Following Warren Buffett’s call for more taxes on the rich, and Obama’s recent address on creating jobs, Blackstone CEO Steve Schwarzman has penned his own op-ed in the FT titled: An olive branch to Obama: I will share the pain.
So do you think he’s ready to get on the same side as Buffett and endorse higher taxes?
First, he blasts the President’s rhetoric for creating the current economic weakness:
My concern is compounded because our ability to make economic decisions has become paralysed by political and social divisions. This problem began when the administration sought to attribute blame for the financial and economic crisis and alienated large segments of the business and banking community. They cast them as villains regardless of their culpability. Predictably, business reacted with fear and limited economic expansion, hiring and new lending. A second response to this was the rise of the Tea Party, which in turn attacked the administration and the Democrats.
Then he pats himself on the back for investing in so many businesses at Blackstone.
And then finally, at the bottom he gets around to his idea of “shared sacrifice” and the emphasis is on shared.
If he’s going to be made worse off by higher taxes, then everyone needs to be made worse off, and even there he calls for a flat tax:
“Shared sacrifice” sounds like cheap political rhetoric. But if we are to reform taxes and cut spending sufficiently to make a difference, virtually everyone will be affected. Broad-based tax reform will put everything on the table, from the rates we pay at every bracket to serious thinking about a flat tax regime with few or no deductions. Entitlement reform of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security will affect the benefits we receive and the amounts we all have to contribute. There will probably not be a single American untouched by the spending cuts needed in the rest of the federal budget.
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