In a joint statement today, Buffett, Soros and more than 20 other wealthy individuals asked Congress to lower the estate tax's per-person exemption to $2 million from $5.12 million and raise the top rate to more than 45 percent from 35 percent.
Obama has used Buffett's call for higher taxes on capital gains to promote the "Buffett rule," which would require a minimum tax rate for top earners.
Soros, 82, is chairman and founder of Soros Fund Management LLC. He is worth $21.6 billion, placing him at 24th on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He has donated more than $3 million to Democrats and has financed groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union.
In his FT article on Wednesday of last week, Mr. Hindery is as sharp as a baseball bat, bluntly pounding through dull ideas and leaving one hell of a mess behind him. He recites the facts as he sees them: real unemployment is high, wages are stagnant and so forth. And then he moves, like Custer to the Little Big Horn, onto the ground where meddlers cause disasters. In his simpleminded way, he imagines a world where results follow intentions, like marriage follows love. He sees no need for a prenup. No need for second guesses or arrieres pensees. It will work out. Why? Because he has thought it out thoroughly! He has used his large brain.
What is his solution to high unemployment and low wage growth? Government! No kidding:
The man is a deep thinker. Deeeep.
In the italics beneath his article we get his credentials. As might be anticipated he is 'chair' of one worthy group and 'co-chair' of another. On the board of numerous trusts, non-profits, and other organizations, he is a smooth operator. The man is a fast-talking zombie, in other words.
He was brought in briefly to run Global Crossing. When he took the job, the stock was $61. A month later, it was $25. Later, after Hindery was removed, the company went bankrupt. Hindery probably had no idea what was going on.
And then...what about the geniuses at the central banks? A report in the Wall Street Journal tells us that a small group of central bankers all went to MIT...all believe they can engineer and economy, almost as if it were a jet engine. Bernanke, Draghi at the ECB, King at the BoE, Fischer at the Israeli central bank - all are MIT men. Together, they and colleagues, have added $10 trillion to the world's monetary footings in the last 4 years. None has any experience with this sort of thing - it's never been done before. All admit that they really don't know what they're doing.
"There's a lot we just don't know," says former Fed man, Donald Kuhn.
And yet, they plunge on...forward...confident that the will figure it out as they go.
Hindery, Buffett, Soros, Bernanke...to say nothing of Nobel Prize winners Krugman and Stiglitz -- they're all such smart guys. What's wrong with them? Are they so good at getting their names in the paper...or making money ...or whatever it is that Mr. Hindery does...that they have no brainpower left for common sense?
Or, are their smarts the real source of the problem. They are capable of remembering, manipulating and connecting ideas...does this give them the confidence to want to manipulate the entire world and create a better one?
A strong man trusts brute force. A wily man thinks he will win by his cunning. A man with a silver tongue expects to seduce and persuade his listeners.
And the smart man? He thinks he can figure things out...and use his brain to create the kind of world he wants.
Why can't he? Because no matter how smart you are...the world is far more complex and far more nuanced that you will ever understand. Trying to control it always leads to disaster.
Bill Bonner is the President & Founder of Agora Inc, an international publisher of financial and special interest books and newsletters.