Harvey Golub: My Response To Buffett And Obama

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 23, 2011 3:52 AM GMT
    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111903639404576516724218259688.html?mod=djemEditorialPage_h

    Before you ask for more tax money from me, raise the $2.2 trillion you already collect each year more fairly and spend it more wisely.

    Over the years, I have paid a significant portion of my income to the various federal, state and local jurisdictions in which I have lived, and I deeply resent that President Obama has decided that I don't need all the money I've not paid in taxes over the years, or that I should leave less for my children and grandchildren and give more to him to spend as he thinks fit. I also resent that Warren Buffett and others who have created massive wealth for themselves think I'm "coddled" because they believe they should pay more in taxes. I certainly don't feel "coddled" because these various governments have not imposed a higher income tax. After all, I did earn it.

    Now that I'm 72 years old, I can look forward to paying a significant portion of my accumulated wealth in estate taxes to the federal government and, depending on the state I live in at the time, to that state government as well. Of my current income this year, I expect to pay 80%-90% in federal income taxes, state income taxes, Social Security and Medicare taxes, and federal and state estate taxes. Isn't that enough?

    Others could pay higher taxes if they choose. They could voluntarily write a check or they could advocate that their gifts to foundations should be made with after-tax dollars and not be deductible. They could also pay higher taxes if they were not allowed to set up foundations to avoid capital gains and estate taxes.

    What gets me most upset is two other things about this argument: the unfair way taxes are collected, and the violation of the implicit social contract between me and my government that my taxes will be spent—effectively and efficiently—on purposes that support the general needs of the country. Before you call me greedy, make sure you operate fairly on both fronts.

    Today, top earners—the 250,000 people who earn $1 million or more—pay 20% of all income taxes, and the 3% who earn more than $200,000 pay almost half. Almost half of all filers pay no income taxes at all. Clearly they earn less and should pay less. But they should pay something and have a stake in our government spending their money too.

    In addition, the extraordinarily complex tax code is replete with favors to various interest groups and industries, favors granted by politicians seeking to retain power. Mortgage interest deductions support the private housing industry at the expense of renters. Generous fringe benefits are not taxed at all, in order to support union and government workers at the expense of people who buy their own insurance with after-tax dollars. Gifts to charities are deductible but gifts to grandchildren are not. That's just a short list, and all of it is unfair.

    Governments have an obligation to spend our tax money on programs that work. They fail at this fundamental task. Do we really need dozens of retraining programs with no measure of performance or results? Do we really need to spend money on solar panels, windmills and battery-operated cars when we have ample energy supplies in this country? Do we really need all the regulations that put an estimated $2 trillion burden on our economy by raising the price of things we buy? Do we really need subsidies for domestic sugar farmers and ethanol producers?

    Why do we require that public projects pay above-market labor costs? Why do we spend billions on trains that no one will ride? Why do we keep post offices open in places no one lives? Why do we subsidize small airports in communities close to larger ones? Why do we pay government workers above-market rates and outlandish benefits? Do we really need an energy department or an education department at all?

    Here's my message: Before you "ask" for more tax money from me and others, raise the $2.2 trillion you already collect each year more fairly and spend it more wisely. Then you'll need less of my money.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 23, 2011 4:09 AM GMT
    Every time I think they have run out of stunning hypocritical douche bags and whiny little bitches, they foist another one on the to the once proud editorial page of the WSJ.

    This douche bag made all his money in the financial services industry, which blew up our economy in 2008.

    And now he's whining that he has to pay taxes on his ill-gotten millions because some family of our struggling on $40k per year got an earned income tax credit?

    I would be fucking embarrassed if I was him.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 23, 2011 4:41 AM GMT
    Christian73 saidEvery time I think they have run out of stunning hypocritical douche bags and whiny little bitches, they foist another one on the to the once proud editorial page of the WSJ.

    This douche bag made all his money in the financial services industry, which blew up our economy in 2008.

