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Buffett, Gates create indelible UNL moment
Lincoln Journal Star ^ | 10-8-2005 | LJS Editorial

Posted on 10/11/2005 6:56:11 AM PDT by stevestras

The appearance of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett at the Lied Center last week was a reminder of the fluidity in American society that allows talent and drive — not birthright and connection — to earn power and wealth.

Although both men came from comfortable backgrounds, neither was born to that old wealth stratum of American society that sometimes seems to be tantamount to an aristocracy.

Dressed casually, they sat on a couple of stools, cracking jokes, speaking plainly, fielding unscripted questions. “They seemed like ordinary people, very normal, very knowledgeable and funny,” observed Yong Zhao, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln graduate student from China.

Their appearance is an example of the sort of inspiring, indelible personal experiences that are an important part of a university education. This sort of special event — even last year’s entertaining visit by rocker Tommy Lee fits the category — is part of a full and varied campus life.

The audience of 1,800 was UNL business students. The appearance will be shared with all Nebraskans next year on NET.

Their comments veered widely from the humorous — Gates admitted that colleagues at Microsoft blow him away when he plays video games like Halo 2 — to the profound — Buffett defined success as being loved by the people you hope love you.

If any students came to the session with a preconception that all the nation’s rich and powerful share the same low-tax political philosophy, they went away with a different impression.

Both Buffett and Gates said that they should pay more in taxes. “The rich should bear a somewhat higher proportion than they are now,” Gates said.

“I’m paying less than half of what I was paying years ago when I was making a lot less,” Buffett said. “There are people fighting in Iraq paying higher rates than mine.”

Perhaps most encouraging was the belief expressed by both billionaires that everyone can help make the world a better place.

Gates suggested that students gain an exposure to living conditions in other places. “Things are improving and there are places for people to jump in.” Buffett told one student that she — and by extension every individual — changes the world every day by the way she behaves around other people.

At a time when American society seems rife with cronyism and Enron-style corruption at high levels, the comments from the two icons of business success, delivered in a relaxed, ordinary, disarming style, provided reassurance that basic American ideals endure — that merit, hard work, optimism and decency can prevail.


TOPICS: Business/Economy
KEYWORDS: billgates; buffet; crooks; gates; richliberals; richpublicscolds; taxes; taxevasion
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“Both Buffett and Gates said that they should pay more in taxes. “The rich should bear a somewhat higher proportion than they are now,” Gates said.

I’m paying less than half of what I was paying years ago when I was making a lot less,” Buffett said. “There are people fighting in Iraq paying higher rates than mine.”

This irks me. Why don't these folks start a voluntary deficit reduction fund and contribute a billion, or two. Oh, that's right, their really trying to indoctrinate our young people, not solve the problem.

1 posted on 10/11/2005 6:56:22 AM PDT by stevestras
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To: stevestras

only the stupid, lazy, and middle class pay taxes


2 posted on 10/11/2005 6:57:52 AM PDT by right right
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To: stevestras

I was under the impression that soldiers in a forward area do not pay taxes.


3 posted on 10/11/2005 6:59:34 AM PDT by wideawake (God bless our brave troops and their Commander-in-Chief)
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To: wideawake

They don't. Buffet is evidently unaware of this.


4 posted on 10/11/2005 7:01:12 AM PDT by ex 98C MI Dude (Our legal system is in a PVS. Time to remove it from the public feeding trough.)
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To: stevestras

Half the rate is not half the taxes.


5 posted on 10/11/2005 7:01:23 AM PDT by DainBramage
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To: stevestras

"Both Buffett and Gates said that they should pay more in taxes"

Go for it. I'm not stopping either of them and neither is anyone else. All talk and no action. Typical. But to say they pay "less tax" than foks in Iraq is just a disingenuous attempt to get taxes raised on the wealthy.


6 posted on 10/11/2005 7:01:25 AM PDT by L98Fiero
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To: wideawake

I think you are right about that.


7 posted on 10/11/2005 7:01:44 AM PDT by Piquaboy (22 year veteran of the Army, Air Force and Navy, Pray for all our military .)
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To: stevestras
Any military personnel in a combat zone pay NO taxes...
8 posted on 10/11/2005 7:02:41 AM PDT by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - They want to die for Islam, and we want to kill them.)
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To: wideawake

That's true, they do not pay Federal taxes while in the combat tax exclusion zone. SS/FICA continues though.


