By GENE H. McINTYRE
I am sure there are a great number of Americans who recognize the name Warren Buffett. Those who know of him know that, currently, he is the world’s second-richest man, after Bill Gates. Last week he appeared on the Public Broadcasting’s NewsHour and was interviewed by anchor Judy Woodruff. Some of his most salient comments are worthy of readers’ attention and consideration.
Before his wisdom is shared here, we may wish to remember that Buffet has been an extraordinarily successful businessman. The 86-year-old Nebraskan is the chief executive of investing house Berkshire Hathaway with a net worth, according to Forbes, at $76.6 billion. Berkshire Hathaway also owns a major share in Wells Fargo and the BNSF Railroad. Incidentally, he’s never been a politician or elected to public office although his father was elected to four non-consecutive terms in the U.S. House of Representatives from Omaha while the family lived in Washington, D.C. during those years.
Regarding the pending Republican healthcare proposal, Buffett says “it amounts to a tax cut for the rich” while “the U.S. economy would benefit far more from establishing single-payer health care as that is the best system” and “we are such a rich country, we can afford it.” Also, “bringing down the costs of healthcare would do more to help American business than cutting corporate taxes” but “there is no incentive to bring down costs.”
On the economy, “the U.S. economy has recovered since 2009 but the lion’s share of the benefits have gone to the very wealthy while all Americans aren’t doing well as this has been a prosperity that’s been disproportionately rewarding to the people on the top.” Buffett has called for higher taxes on the rich.
According to Buffett, the U.S. should be the world’s moral leader as well as the world’s economic leader. The U.S. leads badly, says Buffett, when it was revealed by the latest House and Senate healthcare plans, as analyzed by the Tax Policy Center, that would provide the top 1 percent of earners in the U.S. an average tax-bill decrease of $37,240.
Buffett reported that, if passed, the GOP health care bill would save him $679,999 or 17 percent of his tax bill. “There’s nothing ambiguous about that and the people its directed at are couples with $250,000 or more of income” while, says Buffett, “you could entitle this the Relief for the Rich Act.” Buffett reported that he’s got friends who’ll enjoy savings of $10 million and more. What’s additionally sad to Buffett is that Republican members of Congress voting for the healthcare bill as it stands will serve themselves by bringing down their own taxes.
From what’s known of Warren Buffett, he’s a businessman all Americans can believe in and be proud of. His word can be trusted by his years of telling the truth. His dealings with people are well known as civil and respectful while his charitable actions have helped people all over the world to better lives. He and his first wife of 52 years, now deceased since 2004, never showed off their wealth, having lived in a modest home they bought as young newlyweds in which they raised their three children and Buffett continues to live with his second wife who he married eleven years ago.
He’s helped his children, now grown, to establish viable careers of their choosing but do not work for him. He will donate his wealth to charity upon his passing. He’s happy living on $100,000 a year, finding a life with those he loves and who love him being the most fulfilling. A personal opinion of the man finds this writer wishing he would consider a run for president as he would only promise what he could deliver and would be honest in all matters as he has been as a businessman. If Americans generally want a business man or woman as president, it’s surmised there must be others as grounded and dependable as Buffett.
(Gene H. McIntyre lives in Keizer.)