    And now he's whining that he has to pay taxes on his ill-gotten millions because some family of our struggling on $40k per year got an earned income tax credit?

    I would be fucking embarrassed if I was him.


    Yeah because Warren Buffett's self serving response wasn't whiny and self entitled ignoring the little fact that he benefited directly in multiple ways through the bailouts and advocates ways to be taxed that affect him only marginally. This "douche bag" has probably done far more good than you'll ever do.

    Your little ad hominem attacks fool no one and least of all the people who recognize that the services the government offers for the money it takes in is less than attractive. Your need to punish those who have earned more than you to justify your supposed life choice is a bit sad.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 23, 2011 5:11 AM GMT
    riddler78 said
    Christian73 saidEvery time I think they have run out of stunning hypocritical douche bags and whiny little bitches, they foist another one on the to the once proud editorial page of the WSJ.

    This douche bag made all his money in the financial services industry, which blew up our economy in 2008.

    And now he's whining that he has to pay taxes on his ill-gotten millions because some family of our struggling on $40k per year got an earned income tax credit?

    I would be fucking embarrassed if I was him.


    Yeah because Warren Buffett's self serving response wasn't whiny and self entitled ignoring the little fact that he benefited directly in multiple ways through the bailouts and advocates ways to be taxed that affect him only marginally. This "douche bag" has probably done far more good than you'll ever do.

    Your little ad hominem attacks fool no one and least of all the people who recognize that the services the government offers for the money it takes in is less than attractive. Your need to punish those who have earned more than you to justify your supposed life choice is a bit sad.


    LOL. Please explain what Golub's tenure as Chairman of AIG did for the world? Or perhaps his tenure at AMEX? Fight regulation? Fleece people with usury charges? Oversee the implosion of an economy?

    Please tell us.

    I'm not interested in punishing anyone. I don't consider giving back in proportion to what one has received from society "punishment". That's your head trip.

    I already make more money than I ever thought I would, so it's not an issue of jealousy and I never wanted to be rich. It's simply not interesting to me. If so, I would have went to work on Wall Street when that offer was made to me out of college, or I might have taken the job as an escort when that was offered to me at the tender age of 17.

    You'll never understand someone like me because I prize family, friends and community over financial remuneration. That's why I've spent my career working for causes that I and those I love benefited from.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 23, 2011 5:15 AM GMT
    riddler78 said
    Christian73 saidEvery time I think they have run out of stunning hypocritical douche bags and whiny little bitches, they foist another one on the to the once proud editorial page of the WSJ.

    This douche bag made all his money in the financial services industry, which blew up our economy in 2008.

    And now he's whining that he has to pay taxes on his ill-gotten millions because some family of our struggling on $40k per year got an earned income tax credit?

    I would be fucking embarrassed if I was him.


    Yeah because Warren Buffett's self serving response wasn't whiny and self entitled ignoring the little fact that he benefited directly in multiple ways through the bailouts and advocates ways to be taxed that affect him only marginally. This "douche bag" has probably done far more good than you'll ever do.

    Your little ad hominem attacks fool no one and least of all the people who recognize that the services the government offers for the money it takes in is less than attractive. Your need to punish those who have earned more than you to justify your supposed life choice is a bit sad.




    Wow.
    What an ugly outpouring of bitterness and bullshit.
    I'm embarrassed for you.

    And FYI - NO ONE wants to "punish" the wealthy.
    A clear majority of Americans merely support having ALL segments of society SHARE the sacrifices necessary to get our National Debt under control.

    Middle and lower income Americans will bear the brunt of the spending cuts that are necessary to reduce our National Debt, and the wealthy must bear the brunt of the tax increases that are necessary.

    We must cut spending AND raise revenues.
    That's the only way to reduce the National Debt.

    Middle lower AND upper income Americans must ALL share the burden.

    What a shame that you Repubs only care about the richest 1-2% of Americans!

