Good Billionaires

On Monday a person named Anand Giridharadas wrote a scathing New York Times op-Ed piece about “good and bad” billionaires. Actually, he considers all extremely wealthy Americans to be scalawags, who don’t give a damn about anything but accumulating wealth.

I enthusiastically want to express my disagreement with this man’s uninformed, and poorly researched perspectives. The Times should be more discerning about sensational essays that misstate the actions of others in an effort to appease the most radical left-wing elements in the country. The paper will never change its stripes.

Yeah, his concern is that many billionaires have increased their wealth over the past few years, while paying relatively minimal taxes to the government. [You guessed it. They don’t pay their “fair share of taxes!” Whatever the hell that means.]

The author spends little time explaining the nature of Warren Buffett’s wealth and the that of others in his stratosphere. It’s really pretty simple. Billionaire investors like Buffett have accumulated wealth on a pretax basis in the form of assets that will eventually be taxed when sold for a profit. They usually have relatively little current income. Someday the government will receive a large payment if the money is not given away to charity.

Also, Mr. G did not focus on the amount that Buffett has donated to charity. He pointed out that Buffet’s wealth “soared” by $24.3 billion from 2014 to 2018, but he paid only $23.7 million in taxes. However, it was not mentioned that Buffett gave $37 billion to charity since 2006. And he is the founder of the Giving Pledge and promised to give away 99% of his fortune before he dies. This year, Buffett is donating another $2.9 billion worth of Berkshire Hathaway stock to the needy.

“The Giving Pledge is an effort to help address society’s most pressing problems by inviting the world’s wealthiest individuals and families to commit more than half of their wealth to philanthropy or charitable causes either during their lifetime or in their will.”  As of 2020, 211 individuals signed the Pledge representing approximately $600 billion.

Buffet, Gates and Bezos really don’t need me to shield them from overzealous, ill-informed commentators. None of them have anything to be ashamed of. Since when is success a deadly sin? Why do people write things that are misleading and besmirch the reputations of the most generous people in the world? At least, this guy should have Googled Buffett to see that maybe Buffett is not rolling around in a pile of Benjamins. But rather, he’s trying to figure out how to give away his wealth before he dies.

Just so there is no misunderstanding, simplistically, when Buffett dies, the remaining money in his estate will be taxed at over 50%.

Progressives are revving up to try to enact a law that taxes the wealth of billionaires as opposed to their current income. They have every right to pursue such a strategy. I hope that before they embark on this unfair odyssey, they calculate and recognize how much billionaires donate on top of the actual tax payments they do make each year.

I Repeat, Manchin For President

Senator Joe Manchin III (D-WV) is the most powerful person in Washington. His support is critical to Joe Biden on several fronts. His potential value to Republicans could be astronomical. Note: This essay was inspired by a New York Times article on Manchin.

Softball politics recently suggested Manchin should consider changing parties giving Republicans control of the Senate, and then run for president as a Republican. This suggestion is becoming a more a viable option for the lawmaker with every passing day.

Currently, the Senate is evenly divided among Democrats and Republicans, 50 each. The former is in a control position because the vice president votes when senators are deadlocked. Manchin is one of the Democrats, but he has stated that he is against enacting certain legislative initiatives unless there is bipartisan support for them.

In particular, Manchin will not vote for a bill by Democrats to battle alleged voter suppression. These would include mandates for early voting, absentee ballots, voter ID’s, gerrymandering and such. Democrats say they want to make it easier for every American to vote, while Republicans want to ensure that elections are fair without a bias towards Democrats.

By not supporting the bill, the vote would be 51 Republicans against passage and 49 Democrats for passage. The bill would be defeated. Moreover, even if Manchin would vote for the bill, Republicans could filibuster which would necessitate 60 votes for passage.

Regarding the last issue, Manchin continues to be in favor of most Democratic initiatives, but not elimination of the filibuster. It is feasible that Democrats would attempt to eliminate the filibuster so lawmakers dealing with policy issues would no longer need 60 votes, but rather only a majority for passage.

At this time, the filibuster is no longer available to the opposition for Supreme Court justice confirmations, confirmations of judges on lower courts and cabinet selections by presidents. By eliminating the filibuster for all legislation, a party that controls the presidency, the Senate and the House would be able to pass all legislation with no recourse by the opposition. Note: Bills involving taxation and the like are also not subject to filibusters.

