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Warren Buffett's Bold Plan to Fix America's Inequality

Source: Flickr / Ethan Bloch.

When Warren Buffett of Berkshire Hathaway speaks, people actually do stop and listen.

According to recent CNN headlines, he said this: "I'd love to see minimum wage at $15 an hour."

So yes, when I see a smart guy say something interesting and controversial, I listen... or in this case, click and read the rest of the story.

The whole story
Here's what I found. The whole quote: "If you could have a minimum wage of $15 and it didn't hurt anything else, I would love it," he said. "But clearly that isn't the case."

As Buffett said, you can love something or want something personally, and it can still be bad economic policy. The same is true of company stocks, so you have to invest with your head, not your heart.

Buffett's solution
Buffett takes it a step further and offers what he believes to be a better economic solution for the working poor. His advice: Raise the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).

The EITC provides a tax credit -- and even a potential refund -- to those earning a low to moderate income. This would have less negative effects than the unknowns of raising the minimum wage, according to Buffett.

As usual, he pooh-poohs the so-called experts who try and estimate job losses due to a higher minimum wage, admitting, "it's very hard to quantify those losses."

A second opinion
This echoes an article by Christina Romer, former head of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, that was published in The New York Times. In the piece,"The Business of the Minimum Wage," she (like Buffett) argues that the EITC is a more proven and targeted approach for helping the working poor.

After running through differing ideas on how raising minimum wage is expected to hurt or help the working poor and/or the economy, she reveals the reason why most economists prefer the EITC over hiking the minimum wage. In her words, "It's precisely because the redistributive effects of a minimum wage are complicated that most economists prefer other ways to help low-income families."

Targeted and business friendly
The EITC is 100% targeted at those who are actually poor, while only about half the workers benefiting from a minimum wage increase would be in families earning less than $40,000 a year. Businesses can also benefit from the proposal, and employment rates should go up. This may displease some who only want to redistribute wealth, but rising employment rates and jobs help workers overcome poverty. According to Romer:

"By raising the reward for working, this tax credit also tends to increase the supply of labor... And a job may ultimately be the most valuable thing for a family struggling to escape poverty."

Like Buffett who realizes the realities of raising the minimum wage, Romer concludes the effects of the EITC are more predictable than the outcomes of a minimum wage hike. She states, "The economics of the minimum wage are complicated, and it's far from obvious what an increase would accomplish."

More of Buffett's wisdom
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Read/Post Comments (64) | Recommend This Article (25)

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  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2014, at 7:30 PM, TheRealKing wrote:

    If anyone was really serious about fixing income inequality, the first thing they would have to do is fix our tax system.

  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2014, at 8:35 PM, RedEyedDoc wrote:

    This idea will never see the light of day with the existing administration because it cannot be explained in 10 second sound bites.

  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2014, at 8:40 PM, Teranceofathens wrote:

    The idea probably has some merit, but I can't help but look at it as corporate welfare. Instead of the businesses paying their workers, the government pays them, which in turn is the rest of us paying to subsidize private business.

    So in practice, Costco pays their workers $15 an hour, and they don't get anything from the rest of us, because they can support themselves. On the other hand, Walmart pays their workers $8 an hour for the same work, and the rest of us pick up Walmart's slack.

  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2014, at 8:50 PM, merchantilist wrote:

    He should be speaking out again excess immigration and the failure to enforce immigration laws. These boost labor supply by supply and demand this hurts workers. Immigrants benefit and firms that get cheaper labor benefits. Still the welfare of workers should be a top concern.

  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2014, at 8:54 PM, skypilot2005 wrote:

    "By raising the reward for working, this tax credit also tends to increase the supply of labor... And a job may ultimately be the most valuable thing for a family struggling to escape poverty."


    The government needs to stop "messing with" the private sector.

    Here's an interesting read and example:

    "You can't fix stupid"

  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2014, at 9:05 PM, fitness wrote:

    While I am generally for anything that rewards working as opposed to giving freebies, how far do we go? Do they still get Welfare, Food Stamps, et al. Maybe an offset could be effected.

  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2014, at 9:19 PM, buffrat wrote:

    Raising the EIC ultimately results in greater expenditures from the treasury thus requiring additional funds (aka taxes) from those who actually pay taxes. Love how billionaires like Buffet always have grandiose ideas that in the end will not even be an inconvenience to a person like Buffet.

