There’s a growing chorus of rich people making a surprising demand: “Raise our taxes!”
Warren Buffett sounded off last month at a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton, saying the rich should pay a more-fair share of taxes. He said that he surveyed his employees at Berkshire headquarters and found that all of them — down to the secretaries — paid a higher share of their income to taxes in 2006 than he did. And Mr. Buffett is the second-richest man in America. He told the group he uses no tax shelters, employs no tax planner and pays a mere 17.7%.
Now comes an even more passionate argument from Bill Gross, the billionaire bond king at Pimco. In a post on the Pimco site, Mr. Gross says today’s rich didn’t get rich simply through pluck and smarts — they got there by “taking risks with other people’s money” and through “low taxes.” The rich are sailing off into their own world of privilege because “it is in fact society’s wind and its current willingness to nurture the rich that fills their sails.”
Mr. Gross acknowledges that American capitalism and free markets have brought great benefits to society: They have “fostered and encouraged innovation and globalization which are the fundamental building blocks of wealth.” (And he should know, having made a bundle when Pimco was sold to Allianz.) But today’s rich, he says, have gone too far.
Mr. Gross writes that “now is the time, long overdue in fact, to admit that for the rich, for the mega-rich of this country, that enough is never enough, and it is therefore incumbent upon government to rectify today’s imbalances.”
My previous criticism of Robert Frank may have been premature because I have to admit I am enjoying his blog.
Halliburton Co.'s second-quarter net income more than doubled due to gains from its April spinoff of KBR Inc.
The provider of products and services to the petroleum and energy industries reported net income of $1.53 billion, or $1.62 a share, compared with $591 million, or 55 cents a share, a year earlier. [...]
Total operating income at the company, formerly headed by Vice President Dick Cheney, rose 18% to $893 million on increased customer activity and new international contracts. Also helping was a $31 million investment gain.
Dramatic increases in net income and the fact that Halliburton used to be headed by Cheney are mentioned as if they were mere coincidences.
But there was a causal relationship: one started a war to benefit the other. Why? Few people know for sure, but my hunch is that it was karmic payback by Cheney for saddling Halliburton with the acquisition of Dresser Industries, a company laden with asbestos liabilities.
The tabloid that shifted toward political conservatism under the brief ownership of Rupert Murdoch more than two decades ago now says that it is "rethinking our stance on several issues, including the most pressing issue facing Americans today: Bush's war in Iraq."
Under marching orders from Publisher John Cruickshank and Editor in Chief Michael Cooke, new Editorial Page Editor Cheryl L. Reed introduced a new Commentary section Tuesday with a promise to turn the tabloid back into the liberal-leaning paper it was for decades before the Reagan administration.
"We are returning to our liberal, working-class roots, a position that pits us squarely opposite the Chicago Tribune -- that Republican, George Bush-touting paper over on moneyed Michigan Avenue," Reed wrote. "We're rethinking our stance on several issues, including the most pressing issue facing Americans today: Bush's war in Iraq."
"Bush's war in Iraq" is exactly the right phrase — not "war in Iraq." Though Cheney was its chief architect and enabler, it's really Bush's war, and it should define his historical legacy as a witless serial killer.