The advantage of being Warren Buffet

The recent news that Warren Buffet is giving away the bulk of his fortune to charity is good news to me, as I greatly prefer private charity to government spending of taxes. That’s true for me even if Mr. Buffet were to use his philanthropy to support causes that I might not agree with.

But there is an irony here. Mr. Buffet is a vocal supporter of the inheritance tax (or estate tax or death tax). By giving away much of his wealth, he escapes paying the tax he wants others to pay. Mr. Buffet is wealthy enough that he can give away a lot, but he stills retain great wealth for supporting himself in his declining years and providing very well for his children.

Most people who have enough wealth to be subject to inheritance taxes don’t have enough wealth to do what Mr. Buffet has done. Instead, they must be content with the government spending much of their estate after they die.

If Mr. Buffet really thinks inheritance taxes are good, he should keep his wealth and let the government tax it when he dies, just like most others have to do. Alternatively, if he wishes to enjoy seeing how his wealth is spent while he is still living, he could pre-pay his inheritance tax and watch our government at work.


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