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Warren Buffet was talking to noted English language butcher Tom Brokaw, and made one of the dumbest arguments of all time while arguing for higher taxes. First of all, Warren, WRITE A CHECK to the IRS if you want to give more. Second, he makes the 'my secretary has a higher tax rate than I do' argument by comparing his capital gains tax to their income tax. Capital gains vs. income tax. Not the same thing. Glenn has more including a look into the disturbing, severely slurred speech of Tom Brokaw.
The transcript from radio is below:
GLENN: Warren Buffett, a guy who was poor, then became rich and now would like to trap everybody, you know, to be poor.
PAT: Pretty much.
GLENN: Close that ‑‑ what was it de Tocqueville said? Oh, yeah, that the rich and powerful would eventually become so rich and powerful and greedy that they would slam the door on everybody else to make sure that they don't have the opportunities that they and now their children have. So here's Warren Buffett.
BUFFETT: ‑‑ taxation system has tilted toward the rich and away from the middle class in the last ten years, dramatic ‑‑
GLENN: Can we just stop. Tilted toward the rich. I thought it was equal justice for all that everybody was looking for, wasn't it?
PAT: No, uh‑uh. Except for that rich 1%.
PAT: Except for them.
PAT: All right?
GLENN: Hang on just ‑‑ I just want to make sure I got this right.
PAT: Yeah, equal justice for all.
PAT: Except for the wealthiest 1% who are total evil incarnate.
GLENN: Just help me out on this.
PAT: All right.
GLENN: Because if I said ‑‑ this would be right, using that logic, this would be okay. To say, "Okay, we can't round anybody up or, you know, tell them what business they can be."
GLENN: "Except for maybe, I don't know, the Hispanic." That's cool, right?
PAT: No, that's not cool, uh‑uh. That doesn't work. Uh‑uh.
GLENN: Well ‑‑
GLENN: ‑‑ I mean it's equal justice for all except ‑‑ okay, how about the Amish? Because that's a really small number.
PAT: Cool, almost works but not quite.
GLENN: Almost works?
GLENN: Almost works.
PAT: But not quite.
GLENN: I need something that's 1%. How about the left‑handed Native Americans missing ‑‑
GLENN: ‑‑ or having some sort of a foot problem?
PAT: In fact, they get special consideration.
PAT: They can have casinos.
GLENN: They can have casinos?
PAT: They can have casinos.
GLENN: Can we let the rich have casinos?
PAT: Rich can't have casinos.
GLENN: I don't think I'm following you.
PAT: I know.
GLENN: Is this a policy that was put into place by Thomas Jefferson?
GLENN: Taxes weren't?
GLENN: Income tax, who did the income tax in America ‑‑
PAT: Surely that had to be ‑‑
GLENN: Surely had to be ‑‑
PAT: Had to be the heroic maneuver of... Woodrow Wilson.
GLENN: Woodrow Wilson. Huh. What a surprise. So anyway, go ahead, Warren Buffett, and tell me about the progressive income tax.
BUFFETT: And I don't think it's appreciated and I think it should be addressed.
VOICE: You've gone very public with this.
VOICE: You talk about it in your own office, for example.
GLENN: Hang on just a second. Who hasn't missed Tom Brokaw? Who hasn't? Seriously, seriously? When you want some credibility, let's bring Tom Brokaw back. What the hell? Can we throw in a spoonful of Dan Rather as well, just for credibility sake? Okay, anyway.
PAT: All right.
BROKAW: A much lower tax rate.
PAT: Much lower. Much lower.
PAT: Much lower.
PAT: In Louisville. And there's a lower rate in Louisville and Jalalabad. In Jalalabad and Louisville, there's a lower tax rate.
VOICE: Your wealth than say a receptionist does?
BUFFETT: That's exactly right, Tom, and I think the only way to deal with ‑‑
GLENN: I can't take it.
PAT: I can't take it. I can't take the, you've got a lower tax rate than your receptionist.
GLENN: Hang on just a second. Let's say your receptionist has made billions of dollars and now ‑‑ and paid income tax on that in the first, the first go‑around.
GLENN: Okay? And then put all of that money into, into investments.
GLENN: And now that ‑‑ now she's not working for money. Now she's not working for a dime of her money.
GLENN: All of her money is coming from the investments. The investments that she purchased with her hard‑earned dollars that she already paid money on.
PAT: She already paid taxes on.
GLENN: Yeah. Okay. So now she's paying 15%.
PAT: In addition to whatever she paid the first time around.
GLENN: Now, if you had an independently wealthy secretary that was living on the trust fund that she had already paid taxes on the first time around, would Warren Buffett be then paying the same tax rate as his secretary?
