About a decade ago, I was in a wedding party for my brother and we were dining at the Grand Finale in Glendale when he gave me my gift for being in the wedding party. It was a book by Warren Buffett, a man my brother greatly admired, so while the conversation of the evening drifted from tales of marriage and hardship, I read the book at the table.
My thoughts about Buffett were that he was “lucky” to have become rich as an investor. Like many of his type, he became wealthy not by creating, but by a manner of deception, playing on the behavior patterns of the timid and foolish. This isn’t illegal and is a natural part of capitalism, where predators take advantage of those not as ruthless, cunning, or even greedy. The threat of these predators encourages the very good to become better in order to compete, and this is where ideas are born.
But people like Warren Buffett and George Soros did not gain wisdom from the creation of something new. They gained wisdom by dealing with fools and this is the net result of books like what Buffett has put out, and Soros. They gained their wealth by being bottom feeders. They did not earn their wealth the valid way, like a Bill Gates, by creating something from nothing. They simply capitalized on the mistakes of others in a quest for wealth pursuits. So if the goal is simply to “get rich” no matter the method, then the works of these types of “investors” is commendable.
Their wealth however does not make them experts in all things involved in money and value however. Buffett and Soros are not experts on the art of living, and advice from them must be taken in context. If one wishes to become rich by climbing over the backs of others with a sense of ruthlessness and cold-hearted rancor, then their advice should help the hungry investor. But if an advice seeker wishes to know more about the complexities of existence, then these characters will leave that seeker very hungry for more, because they do not understand themselves the nature of society.
When Buffett says that more taxes are needed, he is making the statement of a progressive, not a traditional American. So it is only natural that Buffett would want to continue to fund the social programs created by his fellow “progressives.” The feeding of taxes with the money of the people in American society is a reckless enterprise that if the goal of that society is to have a smaller government that is less intrusive, then of course fewer taxes will be needed to maintain that infrastructure.
If the goal however is to have a larger government well then of course more taxes are needed, so when Buffett and Obama speak about raising taxes, and that people of wealth like them are willing to pay, it must be considered what kind of men they truly are. They value money based exclusively on the merit of the dollar value in relation to other things. These progressive types mistakenly believe that their money has equal value to those who actually create something, and this is the reason they tend to dislike actual producers, like oil tycoons, and “big business” owners. They exhibit a jealousy toward their fellow wealth peers hoping that they can be seen as “equal” to those producers because deep in their hearts they know that their wealth was created by a measure of looting, where they took advantage of someone not quite smart enough to hang on to their money, and not by the benefit of invention.
This is why these types of people do not understand the value of what they are asking. Buffett might understand the value of stock prices, but he does not understand the value of the merit behind the company which holds the stock. He understands the nature of speculating the behavior of ownership and the way the public will perceive the actions of a company, but he does not understand the value of creation, obviously, otherwise he wouldn’t say such naïve concepts as blindly tossing tax money into the tax monster that is government.
Much of the corruption in government is due to the money that flows in it. The reason politicians will do anything, say whatever, and make any promise to get into public office is because they want to be in control of the money that comes to them in the form of taxes. Public union’s exist for one reason, and that is to gain control of the money which comes to the public worker. It is money which corrupts government and it is money that ruins the attempts of any country to maintain a reasonable, trustworthy republic. So when a progressive makes the statement that they support higher taxes, what they really are saying is that they wish to maintain the structure of corruption from which they have enriched themselves. For people like Warren Buffett, this is perfectly acceptable. But for people who want to see government become more trustworthy and for politicians to become more representative, cutting the amount of money that is tossed into that black hole of government consumption will make public office much less attractive to the thieves and miscreants who are currently attracted to public office.
To improve the quality of government, society must take away the incentive of those bottom feeders to migrate into public service, and the only way to do that is to take away the waste from which they flock to.
I closed the book at The Grand Finale and kept my opinion about Buffett to myself because the men at our table were all gushing over themselves regarding the achievements of Warren Buffett. The nature of Buffett and those like him are elusive to their minds, because in society, we are trained that the value of something is contained within a fixed dollar amount. So we are trained to believe that Buffett’s wealth gives him immediate value as a person of the mind, after all, he was smart enough to amass massive amounts of wealth, so he must know something important, and the men at my diner table were hungry to unveil that knowledge so that they too might achieve some measure of success, and take care of their own families with some wealth of their own.
As I sipped the remaining contents of my wine that night I knew that the real genius is not in the indulgence of a fool and the advantage taken from them, but it is in the restraint. For the way to truly build society is not always to indulge and roll about like pigs in a mud pit, but to refrain from the impulse to indulge with an eye on the greater good, even when that good appears to be bad to the pig wishing to roll in the urine and feces of it’s own kind to accumulate merit earned by decadence.