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The Rich Vote Republican, So Why is Warren Buffet Supporting Obama?
Wall Street Journal Op-Ed ^ | 2008-10-13 | Robert Frank

Posted on 10/15/2008 8:18:42 AM PDT by QenBirQeni

According to a new survey by Prince & Associates, voters worth $1 million to $10 million are favoring Sen. John McCain, while voters worth $30 million or more are favoring Sen. Barack Obama. The survey of 493 families showed:
More than three quarters of those worth $1 million to $10 million plan to vote for Sen. McCain. Only 15% plan to vote for Sen. Obama (the rest are undecided). Of those worth more than $30 million, two-thirds support Sen. Obama, while one third support Sen. McCain.
...

Link


(Excerpt) Read more at blogs.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy
KEYWORDS: buffet; rich; tax; warren
I was sitting in an Oklahoma diner listening to the Texas - Sooners game, which Texas won, thank you very much - all the while debating the merits of a McCain/Palin White House with a friend of mine who "claims" to be an independent voter. I swear, these independent voters are something special aren't they?

Our verbal sparring was all over the place, from foreign policy to economic plans. It took me a while to convince him not to base his vote on the rhetoric he hears from either campaign, the major TV and print media, but rather to see things objectively and argue logically and not emotionally. He agreed. Thus I proceeded to break down Obama's flawed economic and social policies and related them to socialist ones. I also agreed that McCain had made a mistake by voting for the bailout plan, but we conceded that for both candidates their vote was driven by necessary politics. Nor do I think that McCain's economic plan is great, but at least he won't be increasing taxes on my wife and I.

I was doing fine until he asked me a question that stumped me: "If McCain's tax policies favor the middle class, businesses, investors, and the rich, why is it that Warren Buffet has endorsed Barack Obama?" I had to be honest and I told him that I had no idea why, but there must be a simple explanation, which as it turn out it was rather simple, void of any complex economic theory and logic. So I looked it up.

All I had to do was perform a simple Google search with the search terms: "rich vote obama". Apparently the rich are divided into two categories: those who are rich with a net worth of $1 million to $10 million, and the ultra- or super-rich, with net worths greater than $30 million. During the 2004 presidential race Elite Traveler Magazine contracted a survey firm to poll a sample of the rich and the ultra-rich to determine how the rich vote. According to that survey, those who were considered rich ($1 million - $10 million) largely said they would vote with their wallets, and agreed that Bush would be better for their finances. However, 90.7% of those who were considered super-rich (> $10 million) agreed that Bush would be better for the economy and their finances, but nevertheless they chose to vote for Kerry. The surveyor's conclusion was:

"The findings clearly demonstrate that the Elite Affluent are so wealthy, other issues are more important to them in selecting their country's leader then their personal financial situations," Prince said. "At the same time, the majority of the Upper Affluent, who are rich but still have financial constraints, are principally voting with their pocketbooks."

Fast forward to 2008 and the current presidential election. Will the rich and the super-rich voting patterns change or remain the same as 2004? A Wall Street Journal post explores the same issue citing the same surveying firm as in the 2004 example to determine if there is a difference in voting pattern in the rich and super-rich voters. Out of a sample of 493 families, the survey found yet again that 66% of those with a net worth of greater than $30 million would vote for Obama, while only 15% of those with net worth of $1 million to $10 million would support Obama. According to the opinion piece, the major reason given for the voting trends was taxes. Those who were only considered rich (< $10 million) cited taxes as the primary reason why they would support John McCain, with social issues and the environment being secondary and tertiary reasons. Among the super-rich, tax policy came last in their consideration for supporting either candidate and placed social and environmental issues at the top of their decision to support Obama.

The super-rich are very indifferent to taxes simply because of the size of their net worth where taxes do not make a big enough of a dent. Also, they are more likely to employ tax attorneys, structure their assets in tax-deferred, trusts, or other tax burden reduction mechanisms. Because either candidates tax policy does not affect the super-rich financially, they are free to chose a candidate based on other policies, such as social reform and the environment. In other words, Warren Buffet could care less about how the government taxes him.