It is likely that any number of Democratic initiatives dealing with immigration, voting rights, treaties, entitlements, redistribution of wealth, forgiveness of student loans, commerce, union rights, civil rights and so on would be very difficult to pass unless the filibuster is eliminated. Manchin is the key to this drama.

Metaphysically, Manchin’s heart is in the right place. He longs for the days when senators debated and passed legislation without the venom mistrust that exists in Congress at this time. Members would orate and disagree and have a cocktail after legislative sessions ended. No more.

Washington is partisan and members are power hungry. Manchin is risking his career trying to bring comity back to Capitol Hill. If he is successful, he should be rewarded. And the only way he can be successful is if he changes parties and forces all lawmakers to work together. Think about Manchin. He really does have all the chips and could very well be our next president.

***MANCHIN FOR PRESIDENT***

Senator Joe Manchin III (D-WV) is the most powerful person in Washington. His support is critical to Joe Biden on several fronts. His potential value to Republicans could be astronomical. Note: This essay was inspired by a New York Times article on Manchin.

Softball politics recently suggested Manchin should consider changing parties giving Republicans control of the Senate, and then run for president as a Republican. This suggestion is becoming a more a viable option for the lawmaker with every passing day.

Currently, the Senate is evenly divided among Democrats and Republicans, 50 each. The former is in a control position because the vice president votes when senators are deadlocked. Manchin is one of the Democrats, but he has stated that he is against enacting certain legislative initiatives unless there is bipartisan support for them.

In particular, Manchin will not vote for a bill by Democrats to battle alleged voter suppression. These would include mandates for early voting, absentee ballots, voter ID’s, gerrymandering and such. Democrats say they want to make it easier for every American to vote, while Republicans want to ensure that elections are fair without a bias towards Democrats.

By not supporting the bill, the vote would be 51 Republicans against passage and 49 Democrats for passage. The bill would be defeated. Moreover, even if Manchin would vote for the bill, Republicans could filibuster which would necessitate 60 votes for passage.

Regarding the last issue, Manchin continues to be in favor of most Democratic initiatives, but not elimination of the filibuster. It is feasible that Democrats would attempt to eliminate the filibuster so lawmakers dealing with policy issues would no longer need 60 votes, but rather only a majority for passage.

At this time, the filibuster is no longer available to the opposition for Supreme Court justice confirmations, confirmations of judges on lower courts and cabinet selections by presidents. By eliminating the filibuster for all legislation, a party that controls the presidency, the Senate and the House would be able to pass all legislation with no recourse by the opposition. Note: Bills involving taxation and the like are also not subject to filibusters.

It is likely that any number of Democratic initiatives dealing with immigration, voting rights, treaties, entitlements, redistribution of wealth, forgiveness of student loans, commerce, union rights, civil rights and so on would be very difficult to pass unless the filibuster is eliminated. Manchin is the key to this drama.

Metaphysically, Manchin’s heart is in the right place. He longs for the days when senators debated and passed legislation without the venom mistrust that exists in Congress at this time. Members would orate and disagree and have a cocktail after legislative sessions ended. No more.

Washington is partisan and members are power hungry. Manchin is risking his career trying to bring comity back to Capitol Hill. If he is successful, he should be rewarded. And the only way he can be successful is if he changes parties and forces all lawmakers to work together. Think about Manchin. He really does have all the chips and could very well be our next president.

***MANCHIN FOR PRESIDENT***

Senator Joe Manchin III (D-WV) is the most powerful person in Washington. His support is critical to Joe Biden on several fronts. His potential value to Republicans could be astronomical. Note: This essay was inspired by a New York Times article on Manchin.

Softball politics recently suggested Manchin should consider changing parties giving Republicans control of the Senate, and then run for president as a Republican. This suggestion is becoming a more a viable option for the lawmaker with every passing day.

Currently, the Senate is evenly divided among Democrats and Republicans, 50 each. The former is in a control position because the vice president votes when senators are deadlocked. Manchin is one of the Democrats, but he has stated that he is against enacting certain legislative initiatives unless there is bipartisan support for them.

