Poor Warren Buffett’s Secretary

The only thing that kept me watching last night’s speech were the very fun tweets flashing on my screen. These two by ModeledBehavior kept me entertained for a while:

@ModeledBehavior: Koch brothers should pay Buffett’s secretary’s taxes and end this poor woman’s symbolic burden

@ModeledBehavior: Buffett should pay his secretary in carried interest. Problem solved.

That being said, how long will we have to hear about Mr. Buffett’s secretary? First, if Buffett is so upset about how low his taxes are, he can send a check to the Treasury. Second, Buffett does pay more in taxes than his secretary, both in dollar amount and as share of income, when one properly takes the double taxation of corporate profit into consideration.

Listening to the president last night, I could tell that orderly reforms to our entitlement programs aren’t coming our way anytime soon. (Although, if we have learned anything from what’s happening in Europe right now, it’s that irresponsible behaviors can’t last forever and at some point change becomes unavoidable.) The president was too busy pretending that he could go on trying to spend our way out of this. He was also too busy tilting at windmills like a modern Don Quixote. For instance, his proposed protectionist measures can’t stop globalization. He can’t shelter American companies from competition. Also, he didn’t seem to know that “Made in America” doesn’t mean much and isn’t necessarily a good thing, or that it’s not clear Americans even care.

Hasn’t the president read this New York Times story about how “almost all of the 70 million iPhones, 30 million iPads and 59 million other products Apple sold last year were manufactured overseas”?

It isn’t just that workers are cheaper abroad. Rather, Apple’s executives believe the vast scale of overseas factories as well as the flexibility, diligence and industrial skills of foreign workers have so outpaced their American counterparts that ‘Made in the U.S.A.’ is no longer a viable option for most Apple products.

As he explained yesterday, President Obama is a Democrat. Let me suggest that this Democratic president’s time would have been better spent last night actually making the case for moving away from the current system of entitlement, bailouts, and special-interest subsidies in order to build a true safety net for those in need. It would have been better than denying reality and pretending he can do things he can’t. It also would have killed two birds with one stone by proposing something productive that many conservatives and libertarians could even agree with.

Veronique de Rugy — Veronique de Rugy is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.

Most Popular

U.S.

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More