  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2014, at 9:24 PM, kenrmills wrote:

    The EIC is welfare. As such, it is theft.

    The secret to the economy is that government has neither the ability nor the authority to "manage" it. When they finally accept that, we will be more prosperous.

  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2014, at 9:27 PM, Disgustedman wrote:

    Wages have not risen, yet people expect those making min wage to find better jobs in this crap economy. Neither side has any good suggestions.

  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2014, at 9:27 PM, Freddyfreebe1 wrote:

    All this sounds good to hear but the fact being big business like walmart is paying less while people have to such up out tax dollar. This country as a big enough debt. How about big business support this with there tax dollar, but they don't want to hear that. They want labor to get a handout as long as they don't have to pay for it.

  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2014, at 9:39 PM, missflyer2007 wrote:

    So why does the solution have to be all or nothing. Why not raise the minimum wage to say 12:00 so that companies help in the problem and then raise the EIC a little bit so that the government helps in the problem.

  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2014, at 10:18 PM, Snoopy2012 wrote:

    I highly regard him for his talent when it comes to investment...otherwise he is an idiot.

  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2014, at 10:20 PM, d1s wrote:

    Sorry Costco does get millions in tax breaks, utilities discounts , reduced property costs ,

    that does effect every tax payer were a store is built.

  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2014, at 10:53 PM, brainchild wrote:

    I would like to see WarrenB? live on a system that he was not able to control. He can actually control some stocks to make them go up or down. Do you people really think that he is on your side of equality? Everyone would like to make more money! When companies have to pay there workers more then the price of there products go up. Would you pay your workers more than you make? This just is insane! People should be paid correctly for the job that they do. Women should be paid the same as a man doing the same job. You would not want a fast food worker making the same as a VP.

  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2014, at 11:15 PM, stever wrote:

    Old Uncle Warren likes to talk like everybody's grandpa and share his income equality speak to make the throngs like him.

    But watch his actions...he bought Heinz and laid off 1/3 of its corporate staff. It is all about profits with Buffett. The speeches don't align with his actions.

  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2014, at 11:23 PM, Richard233 wrote:

    Of course he like the EIC, its not paid for directly by businesses, its paid for by the taxpayers.

    All the EIC is a more feel good version of welfare.

    Want to really help Warren? How about you push

    for the elimination of the carried interest rules that

    allow the fund managers to treat their INCOME as

    if it was their own money they risked, and thus taxed at a lower rate?

    That would raise BILLIONS in revenue, but it would mean you and your buddies would be coughing up the money.

    Maybe instead of pledging that you will give money away after you kick the bucket, you could start helping people NOW.

    The reality is, you could give away $1 million every day for the rest of your life and your net worth would still likely be growing.

    Give away $1 million every hour and it will still

    last longer than you will.

  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2014, at 11:43 PM, JePonce wrote:

    How do you fix inequality, when individuals are unequal? You don't. As prices rise so does the gap between the equal and unequal.

    What ever happened to LBJ's Great Society. That was supposed to equalize the equal and the unequal.

    Since 1964, when he great society was implemented, Taxpayer have paid $70 trillion to equalize the unequal, and has not made a dent. In 1964, our poverty rate was 19%, and today, even with the cooked books, the poverty rate is 15%.

    By comparison, the Federal Government has spent only $13 trillion on National Defense.

    Since it is impossible to equalize the unequal, it is only a matter of time before we are bankrupt like Detroit, another Neo Marxist bankruptcy.

    Buffett could write a check and solve the problem. He has more money than God.

  • Report this Comment On March 15, 2014, at 11:51 PM, TommyPeligro wrote:

    If 0bama insists on artifically raising people's wages, he better do the SAME for the 58 million on SS retirement or it will leave them in the dust.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 12:07 AM, kca124cain wrote:

    There is plenty of income inequality, but these clowns don't see it. It is not the fact that unskilled workers make less than skilled.

    It is, when you find out that the idiot you work with makes more than you and management is too stupid to realize it. Or maybe the management was that idiot and now protects their own position by promoting within the idiot pool

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 2:15 AM, podgida wrote:

    EIC is worthless for people that actually have a job and don't have kids. I qualified for the EIC this year. It was going to cost me more to file the forms than what I was getting from the EIC. What kind of BS is that?