In particular, Manchin will not vote for a bill by Democrats to battle alleged voter suppression. These would include mandates for early voting, absentee ballots, voter ID’s, gerrymandering and such. Democrats say they want to make it easier for every American to vote, while Republicans want to ensure that elections are fair without a bias towards Democrats.

By not supporting the bill, the vote would be 51 Republicans against passage and 49 Democrats for passage. The bill would be defeated. Moreover, even if Manchin would vote for the bill, Republicans could filibuster which would necessitate 60 votes for passage.

Regarding the last issue, Manchin continues to be in favor of most Democratic initiatives, but not elimination of the filibuster. It is feasible that Democrats would attempt to eliminate the filibuster so lawmakers dealing with policy issues would no longer need 60 votes, but rather only a majority for passage.

At this time, the filibuster is no longer available to the opposition for Supreme Court justice confirmations, confirmations of judges on lower courts and cabinet selections by presidents. By eliminating the filibuster for all legislation, a party that controls the presidency, the Senate and the House would be able to pass all legislation with no recourse by the opposition. Note: Bills involving taxation and the like are also not subject to filibusters.

It is likely that any number of Democratic initiatives dealing with immigration, voting rights, treaties, entitlements, redistribution of wealth, forgiveness of student loans, commerce, union rights, civil rights and so on would be very difficult to pass unless the filibuster is eliminated. Manchin is the key to this drama.

Metaphysically, Manchin’s heart is in the right place. He longs for the days when senators debated and passed legislation without the venom mistrust that exists in Congress at this time. Members would orate and disagree and have a cocktail after legislative sessions ended. No more.

Washington is partisan and members are power hungry. Manchin is risking his career trying to bring comity back to Capitol Hill. If he is successful, he should be rewarded. And the only way he can be successful is if he changes parties and forces all lawmakers to work together. Think about Manchin. He really does have all the chips and could very well be our next president.

A Great Commencement!

Last week we celebrated a child’s graduation from business school. It was a very emotional and enjoyable experience.

The celebration was online, which was a bit of a disappointment. Essentially, a photo of each graduate appeared on screen and names were read. I feel that the extraordinary cost of said education is so great that parents deserve to sit among thousands of others in the scorching heat for three hours and watch the dean hand their children a diploma. It was not to be because of the damn COVID pandemic. I hope and pray that future graduates and their parents are not deprived of this momentous experience.

I prepared myself to hear ubiquitous ranting by ultra-liberal administrators, deans and selected students. Given what has taken place recently, I expected a full-fledged attack about how America is no longer as great as it was because of income inequality, too many affluent people, too many poor people, overzealous police activities, racism, nativism and support of Israel. I must apologize to the university, the administration and the students because this was not what took place.

The principal speaker, a CEO of one of the largest companies in the world, spoke about his career and the responsibility of all businesses to be diverse, fair with employees, concerned with the environment and to speak up against injustice when it arises anywhere in the world. I thought the presentation was appropriate, balanced and inspirational.

Speeches were also made by the President of the University and Dean of the College. Both were informative for the graduates and parents. Of course, they encouraged the graduates to “make something happen,” a common theme throughout the day. The quid pro quo for all this education should be a vow by graduates to strive for greatness in an area they are passionate about. Entrepreneurship and social consciousness were themes of all the presenters.

The student speakers were outstanding orators. One gave a lecture in Latin. Maybe two or three people knew what he was saying, but fortunately, subtitles were provided. The young man could have been addressing Julius Caesar and the Senators in Roman. I wondered how long it took him to memorize and hone his presentation.

The most eloquent speech was offered to us by a Shakespearean connoisseur who could, and probably has, played a major role in one or more of the Bard’s plays.

The event was noteworthy for what did not take place. There was very little bitterness and resentment. There was practically no bashing of one political group or another. Significant issues were gently and tastefully touched upon as one would expect in a bastion of liberal thought and achievement.

I award the graduation ceremony an A plus. I didn’t perspire or feel uncomfortable in the heat, but I thoroughly enjoyed the encouragement for the graduates to be great and make a real contribution to society.

The spirit and attitude of the speech-givers and the recipient students was a welcomed divergence from the destructive politicization of societal issues taking place every day in our nation’s capital and around the country. I hope that a number of graduates someday take the place of self-centered political hacks that today represent us in Congress and other parts of the government. My optimism has been restored to an extent.