t cross it. That’s all fine and good, but when you keep moving the line the way the DMN has now, you are never sure if you’ll cross the line or the line will cross you.”

Uh, dude?: Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., nominated his girlfriend to be a U.S. attorney. That’s not good, but as Marcy points out, Baucus is responsible for an even bigger screwing than that.

So, Bowl Championship Series, how’s that Jenna Jameson-led abstinence campaign going?: Former Bush White House spokesliar Ari Fleischer compares the current college-football bowl system, now despised by a miniscule 85% of Americans, to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade as an irreplaceable tradition.

Inevitable headline: Doh!: Cartoon character C. Montgomery Burns outpolls Rudy Giuliani in NYC mayoral race.

Monday, November 23, 2009 9:04 pm

Efficient allocation of resources

Filed under: I want my money back. — Lex @ 9:04 pm
Tags: ,

Warren Buffett: “The idea that people that move money around are some favored class—and they are in this country, even in terms of taxes—strikes me as getting pretty far away from where we should be.”

Saturday, February 28, 2009 11:58 am

Quote of the day

Filed under: Quote Of The Day — Lex @ 11:58 am
Tags: , ,

From Warren Buffett, in his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, on the inscrutability of the derivatives market: “Participants seeking to dodge troubles face the same problem as someone seeking to avoid venereal
disease: It’s not just whom you sleep with, but also whom they are sleeping with.”

Paraphrase (and a very light paraphrase it is) of the day, from the same source: I didn’t expect the price of oil to drop the way it did, and I therefore cost the company billions.

(h/t: Ed)

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