Warren Buffett: Billionaire “Too Big to Fail”

Good for Christopher Chantrill, who is : writing for American Thinker:  and ripping the shoulder off Warren Buffett’s Superman cape.: It’s : about time America realizes that Buffett is still a billionaire because of all of us, not because he is such a financial whiz.

Berkshire Hathaway offices - Omaha, Nebraska

Chantrill:  calls the Oracle of Omaha, whom we are all supposed to adore for his Berkshire Hathaway, Cherry-Coking, deals-on-a-handshake, a modern day “robber baron.”

: : Did you know that Warren Buffett owns six life insurance companies? Did you know he supports the estate tax? You do now.

Warren Buffett isn’t just noted as an owner of life insurance companies and a supporter of the estate tax. He’s also noted as a buyer of family businesses. As Dick Patten shows, these two business strategies support each other.A family business owner or farmer takes out a large life insurance policy which he sinks tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars into each year. When he finally passes away, the life insurance pays out his policy to his family–tax free…: : : 

Even as Mr. Buffett’s insurance companies are “protecting” family businesses from the IRS, he is buying companies that are forced to sell themselves to pay the death tax. Mr. Buffett’s ability to buy family businesses at bargain basement prices depends on families being desperate to sell-and nothing produces family businesses desperate to sell quickly like a 55% bill from the IRS on all of the businesses’ assets.: : Estate taxes must be paid to the U.S. Treasury within a year of the testator’s death. In cash.”: 

I am from Omaha, bought some shares of Berkshire Hathaway A back when,:  and I am glad I did because the investment grew.:  But I was : relieved to have sold all of : it, presciently on my part, in the spring of 2008.: :  Reading Chantrill’s article about the estate tax takes:  the rosy-tinted blush off my memory of his purchases of the family-owned Nebraska Furniture Mart and Borsheim’s Jewelry companies in Omaha.: 

Warren Buffett is a hypocrite about the derivatives trading business, and about Goldman Sachs, and especially about the estate tax.It goes on.Reuters’ Rolfe Winkler:

: : A good chunk of [Warren Buffett’s] fortune is dependent on taxpayer largess. Were it not for government bailouts, for which Buffett lobbied hard, many of his company’s stock holdings would have been wiped out.: : 

Berkshire Hathaway, in which Buffett owns 27 percent, according to a recent proxy filing, has more than $26 billion invested in eight financial companies that have received bailout money. The TARP at one point had nearly $100 billion invested in these companies and, according to new data released by Thomson Reuters, FDIC backs more than $130 billion of their debt.
: He even traded the bailout, seeking morally hazardous profits in preferred stock and warrants of Goldman and GE because he had “confidence in Congress to do the right thing” — to rescue shareholders in too-big-to-fail financials from the losses that were rightfully theirs to absorb.

And what of Moody’s, the credit-rating agency that enabled lending excesses Buffett criticizes, and in which he’s held a major stake for years? Recently Berkshire cut its stake to 16 percent from 20 percent. Publicly, however, the Oracle of Omaha has been silent.

: This is remarkably incongruous for the world’s most famous financial straight-shooter.

Buffett seems to have “gone Hollywood” in recent years.:  Much was made of the fact that he was to be incoming governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s “financial” advisor, but nothing:  came of it other than a photo op.:  The “governator” is an epic financial fail.: 

Buffett has self-promoted his “penny-pincher” image, and used to joke about how, with his chubby figure, he didn’t see any need to spend a lot of money on clothes.: :  Yet, I know for a fact Warren Buffett broke a hometown: clothier’s : heart when he suddenly and very publicly decided he: needed : fancy, custom-made suits from a Chinese designer.: : : 

: “I now have nine suits all made in China. I threw away the rest of my suits,” Mr. Buffett says.”

Buffett’s clothes are a small point, perhaps, but not to the Omaha tailor who had to read in the Wall Street Journal that after decades of clothing the billionaire, his suits were “suitable” only for Warren’s dumpster.: : 

Buffett’s : counter-capitalism Keynesian coziness with Barack Obama is creepy.:  But post-bailout, now we know what that was all about, don’t we?: : 

I suggest this for Warren Buffett’s epitaph:

: “His profits were private matters, but his debts were socialized for all of us to bear.”: 

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