Warren Buffett’s Bizarre Non-Sequitur Challenge to Republicans

I have a feeling everyone will be talking about this quip from Warren Buffett over the next few days:

OMAHA, Neb. — Billionaire Warren Buffett said Wednesday he’s willing to match any contributions that Republican members of Congress make to help reduce the national debt.Buffett told Time magazine about his offer in a conversation about why he’s optimistic about the nation’s future.Buffett, who is chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, was criticized by Republicans last year for his suggestion that Congress increase taxes on the “mega-rich” like himself.

Several Republicans, including Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, suggested Buffett just donate money to help the nation balance its books instead of asking to pay higher taxes.

“It restores my faith in human nature to think that there are people who have been around Washington all this time and are not yet so cynical as to think that (the deficit) can’t be solved by voluntary contributions,” Buffett said to the magazine.

Buffett did not immediately respond Wednesday afternoon to a message from The Associated Press.

Buffett tells Time that he doesn’t think many Republicans will be willing to take him up on his offer to match their contributions. The longtime Democrat said he’d even triple anything McConnell gives…

Now, look, I hate hypocritical partisan douchebag politicians as much as the next guy, so my first thought was “Yeah, SUCK IT, hypocritical partisan douchebag politicians!”  Then I thought about it for 5 seconds and realized that Buffett is off on a total non-sequitur here.

Quick tangential note: for those unaware, Warren Buffett, who structures almost his entire investment philosophy and lifestyle around the minimization of taxation under current law, wrote a letter to Congress last year saying that he should be taxed at a higher rate.

See, the Republicans’ point is that they don’t think that the rich should have to bear the brunt of the tax burden more than they already do (look: you can agree or disagree with this philosophy, but I think it’s clear that this IS the Republican philosophy.  I have no interest in arguing here whether or not it is the correct policy).  In other words, the entire Republican point is “WE don’t want to pay any more in taxes, if you think you aren’t taxed enough, then YOU are free to pay more in taxes.”   Thus, calling out Mitch McConnell like this, while sure to grab headlines, and result in high fives and “OH NO YOU DI’INTS” amongst liberals, makes no sense:

 

 

See, McConnell never offered to pay more taxes – he doesn’t want to pay more taxes, and he doesn’t want rich people to pay more taxes.   Some commentators would call Buffett’s latest a “straw man,”  but I hate that term so I won’t use it, although I think it’s probably right on target.

Time has a reply from McConnell’s office:

“Sen. McConnell says that Washington should be smaller, rather than taxes getting bigger. And since some, like President Obama and Mr. Buffett, want to pay higher taxes, Congress made it possible for them to call their own bluff and send in a check. So I look forward to Mr. Buffett matching a healthy batch of checks from those who actually want to pay higher taxes, including Congressional Democrats, the President and the DNC.”

Maybe a little bit too partisan for my liking, but I can’t fault McConnell’s reply to Buffett, who made a random assault on a non-argument in an attempt to further politicize the issue and distract his critics.

-KD

non-sequitur: “often used for comedic purposes. It is a comment that, because of its apparent lack of meaning relative to what it follows,seems absurd to the point of being humorous or confusing.”

postscript – I have no doubt that there will be readers who leave inane comments like “KID DYNAMITE YOUR (sic) AN IDIOT, THE RICH SHOULD PAY MORE TAXES.”   Let me re-emphasize, just in case I didn’t make it clear enough:  that is NOT the topic or point of this blog post in any way shape or form.   I do not care what your opinion is on the rich paying more taxes, and I have not given my opinion on that issue.  I have no interest in debating or discussing that topic – it’s one of the untouchables.   My point is that Mitch McConnell and the Republican Party’s view is that they do not want higher taxes for the rich, which is a view that Warren Buffett seems to be trying to attribute to them, bizarrely.

 

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