9 posted on 10/11/2005 7:03:04 AM PDT by Wristpin ( Varitek says to A-Rod: "We don't throw at .260 hitters.....")
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To: wideawake
You are absolutely correct. Those soldiers are tax exempt while they are in the Iraqi AOR.

What really burns me about this is that the headline is completely misleading. Buffet does not pay less taxes, he pays a lower PERCENTAGE tax. The headline was probably written to intentionally obfuscate that fact.

What's more, why do Buffett and Gates employ accountants whose job is to reduce their tax burden if they actually feel this way? If you want to pay more, go right ahead!
10 posted on 10/11/2005 7:03:21 AM PDT by T.Smith
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To: stevestras

But if you ask for a slice you'll find they're giving none away...away....away....away


11 posted on 10/11/2005 7:03:27 AM PDT by Lester Moore (islam's allah is Satan and is NOT the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.)
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To: stevestras
Well these two can hire entire legal/tax firms to position themselves into a lower bracket. The avereage Joe cannot.

The current tax code (NOT tax rates) benefits the rich. The code needs to be simplified to the point where everyone pays and there's no need to have to have an entire firm of tax accountants to shelter your wealth.

12 posted on 10/11/2005 7:04:40 AM PDT by AFreeBird (your mileage may vary)
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To: stevestras

We don't pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes. --
Leona Helmsley


13 posted on 10/11/2005 7:05:42 AM PDT by Capt. Tom (Don't confuse the Bushies with the dumb Republicans - Capt. Tom)
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To: stevestras

"Why don't these folks start a voluntary deficit reduction fund and contribute a billion, or two"

That would be ok. I'd be happy if they just spent or invested their savings (which I am sure they do). That investing is what adds capital to the markets and allows the economy to grow...create jobs...increase earnings...and eventually bring in higher tax revenues (because of higher business/individual earnings, and not from higher rates). I'd rather have dork billionaires like Gates and Buffett invest the dollars than the U.S. government.

Yes, I do wish I was a dork billionaire.


14 posted on 10/11/2005 7:06:35 AM PDT by frankjr
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To: stevestras
The appearance of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett at the Lied Center last week was a reminder of the fluidity in American society that allows talent and drive — not birthright and connection — to earn power and wealth.

Very beautiful and it's simply what sets America apart from the world. Unfortunately, most Americans have never lived elsewhere and they don't have a clue just how beautiful that sentence is.

15 posted on 10/11/2005 7:06:56 AM PDT by kipita (Conservatives: Freedom and Responsibility………Liberals: Freedom from Responsibility)
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To: stevestras

What a load of %$&*! Both Gates and Buffett do NOT have to opt for every allowable deduction. They don't have to deduct charitable donations, etc.


16 posted on 10/11/2005 7:07:31 AM PDT by whitedog57 (Holland)
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To: stevestras
“The rich should bear a somewhat higher proportion than they are now,” Gates said.

Mr. Gates, how do you propose we tax wealth when our system of taxation is based on income?
17 posted on 10/11/2005 7:07:32 AM PDT by andyk (Go Matt Kenseth!)
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To: stevestras
..the people who make the laws also pay less...it's really not hard to figure out, they are also responsible for spending it. Until there is a nation wide FLAT TAX...everybody pays,it will never change. It will always be a political football to be kicked around every election day...for,against, higher,lower,increase,cut....mean while
PORK PORK PORK,SPENT SPENT SPENT...and people like us argue over whether or not the tax rate is right. While we argue, they keep spending. It won't change,they control.

Doogle
18 posted on 10/11/2005 7:07:51 AM PDT by Doogle (USAF...7thAF ..4077th TFW...408th MMS..Ubon Thailand.."69",,Night Line Delivery..AMMO)
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To: stevestras

They said they pay lower RATES on their income...not
lower taxes. Opener makes it sound like the kid in the military pays more than they do. The rest of us don't
give the huge amounts to charities that these guys do,
either. Their donations knock down their rate. The
reason Buffet and everyone else paid more taxes "years ago" is because the Dems wanted to tax everything possible to fatten their special programs. I'm no billionaire, but
I'm paying a lot less now, too. And I appreciate it!


19 posted on 10/11/2005 7:08:20 AM PDT by Grendel9 (uick)
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To: stevestras
Raise the taxes on the rich, raise the taxes on the rich, raise the taxes on the rich. Gosh it is good to see the MSM is still working this morning.

