Please, Warren, shut up. Are you getting as tired as I am of hearing Warren Buffett spout off about how the rich should pay more in taxes? Rather than annually giving billions of dollars to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which lowers his taxes even more, why doesn’t he just write a check to the U.S. Treasury? The truth is, every dollar Buffett gets in dividends has already been taxed 35 percent by the government. If you add that to the supposedly meager taxes he pays personally, it comes to a lot more than his poor secretary forks out. And what really riles me is that Buffett knows this.
Unions support the Occupy Wall Street movement. A new group has joined what The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto called “superannuated hippies, dopey college kids, and fatuous liberals” demonstrating against Wall Street: thousands of union members. And guess what? It turns out the labor groups all have something in common: “they all include members who work for the government or, in the case of the UAW, for corporate welfare cases.” Surprise, surprise.
*So long, Andy. Thanks for the memories. Last Sunday marked the end of an era. Andy Rooney, everybody’s favorite caring curmudgeon, delivered his last essay on 60 Minutes. It was a dandy, too — as was the interview with him earlier in the show. Even though Andy was a tad more liberal than I am (okay, a lot more liberal), you’ve got to admire someone who was clever, amusing, entertaining and often spot on for 1,097 broadcasts covering 33 years. I salute you, Andy. And I’ll honor your final request — to leave you alone if I ever see you in a restaurant.
Leave the printing presses alone! Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has come out in favor of what no rational person would ever endorse: printing valueless money to cover indebtedness. Here are his exact words: “The United States can pay any debt it has because we can always print money to do that. So there is zero probability of default.” Gee, I can remember when the money maestro said the best way to protect our currency was to back it with gold. I still like that solution.
What people buy when they’re worried. Of course, worried people buy gold and silver, which goes a long way toward explaining why the two precious metals have outshined all other asset classes over the past 10 years. But an alert reader reminded me of something else people purchase when they’re nervous about the future: guns. Check out the growth in shares of gunmaker Sturm, Ruger & Co., Inc. (RGR). It looks like their business is doing even better than gold.
Let’s have a vote of “no confidence.” Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has called on the Senate to pass a vote of “no confidence” in Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner. “I see no reason and no objective evidence that any of his policies are succeeding,” Rand said. It would be interesting to get every member of the Senate on record on this question: especially with one-third of them facing re-election next year.
How would your family fare? (Many thanks to the reader who sent me the following item.) Suppose your family’s income is $21,000 a year. But you currently owe $142,500, and you’re adding $36,200 of new debt every year. You don’t reduce any of the balances; instead, you borrow the money to make the interest payments. You hold a family council to discuss what you’re going to do about the situation. After a lot of wrangling and mutual accusations, you all agree to reduce your spending by $380 a year. Add nine zeroes to this account, and you’ve just described the situation with our national debt. Does this explain why Standard & Poor’s downgraded our debt?
Al Gore loses his cool. It seems all that loot the former Vice President is collecting (word is he’s close to becoming a billionaire, thanks to a bunch of insider deals) isn’t enough to bring him happiness. He went on “a profanity-laced tirade” at a conference last month, lashing out at all of us nincompoops who are skeptical about the validity of his alarms about man-made global warming. I’ve had plenty to say in the past about this extremely expensive hoax, but maybe I should revisit the subject again… if only to bug Big Al.
Another Obama whopper. Did you hear this lulu from our President about all the “cuts” that will be made in the Federal budget? “The result would be the lowest level of annual domestic spending since Dwight Eisenhower was President,” our obfuscator in chief declared. Seems he left out the word “discretionary” from his boast. This makes a huge difference. According to the Congressional Budget Office, nondefense discretionary spending was only 19 percent of total Federal spending in 2010. Figures don’t lie, but … you know the rest.
“Stop Coddling the Super-Rich” was the headline on a New York Times op-ed piece this past Sunday by America’s favorite multi-billionaire, Warren Buffet. His piece starts, “OUR leaders have asked for ‘shared sacrifice.’ But when they did the asking, they spared me.” Warren wants the super-rich, himself included, to be taxed more. But taking 100 percent of the earnings of every billionaire in America would pay for only a fraction of Obama’s profligate spending. In the meantime, Warren, why don’t you voluntarily send the big spenders in Washington more of your money?