16 Insights On Politics And Taxes From Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett recently waded into the morass that is Washington politics with a pledge to match dollar for dollar any contributions made by Republican Senators to help pay down the national debt. 

His one exception: he would match any donations made by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at three to one.

But as you’re likely well aware, this isn’t the first time Buffett has injected himself into the legislative process.

In fact, his most recent comments were themselves a reaction to Republican Senator John Thune’s reaction to Buffett’s August op-ed on tax policy favouring the rich.

So why not take a look back at some of Buffett’s earlier comments on taxes and politics through the years? 

We’ve made an effort to cull the best zingers, but these are topics the Oracle has been talking about for decades, so if we’ve missed one that deserves attention, let us know.

How To Fix The Deficit

'I could end the deficit in 5 minutes. You just pass a law that says that anytime there is a deficit of more than 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election.'

Source: CNBC

The Rise Of The American Stock Market

'Over the long term, the stock market news will be good. In the 20th century, the United States endured two world wars and other traumatic and expensive military conflicts; the Depression; a dozen or so recessions and financial panics; oil shocks; a flu epidemic; and the resignation of a disgraced president. Yet the Dow rose from 66 to 11,497.'

Source: The New York Times

Why Taxes Should Be Raised...

'I just think that - when a country needs more income and we do, we're only taking in 15 per cent of GDP, I mean, that - that - when a country needs more income, they should get it from the people that have it.'

Source: CNBC

... But Taxes Should Be Cut For the Lower, Middle and Upper Middle Class

'If anything, taxes for the lower and middle class and maybe even the upper middle class should even probably be cut further. But I think that people at the high end - people like myself - should be paying a lot more in taxes. We have it better than we've ever had it.'

Source: ABC

scepticism Towards Trickle Down Economics

'The rich are always going to say that, you know, just give us more money and we'll go out and spend more and then it will all trickle down to the rest of you. But that has not worked the last 10 years, and I hope the American public is catching on.'

Source: ABC

Housing Policy

'Putting people into homes, though a desirable goal, shouldn't be our country's primary objective. Keeping them in their homes should be the ambition.'

Source: 2008 Berkshire Hathaway Shareholder Letter

Opportunity In America

'There are 309 million people out there that are trying to improve their lot in life. And we've got a system that allows them to do it.'

Source: CNBC

On The Endurance Of America

'We always live in an uncertain world. What is certain is that the United States will go forward over time.'

Source: CNBC

Taxes On The Wealthy

His Luck In Being Who He Is, Where He Is

'My wealth has come from a combination of living in America, some lucky genes, and compound interest. Both my children and I won what I call the ovarian lottery. (For starters, the odds against my 1930 birth taking place in the U.S. were at least 30 to 1. My being male and white also removed huge obstacles that a majority of Americans then faced.)'

Source: The Giving Pledge

The Impact Of Healthcare Costs

'It's like a tapeworm eating at our economic body.'

Source: CNBC

Class Warfare?

'There's class warfare, all right, but it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning.'

Source: The New York Times

The American Economy's Biggest Asset

On President Barack Obama

On Extending the Bush-era Tax Cuts

Shift In The Tax Code

'I think the inequities that have gone into the tax code in the last 20 or 30 years compared to the situation that existed when this country was very prosperous in 1960, 1970, 1980 and so on, I-- I think it's-- I just think it's been tilted toward the rich.'

Source: CNBC

There are a couple ways to get to where Buffett is, here's one...

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