To the Editor:
Re “A Minimum Tax for the Wealthy” (Op-Ed, Nov. 26):
While Warren E. Buffett makes a compelling moral case for higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans, both he and President Obama seem to ignore the fact that the “Buffett Rule” would have a negligible impact on the deficit. Without a plan to tackle entitlement and defense spending, taxing the rich is a political gimmick, not an economic strategy.
Washington, Nov. 27, 2012
To the Editor:
May I add a point to Warren E. Buffett’s sensible advice? In addition to its other social and economic benefits, a higher tax rate on the wealthy (as he defines them) increases the incentive for donation to worthy institutions and causes, while decreasing the temptation of conspicuous consumption.
New York, Nov. 26, 2012
Note from KBJ: Is Moss Roberts opposed to consumption in general or to conspicuous consumption in particular? If the former, then he should have omitted the adjective "conspicuous." If the latter, then he is motivated merely by envy, which, I hasten to remind him, is a deadly sin. Why should it matter whether people's consumption is open or hidden, conspicuous or discreet? Does it pain Roberts to see others doing better than he is? But why wouldn't it pain him to know that others are doing better than he is? Is ignorance bliss? I would maintain just the opposite: Conspicuous consumption is a good thing, not a bad thing, for it motivates people to work harder to secure what they see other people have. Egalitarians prefer equal misery to unequal prosperity. They hate the thought (or sight) that others have more than they do. Grow up, Mr Roberts. You're acting like a petulant child.