IIRC, the top 1% of earners pay 30% of the gross revenues for the IRS, the top 10% over fifty percent. Yes, Buffet and Gates are benefiting from the lack of capital gains taxes. Both likely donate more money each year than I'll make in my lifetime.
20 posted on 10/11/2005 7:09:32 AM PDT by kingu (Draft Fmr Senator Fred Thompson for '08.)
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To: stevestras
The appearance of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett at the Lied Center last week was a reminder of the fluidity in American society that allows talent and drive — not birthright and connection — to earn power and wealth.

WHAT?

http://www.skrause.org/computers/dos.shtml

http://www.links.net/daze/99/01/13/

http://www.jmusheneaux.com/39cc1.htm

There is not a better example of how cronnyism and high connections crush talent and drive.
21 posted on 10/11/2005 7:10:33 AM PDT by x5452
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To: stevestras

You think these two don't have gaggles of lawyers and accountants seeking every loop hole in the tax codes? Hypocrits.


22 posted on 10/11/2005 7:12:11 AM PDT by Normal4me
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To: stevestras
Both Buffett and Gates said that they should pay more in taxes. “The rich should bear a somewhat higher proportion than they are now,” Gates said.

Warren, Bill do you guys have accountants? Fire them. Fire the financial advisors. Move your loot out of the shelters and into a money market. Use the short form this April.

Problems solved you pair of phoney bastards.

And is the Lied Center the real name of the place or is the writer being ironic?

23 posted on 10/11/2005 7:12:19 AM PDT by Tribune7
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Comment #24 Removed by Moderator

To: stevestras

People like them employ several millions of people and drive a good percentage of the economy. As much as it disturbs me I had rather give them a tax break than have to ultra wealthy stop investing. If they did watch our economy tank or be taken over by off-shore investors and make us more dependent on foreigners than we are now.


25 posted on 10/11/2005 7:16:58 AM PDT by One Proud Dad
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To: Lester Moore

The Gates Foundation writes checks in the amount of approximately 14 million dollars per week. Thousands of schools benefit directly from Bill Gates. That's how you get your percentage rate down. There is an enormous flow of money from the wealthy but because they earn so much, they don't feel it. Then, the dems and the media guilt trip them into thinking they should be doing more - and maybe they should, but not by paying more taxes into the the government pork barrel. Foundations and grants are a much better way.


26 posted on 10/11/2005 7:17:34 AM PDT by UseYourHead
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To: stevestras; Willie Green; Wolfie; ex-snook; Jhoffa_; FITZ; arete; FreedomPoster; Red Jones; ...
I’m paying less than half of what I was paying years ago when I was making a lot less,” Buffett said. “There are people fighting in Iraq paying higher rates than mine.”

This irks me. Why don't these folks start a voluntary deficit reduction fund and contribute a billion, or two.

So you think that the fact "people fighting in Iraq [are] paying higher rates" is good, but when the billionaire complains about it is bad? And that those who do not approve it should make voluntary tax contribution but those who like it should keep the advantage?

27 posted on 10/11/2005 7:19:06 AM PDT by A. Pole (Fusion: "The forces of freedom on the move. Europe trembles.")
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To: wideawake

No one in a "Combat Zone" pays taxes.


28 posted on 10/11/2005 7:21:54 AM PDT by massgopguy (massgopguy)
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To: T.Smith
Buffet does not pay less taxes, he pays a lower PERCENTAGE tax.

So you think that flat tax would be very unjust? Would you like the poll tax instead?

29 posted on 10/11/2005 7:22:52 AM PDT by A. Pole (Fusion: "The forces of freedom on the move. Europe trembles.")
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To: A. Pole
So you think that the fact "people fighting in Iraq [are] paying higher rates" is good, but when the billionaire complains about it is bad?

Although your comment wasn't directed at me, I'll chime in anyway. I find it objectionable, because for Buffett and Gates, the solution, unspoken here, is to levy punishing taxes throughout the populace and all the way up the income scale to finance various state-sponsored schemes. They're personally far beyond caring, themselves.

Their real issue isn't the inefficiency or irregularity of the tax code that lets their clever accountants achieve a lower rate, but their desire to increase the level of government involvement throughout the economy.

30 posted on 10/11/2005 7:24:50 AM PDT by Pearls Before Swine (Is /sarc really needed?)
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To: 2banana
Any military personnel in a combat zone pay NO taxes...

It depends how you define taxes. It is amusing to see whan the federal income tax is being compared with the total tax in Sweden (which includes dividends, social security, local etc). Sweden's federal tax is ZERO :)

31 posted on 10/11/2005 7:25:56 AM PDT by A. Pole (Sweden's federal tax is ZERO !)
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To: stevestras
"The rich should bear a somewhat higher proportion than they are now," Gates said.

