Tue Dec 4, 2012, 10:21 AM
wtmusic (39,150 posts)
Warren Buffett: the 1% of the 1%
What can you say about a multi-billionaire who
• has lived in the same house since 1958?
• advises that regarding financial markets one should bet that "the intelligent thing will eventually get done"?
• calls the tax rate for the uber-wealthy "an outrage", getting him labeled a "socialist" by FOX News?
• is donating 99% of his wealth to charity?
A portrait from the New Yorker.
Warren Buffett’s tastes haven’t changed much over the years. 'I like today what I liked fifty years ago,' he told me the other day. 'I like reading 10-Ks. I like playing bridge. I haven’t acquired a lot of new habits. I was happy when I was in my twenties, and I don’t see a reason to change things.' We were having lunch with Carol Loomis, one of his closest friends, who is the editor of 'Tap-Dancing to Work,' a new anthology of Fortune writings by and about Buffett. As if to illustrate his point, lunch was the same lunch he’s probably been eating since he was a kid: a hamburger and fries, followed by vanilla ice cream, 'strong on the chocolate syrup.' It isn’t just his tastes, though: as the new book shows, Buffett’s philosophy of investing has stayed remarkably consistent."
"You can see this at work in his campaign to get the rich to pay more in taxes. There’s certainly a moral dimension to it—he calls the fact that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary 'an outrage.' Yet his tone is less hectoring than utilitarian: we need more revenue to narrow the deficit, and having the wealthy pay more in taxes won’t hurt them or the economy. His decision to give away ninety-nine per cent of his wealth feels similarly rational. As he told me, what his wealth amounts to is a giant pile of 'claim checks' on the world’s resources, claim checks that are largely 'worthless' to him but potentially valuable to others."
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