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 2:31 AM, canesfanatic wrote:

    The Govt can not do anything to solve the income gap in this country so lets start there. The best way to prosper is to end ALL WELFARE for capable people. End the notion of a progressive income tax. Stop taxing corporations. Fix the tax structure so that everyone pays the same % of items bought rather then taxing investing, savings and income and only tax consumption...The govt is not a charity. It can not take from one group of people (tax payers) and give to other people, welfare corporate and individual and be considered a good deed. Good deeds do not cause harm to other people in the name of others. what a joke. Warren Buffet has used the tax code to get rich. He buys estates that can not afford the death tax. Nothing worse then a political billionaire doing the bidding of the govt..especially a liberal progressive administration

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 2:39 AM, GRKRaj wrote:

    It is great Idea and should be implemented.

    In India daily wage male workers get Rs400 per day, per month Rs 9600 and per year he makes Rs1,15,200.

    Our Finance Minister the cunning of all , could tax them also. Look, a retired teacher gets paltry some as pension. If he saves in fixed deposit, Chidambaram charges Income tax on the depositor earns more than Rs 10000. He is such a third class finance minister, my wife can be better finance minister. If a pensioner does not earn income from such fixed deposits, where these poor people have to do. Go beg on the roadsides.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 3:57 AM, RMengineer wrote:

    buffrat - "Raising the EIC ultimately results in greater expenditures from the treasury thus requiring additional funds (aka taxes) from those who actually pay taxes. Love how billionaires like Buffet always have grandiose ideas that in the end will not even be an inconvenience to a person like Buffet."

    Yes, but the thing is, no matter how you slice it, the fact remains that giving someone more money than market rate is *charity*. The difference here being that if people are going to insist on giving people *charity* who didn't earn it by doing the work that earns it, then let's be honest about it. If the taxpayers are going to demand that such charity be given, then why should _they_ not be the one's who pay for it (taxes)?

    The thing is, people like you demand the charity be given them, but you expect _someone else_ to pay for that charity you demand be given them. But in the end, (a) it's those same people demanding that that charity be given that end up paying for that charity given as higher "minimum wages" anyway, (b) charity given in the form of "minimum wages" is far more economically distorting and dysfunctional that simply just given the charity in some more direct manner such as the EITC. As Buffet says, "minimum wages" are more complicated than the EITC - that is to say, creates more unanticipated and unpredictable negative economic outcomes than the EITC.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 7:56 AM, topstats wrote:

    This is what I was telling people years ago when the talk of stimulus was going on. The Dems don't give a d*** about really helping the poor especially the working poor (not that the republicans do either). They should have tripled the EITC, Atleast for 2-3 years then doubled it for the foreseeable future and then they could re-evaluate it after 5 years or so. They waisted all that money and it could have really really helped those at the lower end plus it would have really stimulated the economy. This is what happened when you keep electing the same stupid people to office for years and decades. They don't care about all of WE the people. They only care about keeping their jobs. The republicans don't want to help those of us at the low end and the Dems want to keep us here to try to get us to vote for there handouts they want to offer.

    Lets just look at the min wage if you raise it to 10.10 or whatever, look at what it will cost those at that low end with other assistance they might receive. They are low income so probably get some food stamps, that will be cut some because there income has went up. In the end it could be a net loss for those they claim they are raising it to help.

    The Dems should scrap the min wage debate and start talking about raising the EITC for the next several tax years but they wont because Dems just like Rep really don't care about helping the working poor get ahead and as great a country as we should be thats sad.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 8:03 AM, sixgun721 wrote:

    This article refers to the people who are allegedly victims of 'income inequality' as the 'working poor'. I pose this question for your objective analysis, how many of those 'working poor' can afford their daily pack of cigarettes, bottle of liquor, satellite dish, big screen TV, cell phone, fast food meals, big-gulp soft drinks, $200 air-jordans, etc? Personal income is the responsibility of the individual not of society or the government. People choose not to work on improving their position on the economic totem pole society and government do not dictate that position. How many examples can you cite of an individual who grew up poor but made good choices and worked hard to earn a good living? I know very few individuals with wealth who lack common sense and work ethic but I know many who expect handouts from the government.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 8:28 AM, doradohp wrote:

    I wonder if he would think the same way when told that the tax rate for capital gains is going up to 40% to pay for the EIC.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 9:19 AM, ThinkMn wrote:

    NO! Tax credits are another form of government subsidies. Companies need to pay a fair wage. Corporate profits are at a record high. That is were the money should come from not from EIC or food stamps. We are subsidizing the likes of Walmart and McDonalds with food stamps while they make record profits.

