Preposterous Prosperity

It is being widely discussed today that Warren Buffett, considered to be one of the richest men in the world (not counting, of course, dictators and the like) has come out saying he’d gladly pay more taxes to help ease the National Debt Crisis. Now Warren Buffett is one of the most successful businessmen in history, there’s no doubt about it. Born less than a year after the stock emarket crash of the Great Depression, he built himself up from very little to become one of the richest men in the world. He is brilliant, successful, philanthropic, and his business-savvy inspires millions (myself included). Now let’s look at why he’s a fool.

I want to discuss some statistics here, and since I try to be a fair journalist, I’ll even cite my sources. First of all, let’s discuss Warren Buffett’s personal wealth. This is coming from Forbes.com, which has Buffett listed as the third richest billionaire with a net worth of $50 billion. Now three years ago he was the richest with a net worth of $62 billion. I guess the economy affects us all (poor soul).

Buffett achieved his wealth primarily from shrewd investment and owning Berkshire Hathaway. That’s right, I said Berkshire Hathaway. For those of you who don’t know, Berkshire Hathaway is one of the largest, most successful companies in the world. It is, according to Forbes.com, the eighth largest public company… on earth. Owning Berkshire Hathaway stock is similar to owning a Rolls Royce Phantom: you pay a ridiculous amount for it, to have it as a status symbol, so that occasionally on a Sunday afternoon you can bust it out for a spin and make all other stock feel small and incompetent.

Now that we’ve thoroughly discussed the wealth of Mr. Buffett, let’s touch on the terrible shape of the U.S. Economy. The U.S. debt right now (simplified, as it’s ever increasing) is about $14,600,000,000.00 dollars. That is, of course, rounding off the almost meaningless hundreds of millions of dollars (he said in jest). To put that in perspective, that’s about 32,444,444 of those Phantoms I discussed earlier, which would be enough cars to give one to each resident of New York City proper AND the entire metro areas of Chicago and Los Angeles (give or take a few Phantoms, of course).  Perhaps more importantly, though, it is 292 Warren Buffett’s. Consider that: Warren Buffett would have to hand over his entire net worth 292 times to bring the U.S. Government back to almost zero, a point from which, of course, it would begin gathering more debt.

That is the real problem with the debt crisis, however, and perhaps the one least discussed: IT’S ALWAYS GROWING! To prove my point, let’s take a fun little field trip, shall we. Alright, go here: http://www.usdebtclock.org/  Now, look at that number in the top left corner. The one that’s moving really, really fast? Yeah, that one. Now, here’s the fun part. The next time that million dollar column changes, start counting. 1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi. Wait until that million dollar number changes again. You just watched your country gain a million dollars of debt. How long did it take you? 25 Mississippi? That’s what it took me. 25 seconds for the nation to accrue a million dollars more debt. This, perhaps more than anything, is indicative of Buffett’s foolishness. Let’s disregard the fact that increasing taxes on the rich would increase unemployment, and therefore in the long run create less revenue. Even if we taxed everyone in the United States making annually above $400,000 dollars at a %50 tax rate (which of course we’d never do) we would generate just under 5 trillion dollars (which, in layman’s terms, is less than 14 trillion). And of course, the deficit is ever increasing.

To summarize, there is no quick fix to this debt crisis. Fixing the debt will be a long, arduous process. I, being 20, know that this debt will affect my parents generation, my generation, and my children’s generation (if not many generations beyond that) greatly. As I think I’ve demonstrated fairly in this blog, however, taxing the rich is not the solution to this problem. But if Mr. Buffett is so insistent on his holier-than-thou, I’ll pay more approach; let’s have him put his money where his mouth is. There is a wonderful site, www.pay.gov , where those that wish to give the government money can do so outright. Let’s get the word out so we can see if Mr. Buffett and other rich liberals mean what they say or are just all talk. If you truly wish to impress me, Mr. Buffett, toss a few billion dollars at the U.S. debt. Heck, you probably won’t even notice it’s missing.

With that said, good afternoon, and have a fantastic week.

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