I Love Warren Buffett
I know that I mentioned in passing that Lubbock had a former boyfriend that I like to call The Custard King and that The Custard King and Lubbock and I went to brunch together with his nephew at Trudy’s two or three weekends ago. The Custard King is a nice guy, a big drinker, and a man who spends many of his days golfing while his underlings manage his custard empire from afar. Mostly, The Custard King is funny, quick with the quip, and verbally adept. And he bought me brunch. He’s okay by me.
The nephew was a good, tee-totaling Midwestern kid with freckles and red hair. He looks like Richie Cunningham. Actually, he’s not a kid, at all. He’s in graduate school. But like all people of a “certain age,” as I find myself approaching forty I think all adults in their twenties are “kids.” And then I find myself examining this supposition and remembering how condescending I thought that was “when I was their age.” I am a walking cliché. And a bad one at that.
Anyway, when we were just thinking about maybe going to Trudy’s, Lubbock made the serious mistake of leaving me alone with The Custard King while she went to shower and get ready to go out. This was a serious mistake because I have this tendency that I know I’ve previously mentioned to open mouth and insert foot. I can unintentionally insult someone faster than you can say backhanded compliment.
The Custard King told me what he owns to make a living, and we discussed butter fat content and stuff like that. Then he turned somehow to the subject of philanthropy. I think this is probably because I said something that indicated my aversion to extreme wealth. It’s been a while now, but I think that it was probably something just a little more tactful than actually telling him that his chances of going to heaven were something along the lines of a camel actually passing through the eye of a needle.
He mentioned the recent news events of Warren Buffett and Bill Gates pledging half their wealth to charity, prior to their deaths. He also mentioned that they convinced 38 other billionaires to do the same. And while I find this commendable, I mentioned to The Custard King that I wasn’t so sure that the wealth that these men had been blessed with had been earned in an entirely ethical manner.
I told The Custard King that once, many years ago, when I was looking for employment I was lured to a fake job interview cattle call. The “job” was a commission only sales job for some high-end vacuum cleaner manufacturer. It was a scam of Scammy McScammerson proportions, just this side of multi-level marketing. You lugged around a $2,000 vacuum cleaner in your car, giving home demonstrations to lonely and gullible senior citizens that you then conned into buying an expensive vacuum cleaner that they couldn’t afford. I told him that the interviewer mentioned constantly in the interview that the company was a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway.
What I would really love is for men like Buffett and Gates to examine what they did to earn their money. Look at what they are paying their rank and file workers as opposed to what they are paying their MBA toting executives with their seafront mansions. Instead of just providing a handout to the impoverished, how about providing a decent, living wage to all and giving everyone a sense of contribution and accomplishment as opposed to the shame that comes from having to accept charity?
Actually, I’d like to see those men do both: give to charity and ensure that they are paying their workers fairly and treating them with respect. Also, I hope the charities that they devote their money to are actually concerned with helping the less fortunate and not just perpetuating the names of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett into eternity by naming buildings at some elitist universities after them.
However, I do have to give credit where credit is due. Warren Buffett has finally blown the lid off the Trickle Down Theory. I don’t think anyone would accuse Warren Buffett of being a bleeding heart liberal. He’s a fiscal conservative. He’s probably the most well respected financial mind of our time. And I would guess that he votes Republican and probably has for decades. But the other day Buffett finally let the cat out of the bag.
He admitted that the super wealthy were not being taxed what they should owe. And he admitted something else: the Trickle Down Theory is aptly named only if you are referring to diarrhea and not money. Creating more wealth for the wealthy DOES NOT automatically create more wealth for the middle class or the working poor. And finally, someone at the top of the pyramid has admitted what the people at the bottom of the pile have known since way before anyone thought up the term of Reaganomics. Ladies and gentlemen, I think the camel is on a severe diet. Let’s applaud honesty and generosity where we find it.
Entry filed under: Current Events, Economy, Ethics, Human Rights, Money and Finances. Tags: Berkshire Hathaway, Bill Gates, Reaganomics, Richie Cunningham, Tax, Upper middle class, Warren Buffett, Wealth.