    Wages are an expense and do not effect staffing. Staffing is a function of meeting the customers needs. McDonalds cannot be open the same number of hours with less staff so regardless of wages their staffing will stay the same. If need be they will raise their prices by a 1% or so.

    More money in the economy in the hands of low wage workers ends up being spent on consumer goods. Thus increasing GDP and increasing staffing requirements - Ie. more jobs.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 9:31 AM, verycold wrote:

    The problem with raising a minimum wage is that all other wages must then be raised to keep the current hourly system in that organization. So this means that restaurant owner will be FORCED to raise not just the dishwasher's wage, but all other kitchen wages to keep that same wage structure. The WH and their academic advisers do not understand this since they have never started nor owned a business. They need to walk the walk before spouting off ideas.

    I can understand why Buffett wants to raise the earned income credit except for the fact that not only will those of use paying taxes be forced to pay more for this benefit, but every year the GAO says this benefit is ripe with fraud to the tune of billions. So lots of people claim earned income that are not qualified to do so. BTW, that can be a benefit of more than 5,000 currently which is not chump change.

    What is never understood by those academics is how much work gets done for cash which will just keep increasing. People that appear to not make much money on one job, are in fact working elsewhere for cash or bartering. I can give you lots of examples that I personally know about. The underground economy is big. That happens a lot when taxpayers feel the taxes they pay is unreasonable or the distrust for government and where the money goes is not supported.

    What we never ask is why are people poor? Is it their education? Is it decisions they make daily that ruin their lives? So would it be better to get the masses financial help to make better choices with the money they make, rather than assuming they are good money managers?

    BTW, many that currently want the minimum wage raised to 15/hr, have publicly said they would work less hours. They must in order to keep qualifying for government subsidies.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 9:37 AM, AllenElliott wrote:

    If Warren Buffett wants to equaliZe these people's wages let him do so out of his billions, rather then asking us tht is barely squeaking by. He just wants to stick us with more Taxes. This is just His propaganda.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 9:40 AM, csymonds wrote:

    Warren what do you mean your going to help the poor. You are the one who closes plants and moves them over sea's. You are a big part of the problem and a real poor choice for advice. People really don't know how corrupt you are when it comes to your deals. you buy in then you internally disrupt the business till you get control then you eliminate jobs and move part of the business over sea's. Two of your top men got caught for inside trading and selling you the stock. They didn't go to prison because you bought Obama to protect you. You got forgiveness on 2 billion in back taxes and given billions of dollars to keep business here and help the economy. Your buddy Obama preferred they go to foreign countries so he could destroy the economy and you were there to help him. Why don't you move to China were you like to move your businesses. If I had a billion of all your billions I could put 500,000 people to work in 6 months easy. there you go want to prove me wrong loan me a billion.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 9:40 AM, Ostrowsr wrote:

    It's already happening. States and companies are paying closer to the minimum wage inflated from the 1970s, which is between 10 and 15 dollars. These state and company "studies" are a great incubator for federal laws.

    But EITC also provides incentive. Optimized solution is probably a slow steady improvement of both. Now all we need is a congress that knows how to make logical decisions.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 9:50 AM, andrewdouglas wrote:

    Completely agree with Buffet. We could transfer the money, and even more, from bureaucratic government programs like food stamps, housing assistance, job training, and Obamacare. Let the working poor make economic decisions with their own money.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 10:02 AM, Jerry3566 wrote:

    Why is it, that every answer to this problem, some form of handing more tax money to people who have almost always put themselves into that position.

    Build barracks, install cots.

    Build a mess hall for every 10 barracks

    I dispensary for every 20 barracks

    1 school for every 50 barracks

    1 warehouse to issue surplus governmnet uniforms for every 1000 barracks.