What does this tell us? Well, it goes to show that although an individual is wealthy, he or she does not necessarily make better decisions than the rest of us. They are just as conflicted as the rest of us. Unfortunately, we look up to them because we want to be as successful as them, and since they represent a small percentage of the population but hold the largest amount of wealth, their political support of a candidate counts. With the tax burden inconsequential to him, Warren Buffet supports Obama because of the perception that Obama's economic policies are more favorable to the poor and lower middle class. My guess is this is another form of charity on the part of the super-rich.

I like what the author of the Op-Ed piece in the WSJ had to say:

But the survey offers an important insight into the effect of wealth on personal politics. Perhaps the old saying should be changed to: If you’re ultrawealthy and conservative you have no heart; if you’re wealthy and liberal, you have no brain.

1 posted on 10/15/2008 8:18:43 AM PDT by QenBirQeni
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To: QenBirQeni

In other words, social and environmental issues are a hobby of the super-rich, and the public be damned.


2 posted on 10/15/2008 8:21:58 AM PDT by Chaguito
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To: QenBirQeni

Personally, I also think that the super-rich in the United States have found ways to link with our politicians for mutual profit from the taxpayers. They give large donations and parties and their businesses profit from earmarks given by our Congressmen. Look who the people who ran Freddie, Fannie, and AIG donated to and also look how those companies benefited from Congressional protection. We as citizens are being sold out.


3 posted on 10/15/2008 8:24:01 AM PDT by DeuceTraveler (Freedom is a never ending struggle)
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To: QenBirQeni
The Rich Vote Republican, So Why is Warren Buffet Supporting Obama?

Because he probably stands to make millions, in not billions, from an Obama presidency.

4 posted on 10/15/2008 8:24:04 AM PDT by realdifferent1 (Circle final answer: show all work for extra credit.)
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To: QenBirQeni

The “Upper Richistanis,” as this article names them, live off the interest of their investments. They do not have an “earned” income, therefore they aren’t taxed.

And so, they don’t care if taxes are raised on the upper middle class to “Lower Richistanis” who do pay taxes.

Therefore, the Upper Richistanis can vote Obama without a conscience.


5 posted on 10/15/2008 8:24:17 AM PDT by hoe_cake (" 'We the people' tell the government what to do, it doesn't tell us." Ronald Reagan)
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To: QenBirQeni

It is not the people who are rich who should be afraid of Obama, it is the people who want to become rich. Obama’s tax destroyes the American dream, but it does not take anything away from the people who already have it.


6 posted on 10/15/2008 8:24:46 AM PDT by Always Right (Obama: more arrogant than Bill Clinton, more naive than Jimmy Carter, and more liberal than LBJ.)
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To: QenBirQeni
Some say the super rich have a very guilty conscience. Take Warren Buffett who made a fortune on the inheritance tax. He bought family companies because of they had to sell.

He doesn't think his children or grandchildren should get anything but a education.

7 posted on 10/15/2008 8:24:52 AM PDT by scooby321 (Cai)
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To: QenBirQeni

Follow the money? How can the rich get richer? Buying low selling high. If they want Obama, there must be something there that applies to their future investments.


8 posted on 10/15/2008 8:26:11 AM PDT by Bringbackthedraft (If we can reverse the ticket, we'd have a winner! PALIN/MCCAIN)
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To: QenBirQeni
According to a new survey by Prince & Associates, voters worth $1 million to $10 million are favoring Sen. John McCain, while voters worth $30 million or more are favoring Sen. Barack Obama.

People worth 1-10 million still have to work to maintain their standard of living. People with over that amount are insulated from the consequences of liberalism to a large enough degree that they either don't know or don't care what liberalism does to the economy.
9 posted on 10/15/2008 8:26:18 AM PDT by JamesP81 (George Orwell's 1984 was a warning, not a suggestion)
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To: realdifferent1
He likes Don Party envy policy because it leads directly to the breakup of businesses. Buffet buys these with the insurance company income stream he has every day.
10 posted on 10/15/2008 8:26:45 AM PDT by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: QenBirQeni

Why?

