Warran Buffett and Jesus.

Warren Buffutt was asked, after the last housing crisis stock market meltdown, will this ever happen again?

“I can guarantee it,”  he replied.  “Greed is fun for a while. People can’t resist it…however far human beings have come, we haven’t grown up emotionally at all.”

Warren Buffett, as most readers know, is one of the world’s wealthiest people.  He lives a relatively modest life in Omaha.  He does not do much moralizing about money, he just waits until others make mistakes with their’s and takes advantage.

I’ve heard material in the Bible attributed to Jesus addresses the evils of too much money more than any other single topic, including sex.  Still, conservative people who read the Bible seem to skip over this topic mostly.

Progressive income taxes were not a topic in Biblical times.  Redistribution from rich to poor was to be accomplished through generosity.  Ronald Reagan seemed to believe it actually could be done voluntarily.

It seems to me higher taxes on the rich would have been something the Jesus character would have supported.  In fact, when the social gospel of the Catholic Church was more popular, that was a big part of it.

To me, Warren Buffett is one of our time’s best philosophers.  While, he is not at the forfront of income redistribution, he, like Jesus, communicates a time-tested message about the human mind.

That Jesus’ message about money is ignored mostly is, itself, part of the human mind’s ever present reach for greed.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/time-bomb-to-market-meltdown-ticks-louder-2013-01-18?link=home_carousel

 

 

 

Avatar of Jon Lindgren

About Jon Lindgren

I am a former President of the Red River Freethinkers in Fargo, ND, a retired NDSU economics professor and was Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. There is more about me at Wikipedia.com.
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46 Responses to Warran Buffett and Jesus.

  1. entech says:

    Interesting that neither Warren Buffet or Bill Gates are great fans of Jesus but they are two of the worlds greatest philanthropists.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      entech 12:40 A guy at a little airport in South Dakota told me he gave Warren Buffet a ride to a meeting when Buffett flew in there a few years ago. Buffett has a little business jet. The guy apologized for the 10 year old car he was driving. Buffett said, “Hey, it’s fine. I drive one older than this one myself.”

      • Stanta says:

        That car story makes me smile. How often do you think he moves without a bodyguard or security team?

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Stan 2:42 “The car story makes me smile. How often do you think he moves without a bodyguard or security team?”

          I heard the story from someone who was actually there, Madison, SD. It’s not like a Bible story.

          • Stanta says:

            I wonder how many more cars he has that aren’t 10 years old? You think he has only one car?

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Stan “I wonder how many more cars he has that aren’t 10 years old? You think he has only one car?”

            I’ve seen him interviewed several times and read about him stuff written by others. He has his own biz jet, used ones about $10 Million, new maybe $20 Million. But that’s about the only toy he has. He has just one house, the same one he has lived in since he started in the insurance company that he later used to become a billionaire, he has breakfast at McDonalds almost every morning, sausage egg McMuffin and coffee.

            He does not pay more taxes than he owes, probably lots of his tax issues go to court. All I’m saying is he understands and articulates the role of money in people’s heads. Do you know another billionaire who says we haven’t progressed in our ability to have and use money?

          • Stanta says:

            I do have to wonder, why does he bother to continue warehousing his money. Is it a game for him now? When is enough, enough just like the President says? Why wait until after he dies, he could do a whole lot of good giving away $43 billion now and saving $1 billion to live on for the rest of his life.

          • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

            Stanta 6:01 “Wait until he dies, he could do a whole lot of good giving away $43 billion now…”

            The was a news conference a couple of years back with Buffett and Bill Gates. Buffett announced he was giving his estate to the Gates foundation to give away. I don’t know about the timing. His children are not in the business.

          • Stanta says:

            “probably lots of his tax issues go to court” Yupp, trying to get out of paying more taxes.

  2. David Hanson says:

    Well that is correct because both conservatism and liberalism are fine in their ‘pure’ forms, but the problem that brings them both down is that people cheat…not everyone plays by the rules.