If you say so. Send me your address and I'll forward my tax bill.

32 posted on 10/11/2005 7:25:57 AM PDT by steve-b (A desire not to butt into other people's business is eighty percent of all human wisdom)
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To: stevestras
Buffet, Gates, pay less taxes than soldiers in Iraq

I'll bet they pay an entire regiment of lawyers to keep it that way too.

33 posted on 10/11/2005 7:26:39 AM PDT by metesky (This land was your land, this land is MY land; I bought the rights from a town selectman!)
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To: A. Pole

Both of these men are donating a higher percentage of their income to charity than 99% of the people in this country.

Their investing and capital outlay employs hundreds of thousands of other americans who can then also pay taxes.

I have no animosity towards either of them (or the Walton family for that matter).

the more they make, the more people that are employed and more unfortunate people get some sort of charitible assistance..

Unbelievable that someone can find fault with this..


34 posted on 10/11/2005 7:28:16 AM PDT by adjuster
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To: A. Pole
Gates is misinformed. Soldiers in harm's way do not pay any taxes except for the Communist FICA.

There should be no income tax at all.

Your mantra is "soak the rich" I know.

But soaking the rich is not only immoral, it has horrible practical consequences as well.

35 posted on 10/11/2005 7:28:51 AM PDT by wideawake (God bless our brave troops and their Commander-in-Chief)
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To: stevestras
Even though Buffett is rich he is liberal. He would lie or be disingenuous to make points with a seemingly liberal audience. He probably pays more in taxes than he can count and the rich certainly pay much more than the middle class or the government would have no money. The rich certainly pay a total lower percentage in payroll taxes but they mostly pay the maximum because only 1% or so max that out. Taking all kinds of income into consideration, they may pay a lower overall rate, but the rich who constitute 5% of taxpayers pay way over 65% of the total taxes to the government.

Gates and Buffett can pay more, all they have to do is pick up their check book and get busy, but in the lower earners of the 5% of the rich, they are vastly poorer than Gates or Buffett and an increase in taxes will adversely affect them.
36 posted on 10/11/2005 7:30:53 AM PDT by Final Authority
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To: A. Pole

Another reason to eliminate the IRS & repeal the federal income tax. Buffet and his ilk would pay more taxes from his restaurant meals alone than he's paying now if we went to a national sales tax. Go to a ten percent national sales tax on EVERYTHING...yes even real estate and groceries.


37 posted on 10/11/2005 7:31:03 AM PDT by kellynla (U.S.M.C. 1st Battalion,5th Marine Regiment, 1st Marine Div. Viet Nam 69&70 Semper Fi)
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To: stevestras

When it comes to taxes, these two are idiots.


38 posted on 10/11/2005 7:32:51 AM PDT by PjhCPA (They're stuck on stupid.)
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To: A. Pole
"So you think that flat tax would be very unjust? Would you like the poll tax instead?"

Huh? The point of my statement was that the headline was misleading. The writer makes it sound as if Buffett were paying fewer tax dollars than a soldier in Iraq. What Buffett really said was that he is paying less as a percentage of his total income. I expressed no opinion about graduated tax rates vis a vis a flat tax.

Since you ask, however, I prefer the Fair Tax.

39 posted on 10/11/2005 7:34:58 AM PDT by T.Smith
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To: A. Pole
A regressive tax policy (when measured in terms of tax rates) is not such a bad idea. If I earn $100,000 and the guy next door earns $50,000, then it would be nice to think that I should pay twice as much in taxes as he does. But if he's no less likely to call the fire department in an emergency, no less likely to send his kids to the local public school, etc., then I would effectively be subsidizing him under those circumstances.

However, I must say that military pay ought to be exempt from all Federal taxes -- especially pay for military personnel in combat.

40 posted on 10/11/2005 7:35:45 AM PDT by Alberta's Child (I ain't got a dime, but what I got is mine. I ain't rich, but Lord I'm free.)
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To: stevestras
Our (unconstitutional) tax system is a complete screw up and is badly in need of an overhaul.
41 posted on 10/11/2005 7:38:35 AM PDT by jpsb
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To: stevestras

In that Mr. Gates, at least, draws a very modest salary from Microsoft, he pays a comparatively small amount of money in ordinary income taxes, payroll taxes, etc.

Microsoft pays a small dividend, so Mr. Gates pays 15% in federal income taxes on that amount, which is still very small in relationship to his wealth.