Because the corporate partners of Fascist Dictators always prosper.


11 posted on 10/15/2008 8:28:12 AM PDT by shibumi (...vampire outlaw of the milky way...)
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To: Chaguito

Rush argued the other day, distinguishing between wealth and income.

Those with large wealth but relatively small incomes worry less about tax rates.

Those with large incomes relative to wealth worry more about tax rates.

At the same time, I believe, as the writer indicates, that for many of the high income or high wealth class, engaging in liberal politics is fashionable and a lifestyle choice.

Not sure that how this explains Buffett, who is by initial impressions a conservative by nature.


12 posted on 10/15/2008 8:29:18 AM PDT by mbarker12474 (If thine enemy offend thee, give his childe a drum.)
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To: QenBirQeni

Clarification:

Rich capitalists vote Republican.

Rich fascists vote Democratic.


13 posted on 10/15/2008 8:29:31 AM PDT by i_dont_chat (The elephant is dancing for the lady from Alaska)
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To: QenBirQeni

Buffett made huge money with an insurance tax loophole that provides that life insurance proceeds are not taxable and (if paid directly to someone, instead of an estate) AVOID DEATH TAXES.

Standard procedure would be (oversimplified): old Sonic Drive in owner about to die, buys $1,000,000 life insurance policy for $1,050,000, beneficiaries are heirs.

The estate avoid death tax this way.

The repeal of the Death Tax has greatly hurt his bottom line.


14 posted on 10/15/2008 8:38:14 AM PDT by MeanWestTexan (Wish it was Palin/McCain)
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To: mbarker12474

See my last post.


15 posted on 10/15/2008 8:39:02 AM PDT by MeanWestTexan (Wish it was Palin/McCain)
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To: what_not2007
They do not have an “earned” income, therefore they aren’t taxed.

Do you honestly not know what the capital gains tax is?

The reasons why Buffett supports Obama is not because of the bizarre notion that investment holdings are untaxed - which they most definitely are - but:

(1) Buffett is a strong advocate and funder of abortion and "population control" - it is his personal obssession. Barack Obama is the most pro-abortion candidate for President ever. That alone wins him Buffett's vote.

(2) Buffett is so rich that he can afford to place all of his investments into tax-sheltered trusts, trusts which own the vehicles and properties he uses and which pay for all his meals and incidentals as business expenses. He spends millions to avoid billions in taxes. Very few people are wealthy enough to be in a position where spending 50 or so million on establishing and staffing a family of trusts is cheaper than paying taxes.

It is this, and not an imaginary America where there is no capital gains tax, that exempts Buffett from paying taxes at regular rates.

16 posted on 10/15/2008 8:41:13 AM PDT by wideawake (Why is it that those who like to be called Constitutionalists know the least about the Constitution?)
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To: QenBirQeni
IMHO, Buffet (and Gates and Teresa Heinz and the Kennedys, etc.) is both a hypocrite and a political idiot.

I agree that he can afford better/more lawyers, can lease (or purchase) Congresscritters to do his bidding, and can use the power of his wealth to make the world go away. His apparent conservatism (driving an old car, living modestly, etc.) is either a dodge or denial.

I'm not saying he or any of the others shouldn't be rich, but they should support everybody's right to be rich, and not attempt to slam the door on others.

17 posted on 10/15/2008 8:43:41 AM PDT by WarEagle (Can America survive a President named Hussein?)
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To: wideawake

sorry, you’re right...I wasn’t specific. They don’t have “earned” income like those of us who have to “work” for a living.


18 posted on 10/15/2008 8:45:05 AM PDT by hoe_cake (" 'We the people' tell the government what to do, it doesn't tell us." Ronald Reagan)
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To: QenBirQeni
Well, it goes to show that although an individual is wealthy, he or she does not necessarily make better decisions than the rest of us.