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 23, 2011 1:31 PM GMT
    rickrick91 saidAnd FYI - NO ONE wants to "punish" the wealthy.
    A clear majority of Americans merely support having ALL segments of society SHARE the sacrifices necessary to get our National Debt under control.

    Middle and lower income Americans will bear the brunt of the spending cuts that are necessary to reduce our National Debt, and the wealthy must bear the brunt of the tax increases that are necessary.

    We must cut spending AND raise revenues.
    That's the only way to reduce the National Debt.

    Middle lower AND upper income Americans must ALL share the burden.

    What a shame that you Repubs only care about the richest 1-2% of Americans!


    Again, how much is enough? High income earners already pay more than the total income in the economy and definitely disproportionately to others. What does fair share mean to you? I'm already repeatedly on record as saying that both spending cuts and tax increases are necessary with the large bias on the former. I'm glad you also believe that the middle lower must also share in the burden because so far they pay disproportionately less - and is it really wise to have a society where such a large percentage of the public pay little to nothing depending on so few rich?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Aug 23, 2011 1:31 PM GMT
    Christian73 said
    riddler78 said
    Christian73 saidEvery time I think they have run out of stunning hypocritical douche bags and whiny little bitches, they foist another one on the to the once proud editorial page of the WSJ.

    This douche bag made all his money in the financial services industry, which blew up our economy in 2008.

    And now he's whining that he has to pay taxes on his ill-gotten millions because some family of our struggling on $40k per year got an earned income tax credit?

    I would be fucking embarrassed if I was him.


    Yeah because Warren Buffett's self serving response wasn't whiny and self entitled ignoring the little fact that he benefited directly in multiple ways through the bailouts and advocates ways to be taxed that affect him only marginally. This "douche bag" has probably done far more good than you'll ever do.

    Your little ad hominem attacks fool no one and least of all the people who recognize that the services the government offers for the money it takes in is less than attractive. Your need to punish those who have earned more than you to justify your supposed life choice is a bit sad.


    LOL. Please explain what Golub's tenure as Chairman of AIG did for the world? Or perhaps his tenure at AMEX? Fight regulation? Fleece people with usury charges? Oversee the implosion of an economy?

    Please tell us.

    I'm not interested in punishing anyone. I don't consider giving back in proportion to what one has received from society "punishment". That's your head trip.

    I already make more money than I ever thought I would, so it's not an issue of jealousy and I never wanted to be rich. It's simply not interesting to me. If so, I would have went to work on Wall Street when that offer was made to me out of college, or I might have taken the job as an escort when that was offered to me at the tender age of 17.

    You'll never understand someone like me because I prize family, friends and community over financial remuneration. That's why I've spent my career working for causes that I and those I love benefited from.


    You're coming across as the dbag you accuse Golub of being. Again, what we can charitably call your poor grasp of economics prevents you from considering the possibility and there's no need to give back - that in fact, charity comes from compassion, rather than guilt. Those like Golub have already given to society with the massive wealth they have created - in jobs, in ideas, in services society wants and needs - and yes, even in massive amounts of taxes that they already pay disproportionate to the value they create. As much as you like to point to the "negative externalities" you equally ignore the much larger "positive externalities".

    Let's look at his record that you seem to pillory without having even delved further. Golub presided over American Express between 1993 to 2001 and asked to step in to help oversee the mess after multiple government bailouts in late 2009 at AIG. Golub is credited for turning around American Express which is why ironically Warren Buffett became American Express's biggest shareholder through Berkshire (and specifically praised Golub) over this period.

    Golub argued for the breakup of AIG and was the point man in attempting wind down the devastatingly complicated and expensive contracts and work with the Obama Administration probably saving tax payers billions. Golub was brought in at the age of 69 when he was already extraordinarily wealthy from his tenure at American Express.

    But you need to believe that those like Golub are douchebags in order to justify your supposed sacrifice to pursue generally unsustainable solutions in what are effectively selfish personal values and/or methods that either society doesn't value as much as you do. "Fucking embarassed" if you were him? You _should_ be "fucking embarassed" that's for sure.