  3. buzz marick says:

    probably because neither buffet or gates are known for a propensity to rush to judgement

  4. Stanta says:

    And yet mr. Buffat isn’t afraid of using his money to manipulate the government to his advantage. Example the Keystone pipeline. Currently the whole ND oil boom is running on his railroads in his tankers. There seems to be one every 20 minutes running through St Cloud .

    And for someone who loves to pay taxes, his company has been fighting the IRS for something like 10 years trying to avoid just that. A wonderful example for us “little” people. Remind me, was he one of those lovely liberal corporations who paid out its 2013 dividends to escape the tax hikes?

    • Henry says:

      Santa: “Example the Keystone pipeline. Currently the whole ND oil boom is running on his railroads in his tankers. There seems to be one every 20 minutes running through St Cloud .”

      Great example. No one in the news or the political arenas are howling about this self-serving scenario. Quite simply, Buffet is a democrat. Same reason Jon was piling praise onto Buffet for taking advantage of people. He is a democrat. Automatic immunity.

      Buffet’s railroad recently has pulled rail service to a small ND town. The small town has an active elevator that frequently orders unit trains. The elevator for a few years has been forced to order their rail cars a full year in advance of when they think they need them. Now, Buffet’s railroad has said screw you, despite having an active branch line of short length easily maintainable. The elevator requested Buffet’s railroad if a nearby short line railroad could purchase the tracks. Buffet said nope. They are more interested in the lower salvage value of scrap steel than the larger worth of selling a functioning line. Can’t allow someone else to profit, even if it is at no loss to themselves. Buffet is a democrat.

      • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

        Henry 3:54 “Buffett is a democrat.”

        And do you think Democrats run their businesses to keep railroads in small towns when they could make more by selling the tracks as salvage? I’ve never heard that. Democrats run their businesses in the same way Republicans run theirs.

        Business is about taking advantage of opportunities that come along, sometimes taking advantage of another’s weakness. I’m just saying he reads the mass public and how money turns heads in the same way the Jesus character did.

      • Henry says:

        Jon: “And do you think Democrats run their businesses to keep railroads in small towns when they could make more by selling the tracks as salvage?”

        Jon, you have a false premise. The town regularly ordered in unit trains. The regular business was worth more than the salvage value.

        But to cap it all off, Buffet wouldn’t even sell to a willing buyer that could service the town.

        He’s losing money to make others miserable.

    • entech says:

      Buffett stated that he only paid 19% of his income for 2006 ($48.1 million) in total federal taxes (due to their being from dividends & capital gains), while his employees paid 33% of theirs, despite making much less money.[145] “How can this be fair?” Buffett asked, regarding how little he pays in taxes compared to his employees. “How can this be right?” He also added:

      “There’s class warfare, all right, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning.”[146][147]

      Buffett favors the inheritance tax, saying that repealing it would be like “choosing the 2020 Olympic team by picking the eldest sons of the gold-medal winners in the 2000 Olympics”.[148] In 2007, Buffett testified before the Senate and urged them to preserve the estate tax so as to avoid a plutocracy.
      Wikipedia

      • Stanta says:

        There is no law stating that you can’t give the government more money if you want to, but it seems that Mr. Buffatt never thought of that.

        I also agree he sounds pretty predatory, how many people has he destroyed when taking advantage of other peoples mistakes.

        President Obama has asked how much money does one man need? I wonder if he has asked that of Buffatt when they sat down to discuss political contributions over lunch?

        • entech says:

          As you and Henry and many others hate the Government and always moan about taxes why would you suggest that Buffet give more to the government that you always sat misuses everything anyway. Isn’t it better that he has sworn to give away most of his money and directs it where it would do most good.

          As a declared agnostic and has supported Obama he is an obvious choice for your hatred.

          • Stanta says:

            Checked out the inheritance deal, seems daddy invested a $90,000 inheritance from grandpa into a $70,000,000 net worth for Jr.