I think a good case can be made that Warren Buffet has made a lot of decisions better than the rest of us.

19 posted on 10/15/2008 8:52:48 AM PDT by wideminded
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To: QenBirQeni
Because Buffet is shrewd. That doesn't equal smart (remember awhile back he lamented that his low-paid secretary paid more taxes than he did, apparently not realizing it's an *income* tax)? He's also no patriot.

IMO, Warren Buffet is a classic example of an unscrupulous profiteer.
20 posted on 10/15/2008 8:53:34 AM PDT by Conservatives_Unite
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To: QenBirQeni
Another factor is what I think of as the "pull up the ladder once I get aboard" phenomenon.

Many wealthy people are economic illiterates, at least in areas outside those directly involved with the source of their wealth. In this they are no different that the population in general.

They look around them, at the luxuries they enjoy, the travel, the huge homes on large amounts of land, the high rate of consumption they can buy, and they think "what if everyone were as rich as I?" This worries them; they conclude that if everyone, or even a sizable minority, of the population, were to consume at the rate they do, there would result an unsustainable burden on the natural resources of the world.

This leads them to conclude that the best way to ensure their lifestyle into the future is to make sure that the number of future wealthy people is limited, and the only way to accomplish this is to see to it that the capitalist system is curtailed. Except, of course, those elements of it that keep them living in style.

21 posted on 10/15/2008 8:56:49 AM PDT by Steely Tom (RKBA: last line of defense against vote fraud)
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To: QenBirQeni

Buffet owns part of Dairy Queen........Why???? Because, due to the Death Tax, the family that owned Dairy Queen had to sell it. THAT is why Buffet is a Democrat, he is a vulture that swoops down on businesses that the Government screws people out of.


22 posted on 10/15/2008 9:07:53 AM PDT by bigjoesaddle ("Liberalism is a philosophy of sniveling brats." -- P.J. O'Rourke)
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To: QenBirQeni

Actually, I think they are cowards and say liberal things to keep the MSM off their asses. It’s easy to pretend to be liberal, especially if you’ve got the bucks, the gated communities, security guards, and private schools.

Let them get out there and mix it up with the real world and see how “liberal” they truly are.


23 posted on 10/15/2008 9:10:32 AM PDT by A_Former_Democrat (u)
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To: QenBirQeni

There’s a difference between the rich and the wealthy.

The rich are still earning their big bucks. Therefore, they are subject to tax policies, business cycles, health care mandates and so on.

The wealthy are living off their assets and, therefore, are relatively insulated from changes in financial and political policies. Since they no longer are working to support their lifestyles, they feel the need to “give back” by participating in Robin Hood schemes of those who are fortunate, but less fortunate than they are.


24 posted on 10/15/2008 9:23:24 AM PDT by fightinJAG (Rush was right: You never win by losing!)
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To: wideawake
Buffett is so rich that he can afford to place all of his investments into tax-sheltered trusts...He spends millions to avoid billions in taxes.

Yes, I think this is the reason that many of our wealthiest citizens are often concerned with backing the candidate most likely to win. In order to protect their trusts and other tax advantages, they need clout with the winners. IMHO, guys like Buffett and Soros could not care less if a Rat or a Pub is elected-- as long as the winners are in their pockets.

Demographically, the Rats have the advantage; it's a bell curve thing. So, the master odds players- especially the self made ultra rich- are probably going to put their money on the front runners. There are, of course, exceptions. I've heard that Trump is backing McCain.
25 posted on 10/15/2008 9:29:27 AM PDT by PerConPat (A politician is an animal which can sit on a fence and yet keep both ears to the ground.-- Mencken)
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To: QenBirQeni

Dementia. Alzheimers.


26 posted on 10/15/2008 9:35:04 AM PDT by LeonardFMason
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To: DeuceTraveler
"Personally, I also think that the super-rich in the United States have found ways to link with our politicians for mutual profit from the taxpayers."