Otherwise, Mr. Gates pays taxes on income from any other investments he may have (still relatively small compared to the wealth in his shares of Microsoft), and will pay capital gains tax from time to time when he sells shares of Microsoft (or other smaller investments). Capital gains are a maximum of 15% on the gain at the federal level.

Thus, part of the issue is that Mr. Gates probably just doesn't generate a whole lot of income, in comparison to his wealth, and what income he generates annually is likely nearly all dividends and capital gains, which are both taxed at a maximum federal rate of 15%.

But remember that any dividends he receives are paid out of after-tax corporate profits, and thus have have already been taxed at the federal corporate income tax level (and Microsoft pays federal corporate income taxes at a rate of about 35%). As well, capital gains come from investments usually acquired initially with after-tax income.


42 posted on 10/11/2005 7:38:48 AM PDT by sitetest (If Roe is not overturned, no unborn child will ever be protected in law.)
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To: stevestras
Both Buffett and Gates said that they should pay more in taxes. The rich should bear a somewhat higher proportion than they are now, Gates said.

These hypocrites can cut a check to the US Treasury any time they want.

Why don't they form a "rich guys who don't pay enough taxes club" and sign up everyone they know who can afford it? They can start with Gates dad. He's a billionaire.

43 posted on 10/11/2005 7:40:06 AM PDT by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: whitedog57
They don't have to deduct charitable donations, etc.

World Unimpressed with Bill Gates’ Puny $168m Donation - September 23rd 2003

Charities around the world were shocked today to learn that Bill Gates had pledged 168 million dollars in the fight against malaria.

“Quite frankly, I was disappointed.” Chuck Hankman, the manager of a local branch of Oxfam announced. “I mean, 168 million sounds like a lot, but to people like Bill Gates it’s next to nothing.

“I managed to secure a $46,000 a year wage for my job at Oxfam – but I give nearly $2,000 a year of that to charities. Mr Gates is worth 46 billion – to parallel what I donate he would have donate 2 billion. It just exposes what a cruel hearted bastard the billionaire is. He earns far too much for what he does, all that excess money should be going to charity...

You sound familiar...

44 posted on 10/11/2005 7:40:37 AM PDT by pageonetoo (You'll spot their posts soon enough!)
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To: stevestras

Looks like "the fix is in" for the next election.


45 posted on 10/11/2005 7:41:30 AM PDT by Bogie
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To: adjuster

"Unbelievable that someone can find fault with this.. "

The fault I find is preaching to impressionable young students as though this complicated situation is so simple. They are basically saying that the tax cuts Bush passed are wrong and I'm sure many students will believe them. It plays right into the "rich get richer" under Bush theme.


46 posted on 10/11/2005 7:41:31 AM PDT by stevestras
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To: Tribune7

"And is the Lied Center the real name of the place or is the writer being ironic?"

Too funny. The Lie(d) Center is pronounced Leed, but it's a good play on words in this situation.


47 posted on 10/11/2005 7:42:51 AM PDT by stevestras
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To: L98Fiero

He may be actually telling the truth. He has never taken much of a salary. His wealth comes from the appreciation of his BH stock, the gains on which are not taxed until he sells some, which he never does except through his charitable foundation, which doesn't pay taxes. He lives modestly, as I am given to understand, and BH stock doesn't pay dividends I believe. So his taxable income is quite small.


48 posted on 10/11/2005 7:43:33 AM PDT by B.Bumbleberry
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To: ex 98C MI Dude; wideawake
They don't. Buffet is evidently unaware of this.

Buffet seems to be unaware of a lot of things. Surprisingly his personal finances and company structure.

With the debate on repealing the tax on dividends Buffet complained that if the tax on dividends were repealed he would pay far less in taxes on his BH income than he does now. An enterprising reporter decided to investigage.

There was a big problem with Buffet's claim. BH doesn't pay dividends!

49 posted on 10/11/2005 7:47:11 AM PDT by Phantom Lord (Fall on to your knees for the Phantom Lord)
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To: A. Pole
So you think that the fact "people fighting in Iraq [are] paying higher rates" is good, but when the billionaire complains about it is bad?

Relax Comrade. Even if the soldiers were paying taxes, Bill Gates made $1,000,000 in salary last year. That puts him in the 35% tax bracket. Plus 15% of any capital gains on MSFT stock sales. The average soldier is in the 10% or 15% tax bracket.

50 posted on 10/11/2005 7:47:16 AM PDT by Toddsterpatriot (If you agree with Marx, the AFL-CIO and E.P.I. please stop calling yourself a conservative!!)
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