            What happens when the net worth of an individual is sunk into the factory building or business inventory of a family business? What happens when they need to sell the business in order to pay the taxes. I know! A smart business man like Warren Buffett comes in and takes advantage of their mistakes! This is where the inheritance tax hurts, small business, farmers,ranchers. Not the Warren Buffetts and the Donald Trumps, they and their kids have more money stashed away safely that they will never want.

          • Stanta says:

            When rich people complain that other people aren’t taxed enough but refuse to pay current legal taxes, I have to wonder what they will do in the future to avoid paying new taxes. The businesses he owns owe a LOT of back taxes which help right now. I wonder what type of loophes he is having placed in new tax legislation for his own benefit?

          • Henry says:

            Santa: “What happens when the net worth of an individual is sunk into the factory building or business inventory of a family business? What happens when they need to sell the business in order to pay the taxes. I know! A smart business man like Warren Buffett comes in and takes advantage of their mistakes!”

            Another exellent point. They make “mistakes”.

          • Henry says:

            The “mistakes” Buffet preys upon would be similar to Hillary in advocating businesses be additionally burdened, “I can’t be responsible for every undercapitalized entrepreneur in America.”

            The democrat mindset, cause the “mistake” or “undercapitalization” to happen, then take advantage (Jon said).

  5. Michael Ross says:

    Buffet knows the paper paradigm. When that collapses he will be wiped out. Jesus said:

    “But woe to you who are rich, for you are receiving your comfort in full. Woe to you who are well-fed now, for you shall be hungry. Woe to you who laugh now, for you shall mourn and weep. Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way.” (Luke 6:24-26)

    Those who have done well in the world’s financial system like Buffet have diffaculty seeing its demise. They wont see it until its too late.

    Meanwhile the they enjoy giving to various causes and getting their names up in lights, on foundations and buildings. Locally we see the name of Sanford going up all over town.
    But Jesus also said:
    “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. But when you give to the poor, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving will be in secret; and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. “(Matthew 6:2-4)
    Just as the Pharohs of Egypt, They are building monuments to themselves. To them it is eternal life, maybe the only eternal life they will know. “They have their reward in full.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Michael 2:58 “…getting their names up in lights, on foundations and buildings..”

      I’m not aware Buffet has his name in lights on on any buildings. He might, however. Certainly, he is not as ego crazied as the “Sanford” you talk about who seems to want to own everything in town.

  6. Ed says:

    Jon…you have me confused today. Easily done I know. But you write about Mr. Buffet thinking along the same lines as Jesus? I read your blog every now and then, mostly to keep up on the gay rights movement, but I didn’t think you even believe Jesus existed? Wasn’t he the equivalent to the tooth fairy or sugar monster or something? Why are you now quoting Jesus to advance your liberal views on taxation? Huh?

    Many of the wealthiest folks today are non-believers. They’re in your camp. Is it because their egos grew, like many famous athletes, who just got to be wiser and more important than everything or anyone else? You may find the final days of Steve Jobs of Apple interesting. Atheist to believer?

    I respect Buffet tremendously as a business person. In terms of him being a father, husband, friend? I have several friends would fare very well alongside him in those areas and in my definition of success, are far richer and more successful than he. It just depends on how one defines success……

    Buffet may be a great businessperson to take advantage of others’ misfortunes…..hardly makes him an expert in everything else. And certainly including the topic of fair taxation.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Ed 3:48 “Why are you now quoting Jesus…?”

      I think you will see I refer to Jesus as “attributed to the Biblical character Jesus” most of the time, although it’s cumbersome to do that each time I use the name, Jesus. This is because there seems evidence of one or more itinerate preachers named Jesus, but there is not evidence of one who performed super human miracles. These were added a while after he was dead.

      “I have several friends..far richer and more successful than he.”

      Warren Buffett is the third richest person in the world, $44 Billion. You could only have two friends richer than he, Bill Gates and the guy in Mexico.

  7. Ed says:

    PS….The Sanford family grace millions to a hospital in Sioux Falls. The hospital is aggressive in their marketing, using that money to grow, compete and deliver better healthcare to the territory it serves. Wow….how terrible those Sanford family must be…..

