Former Chairman and CEO of American Express Responds to Warren Buffett’s Idea of ‘Coddled’

Harvey Golub, a former chairman and CEO of American Express, currently serves on the executive committee of the American Enterprise Institute.

Over the years, I have paid a significant portion of my income to the various federal, state and local jurisdictions in which I have lived, and I deeply resent that President Obama has decided that I don’t need all the money I’ve not paid in taxes over the years, or that I should leave less for my children and grandchildren and give more to him to spend as he thinks fit. I also resent that Warren Buffett and others who have created massive wealth for themselves think I’m “coddled” because they believe they should pay more in taxes. I certainly don’t feel “coddled” because these various governments have not imposed a higher income tax. After all, I did earn it.

Now that I’m 72 years old, I can look forward to paying a significant portion of my accumulated wealth in estate taxes to the federal government and, depending on the state I live in at the time, to that state government as well. Of my current income this year, I expect to pay 80%-90% in federal income taxes, state income taxes, Social Security and Medicare taxes, and federal and state estate taxes. Isn’t that enough?

Others could pay higher taxes if they choose. They could voluntarily write a check or they could advocate that their gifts to foundations should be made with after-tax dollars and not be deductible. They could also pay higher taxes if they were not allowed to set up foundations to avoid capital gains and estate taxes.

What gets me most upset is two other things about this argument: the unfair way taxes are collected, and the violation of the implicit social contract between me and my government that my taxes will be spent—effectively and efficiently—on purposes that support the general needs of the country. Before you call me greedy, make sure you operate fairly on both fronts.

……Before you ask for more tax money from me, raise the $2.2 trillion you already collect each year more fairly and spend it more wisely.

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As it is, we are being gouged by a government machine whose existence depends on devouring as much money as it can from the pockets of taxpayers.  Added to the mix is a socialist administration and Dem politicans who share a visceral hatred of free market capitalim.

We are at $14 trillion in debt with no sign of slowing down. It is unsustainable. The solution is to cut all the gawd-awful waste and pork that drags our economy into jobless depressions.

When politicians spend beyond our means, we pay the price.  Their first instinct is to tax their way out of it. Sooner or later the government will run out of enough taxpayers to feed the maws of its out of control spending habits. That goes for the Middle Class as well as the eeeeeevil rich.

What then?

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