Last summer, Warren Buffett wrote an op-ed piece supporting higher taxes on the rich to reduce the deficit.
Many, including myself and Mitch McConnell, suggested that Warren put his money where his mouth is and make a voluntary contribution to the U.S. Treasury, since he thought so strongly that would help reduce the deficit.
Apparently, in response to our suggestions, Buffett is offering to match any contributions made by Republicans. He’ll even match 3-to-1 anything contributed by Mitch McConnell.
The only problem is, it makes no sense.
Republicans, and others, who suggested that Buffett make a voluntary donation don’t believe that sending more money to Washington will reduce the deficit.
To believe otherwise ignores the well established record of government spending everything we send them and then some, which is documented by our government’s accumulated national debt and annual deficits.
When I suggested that Buffett make a voluntary donation, I was calling his bluff. I don’t think Buffett really believes that giving more money to the government will reduce the deficit.
This would be like if I told you that I was 100% certain about the Broncos winning the Super Bowl.
You ask: If you’re so sure, why don’t you place a big bet on it and make a lot of money?
Me, in my best Buffett impression: I’ll match anything that you bet.
You: Why would I bet anything? I’m not the one who’s 100% confident. You’re dumb!
Regarding Buffett, our whole point is that if Buffett truly believed his own nonsense, he would put his money where his mouth is.
In fact, he has quite an established record of putting his money where his mouth is.
That’s how he made his billions, by placing BIG bets on investments that he was reasonably confident would pay off.
That’s also what he has done with his philanthropy. He decided to donate his wealth to charity and to have it spent relatively quickly so that it won’t just feed generations of charity foundation bureaucrats to come.
He is also trying to persuade other billionaires to voluntarily follow his philanthropic model.
So, given his established record of putting his money where his mouth is, why, when it comes to supporting getting more from the wealthy individuals, is his talk so cheap?
Great points. And It’s not clear to me why he singled out Republicans. Aren’t there any rich Democrats?
He singled out Republicans for two reasons. First, because they suggested that he make voluntary donations to the government. He thinks he’s calling their bluff, not realizing they already called his. In fact, this matching offer only strengthens the case that he’s bluffing.
The second reason, he doesn’t actually want to give the gov’t any more money. If he offered to match contributions from rich Democrats, then he might actually get some takers.