    • Henry says:

      Yeah, on my back and others. Health costs with Sanford in lieu of Meritcare has skyrocketed. They “code” the medical bills where the maximum out-of-pocket for the procedure is realized. (When two possible codes are available for a certain procedure, the one that makes the patient pay more is used). They get more money that way, as an insurance provider discount does not eat up the billing. Meritcare was very gracious in how they coded the procedures, and had a nice not-for-profit cost. I am tiring of Sanford for that reason. We were told “nothing would change.” I cried bullsh** right away.

  8. Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

    Off topic: One or more of our participants, here, have been involved to protests at our local clinic that does abortions. I’ve always been a supporter of the clinic. Today’s Fargo Forum reviewed the decades of controversy here in Fargo–included a little about what I did as Mayor:

    http://www.inforum.com/event/article/id/387096/group/News/

  9. .e says:

    The money that Denny Sanford gave to the organization which now bares his name is earmarked for research, specifically for juvenile diabetes if I recall correctly. Marketing comes out of operations.

  10. Ed says:

    Jon 4:06… We simply define success differently. I know nobody who has Buffet’s financial wealth, but many who are more successful in terms of how they lived life and influenced others.

    e. 5:14……. Sanford gave $400 million and the gift is much more far reaching than research into one area. It included building new children’s clinics as well and the gift enabled the hospital to do many things they otherwise would not have had capital for….. It was extremely generous and only a jealous fool would criticize this.

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Ed 12:43 “many who are more successful in term of how they lived life and influenced others.”

      That may well be. However, I don’t think Buffett’s personal life has been touched by anything we could call scandal–the same wife for decades until she died–not a careless person in his personal life (that I know of).

      • Stanta says:

        Does make me wonder when he marries his wife’s personal assistant, many years his junior after the first wife’s death.

        • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

          Stan 11:20 I guess what happens in Omaha, stays in Omaha.

        • entech says:

          Buffett married Susan Buffett (née Thompson) in 1952. They had three children, Susie, Howard and Peter. The couple began living separately in 1977, although they remained married until her death in July 2004. Their daughter, Susie, lives in Omaha and does charitable work through the Susan A. Buffett Foundation and is a national board member of Girls, Inc. In 2006, on his seventy-sixth birthday,Warren married his longtime companion, Astrid Menks, who was then 60 years old. She had lived with him since his wife’s departure to San Francisco in 1977. It was Susan Buffett who arranged for the two to meet before she left Omaha to pursue her singing career. All three were close and Christmas cards to friends were signed “Warren, Susie and Astrid”.
          Wikipedia.

          Your attempt to besmirch the man shows an amazing lack of Christian charity!
          Obviously not the life you would advocate but certainly with no pain inflicted and totally accepted by all involved.

          • Stanta says:

            So, it was an open marriage, how comforting, I bet that they were chaste for what, 27 years?

            What you expect Christians to tolerate is amusing.

          • entech says:

            No expectations at all, you all demonstrate that Christianity is the most intolerant religion except Islam.

  11. Michael Ross says:

    Buffet: “It is not a good thing to have it going up in relation to GDP. That should be stabilized. But the debt itself is not a problem.”

    Oh really?

    A debt of 16 trillion dollars “is not a problem”?

    • Avatar of Jon Lindgren Jon Lindgren says:

      Michael 4:23 “A debt of 18 trillion dollars is ‘not a problem’”.

      As you probably know, that statement of Buffett’s reflects an “ability to pay back” theory. It’s the same reasoning a bank uses when it makes a judgement as to whether or not you or I can pay back the loan we’ve applied for.

      Both Republicans and Democrats use the “ability to pay back” theory when they are seen as responsible for the debt. When the other party is seen as responsible, they use the giant total number, as you just did.

      By the “ability to pay back theory”, the country’s debt situation has been improving, not getting worse. We all know, however, even people with great credit ratings have things happen and they cannot pay off their debts. So, the government debt could suffer from some unforseen problem and prove to be difficult. Less debt would be better than more debt.

      But, by the standards normally applied, Buffett’s statement is fine.

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