GLENN: Yes, okay. But since ‑‑ I don't know this for a fact, but I'm guessing that Warren Buffett's secretary is not independently wealthy.
PAT: I'm guessing not.
GLENN: Hasn't built an empire.
PAT: I don't think so.
GLENN: From scratch.
GLENN: And then paid all that money in the end and then invested the money into some ridiculous, ridiculously overpriced share of some stupid company like Berkshire Hathaway. Anyway, I'm not sure not the case with her.
PAT: No, I'm sure it's not.
GLENN: So wouldn't that kind of be like comparing apples and shoes?
PAT: Mmm‑hmmm. You would think so. But listen to ‑‑ listen to the numbers he throws out here.
GLENN: Okay, all right.
PAT: He did a little office pool survey.
GLENN: Who did?
PAT: Warren did.
GLENN: Warren walked the hallway?
PAT: Yes, he did.
GLENN: Talking to secretaries and janitors?
PAT: He sure did.
PAT: And he's done some research.
BUFFETT: In our office 15 people cooperated in a survey out of 18. I didn't make anybody do it.
BUFFETT: My total taxes paid ‑‑
PAT: Get this.
BUFFETT: Total taxes plus income tax, mine came to 17.7%.
GLENN: Okay. Then he ‑‑ I want his ‑‑ may I get his tax attorney, please?
PAT: He says he doesn't have one. He does not have a tax attorney.
GLENN: He doesn't have one?
PAT: He's about to tell you that.
BUFFETT: Everybody at the office was 32.9%. There wasn't anybody in the office from the receptionist on that paid the lowest tax rate, and I have no tax planning, I don't have an accountant, I don't have tax shelters. I just follow what the U.S. congress tells me to do.
GLENN: Okay. So hang on just a second.
PAT: That's garbage.
GLENN: No, no, no.
PAT: That's got to be garbage.
GLENN: No. If he is only living on what he is taking out of his ‑‑ out of his, you know ‑‑
PAT: Yes, his ‑‑
GLENN: His funds.
PAT: So capital gains.
PAT: He's talking about payroll tax.
GLENN: Payroll tax, how much is payroll tax? He's talking as a company. He's the employer.
GLENN: So he's paying, what, is it 3.5%?
PAT: Okay. Yes.
GLENN: Isn't that 17.5%?
PAT: Probably, that's ‑‑
GLENN: He's not paying income tax! They're paying income tax. Warren, it's really not that hard. You and I need to sit down and talk some financial things here because if you listen to me, brother, you could be rich.
GLENN: What the hell is wrong with this guy? Like he doesn't understand it.
PAT: And ‑‑
GLENN: He's a billionaire and he's talking income tax ‑‑
GLENN: ‑‑ versus payroll tax!
PAT: And can somebody call him on that? Is there any journalist?
GLENN: You know what? Let me tell you something.
PAT: Tom Brokaw can't say, well, your rates are lower, Warren, lower than the income tax rate. Nobody can say that to him?
GLENN: What's that wild city in Afghanistan?
GLENN: All right.
PAT: They're lower in Jalalabad.
GLENN: Okay. So let me ask you this: Is it completely unreasonable to have someone in the press point this out? You want to talk about the death of truth? Here it is.
GLENN: Here it is. No one ‑‑ everyone seems to have an agenda for higher taxes. What is Tom Brokaw? Well, I'll tell you Tom Brokaw's most likely a really, really guilty rich man. I got news for ya. In the last two years I have created 92 jobs.
PAT: How guilty do you feel about that?
GLENN: I feel great. I want to break out in song.
GLENN: If I could do a Broadway song right now, I'd do it, brother. I could break out in the ‑‑ I could break out in Kate Smith at any moment. God bless America. 92 jobs. Do I ‑‑ have I made a lot of money? You know what, let me tell you something. I was just, who was it that came over? Freddie, my friend Freddie, you know Freddie? Freddie came over to my house Friday. He has never been to my apartment. He came into my house. Now, here's a guy who works hard for a living. And he came over to my house and he said, holy cow. Holy cow, look at this view. I said, is this rockin' or what? He said, this is the best view of New York I've ever seen. I said, Freddie, now, let me just remind ya. Ten years ago, flat broke. Ten years ago I was broke. I don't owe a man a dime today. I employ 92 people and I got one sweet view. God bless America. Now here's a guy ‑‑
PAT: How it should be.
GLENN: Here's a guy from Puerto Rico, from Puerto Rico who doesn't want to take it from anybody. He wants to earn it himself. He said, is this a great country or what? The answer: Yes... it... is. No, the answer is yes, currently it is.