You got it.

It's called mercantilism. You hit it right on the head.

The bigger the government the more appealing it is to the ultra-wealthy. They can seriously influence what happens.

Besides, if you know the ruling pary is going to be pussified, "high-road" Republicans or ruthless, cut-throat Democrats -- it's better to snuggle up with the one who could damage you.

27 posted on 10/15/2008 9:36:57 AM PDT by Boucheau
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To: QenBirQeni
Because big government keeps those who are not yet wealthy from gaining power.....it's a "me" thing.

The problem with these stooges is they think they and their families will be exempt and given exalted status in the end if the commies get their way and get their revolution, so they really don't care about any of that.

They are what is known as the “I'm special” wing of the useful idiots who will be the first to be shot in the revolution, along with the leftist political whores and toadies in Washington DC and the complete morons in Hollywierd.

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/k6KUDv1wzraWhwlBt1

28 posted on 10/15/2008 9:37:44 AM PDT by Earthdweller (Socialism makes you feel better about oppressing people.....)
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To: QenBirQeni

My wife and I both work, currently double income no kids (DINKs) but with one beagle. So perhaps we’re DIWBs? Anyways, we were tickled to find out that we’re knocking on the door of being “rich”, especially since we both come from middle middle-class families. We’ve worked hard to get here. While many of our peers from high school messed around and made some bad choices, we studied hard, went to good public schools for undergrad, and went on and earned professional degrees.

Now the Metro Messiah wants to take the fruits of our labor and reward those who didn’t work hard and play by the rules.

Of course, at our point in life (early 30s for me, late 20s for the wife), our new membership in “the rich” stems primarily from our income. While one Warren Buffett doesn’t have to worry so much about federal income taxes on salaries, some of us do. And, of course, some of us can’t necessarily invest in a company and then call up their favorite liberal Dem congressmen to bail out said company (oh, but the world was going to end!!!1). I know, I know, Buffett is simply the greatest investor ever. Well, he once was. Now he’s just an insider who benefits from sweetheart deals and access to politicians.

I’m still trying to figure out why exactly it makes for good public policy to seek to make people dependent on the government and to punish (yes, Barack, that’s what you will be doing) the independent self-reliant folks. Ignoring the economic impact of raising taxes on business owners (aka job creators) for the moment, what does it say about our society when dependency is promoted and independence is denigrated?

The American Dream today is perverted. It has become now a mission of the government to guarantee success to everyone. In addition, the notion of hard work and risk-taking has been removed from general acceptance as the way you achieve the American Dream. That Dream today is simply guaranteed outcomes which will flow to you no matter what. Today, if you have to work hard and take risks, well, then the middle class is “struggling.”

As for the results for the survey that got me on this tangent, I’m not surprised. If I had to guess, those in the $1 to $10 mil range are entrepreneurs, risk takers who came from humble circumstances and who are more exposed to changes in income tax rates and whose businesses have customers who are also exposed.


29 posted on 10/15/2008 9:39:18 AM PDT by Harry Wurzbach (Rep. Thaddeus McCotter is my hero.)
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To: QenBirQeni
The Rich Vote Republican, So Why is Warren Buffet Supporting Obama?

Because he's already got his and McCain might screw up all those tax loopholes he hides it behind.

30 posted on 10/15/2008 10:20:07 AM PDT by TigersEye (Intellectuals only exist if you think they do.)
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To: wideminded

I agree that Buffet has a great sense for business, but consider for a moment that an individual’s success is a function of timing and luck (probabilities) among many other things such as hard work, etc, etc. I am not calling him a smarter man than us, but he is an expert in insurance and taxes, therefore he has an edge.

Simply put it is an information imbalance he enjoys that gives him the edge. Guts too, because he had to be willing to fail. But if he can reason out that Obama would be better for America, than what can we say about his judgment. Clearly, it is his opinion, but maybe in the political area he might be a tad weak, don’t you think? Unless, he has an insight into the future we don’t which goes back to the information balance I mentioned earlier. I don’t want to deny that he is a smart man, but he is a man, and his decision making is on par with ours.


