POLITICAL observations & opinions

* Packer (New Yorker) quoting Warren Buffett: the rich have been lucky to live in America; th eleast they can do is help pay for what allowed them to become wealthy

Posted by Lew Weinstein on November 1, 2008

George Packer writes in the New Yorker …

  • Before leaving Joe the Plumber to history, recall something Obama said during the patient, respectful, detailed, candid five and a half minutes he gave the ungrateful and dishonest Ohioan (it comes at about the 4:05 mark of the YouTube video):
    • Obama: I do believe that for folks like me who have worked hard but also frankly been lucky
    • Joe: Yeah.
    • Obama: —I don’t mind paying just a little bit more than the waitress who I just met over there who—things are slow and she can barely make the rent.
  • the investor Warren Buffett—who’s since become an Obama supporter and adviser—said something similar in a comment about his fellow billionaires:
    • They have this idea that it’s “their money” and they deserve to keep every penny of it. 
    • What they don’t factor in is all the public investment that lets us live the way we do. 
    • Take me as an example. 
      • I happen to have a talent for allocating capital. But my ability to use that talent is completely dependent on the society I was born into. If I’d been born into a tribe of hunters, this talent of mine would be pretty worthless. I can’t run very fast. I’m not particularly strong. I’d probably end up as some wild animal’s dinner. 
      • But I was lucky enough to be born into a time and place where society values my talent, and gave me a good education to develop that talent, and set up the laws and the financial system to let me do what I love doing—and make a lot of money doing it. 
      • The least I can do is help pay for all that.
  • What this suggests isn’t socialism, but wisdom.

 

Read the entire article at … http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/georgepacker/2008/10/obama-and-luck.html

                


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