Meet Our New Noble, Baron Buffett
1/7/2013 12:01:00 AM - Mark Baisley
Suffering the consequences of hypocrisy is usually reserved for public figures on the political right. The mere rumors of infidelity dissolved Herman Cain’s presidential nomination viability. It is easy to recall famous conservatives who have fallen from grace for not living up to a personal standard. But it is harder to remember the name of a disgraced liberal. The impeachment of Bill Clinton over a substantiated sexual affair seemed to take no more of a toll on his political capital than if he were a French prime minister.
Hypocrisy is simply a matter of common human imperfection. Most of us who pursue a high-minded standard inevitably do fall short. But within the intrinsic position of liberal is a rejection of traditional standards of behavior. So public figures on the left are less likely to agree to being held accountable to some high watermark. Easy.
But it seems that in light of recent election successes, the liberal elite has emerged with a new ennobling status free from the obligations that they themselves have imposed on the masses. Now, I am not talking about the left-wing rank and file. That growing segment of the American electorate has voluntarily exchanged civil freedom for civic security.
But there emerges a new nobility, a special caste of liberal who holds status as an elected official, Hollywood superstar or business tycoon. Examples include conflicted American characters such as Warren Buffett, Rosie O’Donnell, and Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin.
Nebraska’s lovable and quirky billionaire Warren Buffett is known for having an unquestionable knack for effective investing. In both of the past two elections, Buffett strongly supported Barack Obama for President. He even supplied Obama with the silly campaign issue known as the “Buffett Rule.” Warren Buffett could have readily subjected his own personal compensation to the higher withholding tax rates by simply paying himself a salary rather than recognizing his income as capital gains. But so far, Mr. Buffett continues to maintain a personal tax rate that is about half that of his famously salaried secretary.
But what really qualifies Mr. Buffett for membership in the new bourgeoisie are his fight to avoid paying the one billion dollars in taxes that he owes and his influence on President Obama to put a stop to the development of the Keystone oil pipeline project. One would think that a businessman like Buffett would welcome the tens of thousands of new jobs that Keystone would have generated in the U.S. However, a Keystone pipeline would potentially have cost Buffett’s company over $2 million per day in lost revenue by competing with his existing rail transportation of oil.
Rosie O’Donnell joins Warren Buffett in the new bourgeoisie club with her position on personal gun ownership. During a broadcast of her talk show, O’Donnell announced her position on the matter, "You are not allowed to own a gun, and if you do own a gun, I think you should go to prison." One year later, O’Donnell found herself having to defend the public news that her bodyguard had applied for a concealed weapons permit at the Greenwich, Connecticut Police Department. “[My bodyguard] has the right as a person who’s residing in Connecticut a lot of the time due to his work with me to request to carry a gun. … He’s an individual and he works for a security firm,” O’Donnell told Today host Katie Couric.
But Rosie doesn’t hold a candle to R.C. Soles, a Democratic State Senator whom the National Association for Gun Rights called, “one of the most outspoken anti-gun legislators in North Carolina.” In many states, defending one’s home from an intruder with a firearm is a legally acceptable response. Evidently, this is not the environment that Senator Soles has worked to establish in North Carolina. Soles shot 22-year-old Kyle Blackburn in the leg, claiming that he was acting in self-defense after Blackburn and another man tried to kick in the door of his home. Senator Soles has been indicted on a felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious bodily injury.
Eduardo Saverin is one of the founding principles of Facebook and is estimated to be receiving over three billion dollars from the company’s initial public offering. While Saverin, a 4% original owner, has not played the same high profile role in supporting Barack Obama’s elections as his Harvard classmates, it is generally assumed that he is cut from the same idealistic cloth. But Saverin has had a change of heart about coughing up capital gains on $3 Billion. So much so that he decided to denounce his U.S. citizenship and vanish John Galt style to Singapore. This clever accounting move not only saves Saverin tens of millions in taxes, it also jiggles the handle of Democratic senators who really want that money. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is threatening pursuit and banishment, stating “We aren't going to let him get away with it."
The emergence of the new bourgeoisie is the natural response from the segment of well-to-do liberals who have sponsored the imposition of a new code for commoners. While these folks may appear to be hypocrites, it was never their intent that they should be subjected to the same personal limitations appointed to the common caste. Remember that the same Joe Biden whom President Obama just assigned to develop gun control proposals said of fellow candidate Obama in 2008, “I guaranty ya, Barack Obama ain’t takin’ my shotgun!”