31 posted on 10/15/2008 12:52:53 PM PDT by QenBirQeni
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To: QenBirQeni
Maybe he is not a genius about politics but when I have heard him speak and read his writings, even on topics that touch on life rather than only business, the guy seems to be a veritable font of common sense.

Simply put it is an information imbalance he enjoys that gives him the edge.

From what I have heard about Buffet, he actually operates with less information than many others. For instance he doesn't even use a computer.

32 posted on 10/15/2008 1:49:26 PM PDT by wideminded
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To: All

Buffet makes MONEY by selling TAXATION INSURANCE.

if you eliminate the death tax, Buffet can’t sell death tax insurance.

Buffet’s business of insurance COUNTS ON TAXATION.


33 posted on 10/15/2008 1:54:53 PM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! http://www.senate.gov and http://www.house.gov)
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To: QenBirQeni
U.S. Tax System Explained in Beer - by Joe SixPack (Stan Bradley)

Suppose that every day, ten men go out for beer and the bill for all ten comes to $100. If they paid their bill the way we pay our taxes, it would go something like this:

The first four men (the poorest) would pay nothing. The fifth would pay $1. The sixth would pay $3 The seventh would pay $7. The eighth would pay $12. The ninth would pay $18. The tenth man (the richest) would pay $59.

So, that's what they decided to do. The ten men drank in the bar every day and seemed quite happy with the arrangement, until one day, the owner threw them a curve. 'Since you are all such good customers,' he said, 'I'm going to reduce the cost of your daily beer by $20. 'Drinks for the ten now cost just $80.The group still wanted to pay their bill the way we pay our taxes so the first four men were unaffected. They would still drink for free. But what about the other six men - the paying customers?

How could they divide the $20 windfall so that everyone would get his 'fair share?' They realized that $20 divided by six is $3.33. But if they subtracted that from everybody's share, then the fifth man and the sixth man would each end up being paid to drink his beer. So, the bar owner suggested that it would be fair to reduce each man's bill by roughly the same amount, and he proceeded to work out the amounts each should pay.

And so the fifth man, like the first four, now paid nothing (100% savings). The sixth now paid $2 instead of $3 (33% savings). The seventh now pay $5 instead of $7 (28% savings). The eighth now paid $9 instead of $12 (25% savings). The ninth now paid $14 instead of $18 ( 22% savings). The tenth now paid $49 instead of $59 (16% savings).

Each of the six was better off than before. And the first four continued to drink for free. But once outside the restaurant, the men began to compare their savings. 'I only got a dollar out of the $20,' declared the sixth man.

He pointed to the tenth man,' but he got $10! "Yeah, that's right,' exclaimed the fifth man. 'I only saved a dollar, too.. It's unfair that he got ten times more than I! "That's true!!' shouted the seventh man. 'Why should he get $10 back when I got only two? The wealthy get all the breaks!

"Wait a minute,' yelled the first four men in unison. 'We didn't get anything at all. The system exploits the poor! 'The nine men surrounded the tenth and beat him up. The next night the tenth man (the richest) didn't show up for drinks, so the nine sat down and had beers without him. But when it came time to pay the bill, they discovered something important. They didn't have enough money between all of them for even half of the bill!

And that, journalists and college professors, is how our tax system works. The people who pay the highest taxes get the most benefit from a tax reduction. Tax them too much, attack them for being wealthy, and they just may not show up anymore. In fact, they might start drinking overseas where the atmosphere is somewhat friendlier.

http://www.ktok.com/pages/mullinsinthemorning.html

34 posted on 10/17/2008 7:33:28 AM PDT by RasterMaster (CHANGE is not a destination - HOPE is not a strategy)
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To: RasterMaster

Oh wow, that was so much better than anything I have ever argued in regards to taxation. Thank you for that.


35 posted on 10/20/2008 11:52:13 AM PDT by QenBirQeni
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