    Give them no money of any kind

    Set the whole complex up in the middle of rural area.

    The crime rate will drop in large cities, the cost will be about 10 %

    The labor participation rate will start climbing immediately the income inequality will start to close immediately

    We are losing 307 businesses a day to bankruptcy and offshore, since the day that Obama took office.

    The Federal Register tells us that the number of the rich ceding their citizenship and leaving the USA is up 700% since 2009

    We are headed for the same place that Greece is in, if we continue to raise taxes and regulatory costs on business.

    There is a tipping point for the economy, Obama has managed to stave it off, with printing money.

    When the inflation rate starts to climb, it's over

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 10:05 AM, MusicCity1 wrote:

    Raise minimum wages to $10+ and the minimum qualifications will be B.A. degree in anything. So - all the high school diploma folks will be squeezed out.

    The solution is Out with Obama Regime controls and IN with American Private Sector growth. American Private sector is paying for 19% non-essential Federal Government staff as was proven by the Federal Government Shutdown strategy. Remember? Only non-essential Federal Employees were laid off. That amounted to 20% excess drain on American Economy. The 20% excess equates to over $150 Billion per year of waist. Yep. Cheers Minion Fools!

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 10:16 AM, memphismo wrote:

    There is no incentive to work with earned income tax credit. One way or other we are paying for it. Pay $15/hr.........?

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 10:43 AM, skeeterses wrote:

    Warren Buffet's idea of a "tax credit" gets awefully close to the heart of the matter that politicians on both sides don't want to talk about. And that matter happens to be state and federal payroll taxes. There's an entire generation of Baby Boomers that are desperate to get "their" Social Security, but young low income workers have to pay that tax and thus have part of their meager incomes diverted away from supporting themselves. What we need is means testing for senior citizens so that poor workers don't have to provide Social Security and Medicare for a wealthy senior citizen like Dick Cheney.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 10:43 AM, shawnmc1977 wrote:

    Way to many variables concerning simply raising the minimum wage. The obama administration doesn't look at the whole picture. They simply see, help the poor raise the minimum wage. It is to vague. Just like his healthcare, they didn't think it through nor did they, or do they know all the consequences. Small business's forced to raise wages, will either raise prices or get rid of enough employees to keep the same bottom line with the higher wages. Big business, corporate America, will simply do the same with less. Tax credits, many poor already pay little or no taxes. The only way to get taxes out of the poor, raise sales taxes. I think education and apprenticeships are the answer, not everyone can be a doctor, but a good plumber is hard to find. And when you do, he has drug addicts or drunks working for him with no skills.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 10:46 AM, shawnmc1977 wrote:

    A side note to higher minimum wages, it would help our elderly, those that have no pensions or savings and are forced to take low paying jobs in the service industry and such could use the extra money. We are on the brink of disaster economically, the middle class and rich will suffer when it happens, if it happens, I have faith in the American worker, but when or if it does, the poor won't know much difference.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 10:51 AM, shawnmc1977 wrote:

    Jerry3566 great post! We had the same thing years ago, it was called the YCC! Nebraska had county farms, families lived there, worked for wages, room and board.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 11:01 AM, Lvlbcs wrote:

    The rich keep getting richer. The middle class seems to be the one hurting and struggling to make sure the poor and the rich are good but what about the hard working hard working Americans??? All his companies are about profit! They could care less what happens to their employees. We need to focus on what is best overall. The funny thing is the hardworking employees are usually the ones that do not get recognized and get the short end of the stock :)

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 11:24 AM, eddabraham wrote:

    Government subsidies such as food stamps, health care vouchers, earned income credits, free school lunch, and so on already have people making more than $15 an hour. Tax the major winners for that subsidy, the Walmart and McDonalds out there.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 11:24 AM, downeysoca wrote:

    He's wanting to raise minimum wage so he can raise prices in his stores so he can raise him income even more, he's a bunch of BS, why not just give every legal American a million dollars!

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 12:56 PM, TommyJ76 wrote:

    Lord, please save us from the radical egalitarian notion of income equality -- particularly the type that requires the artificial rigging of the market and/or tax code. Such notions, if slithered into the real world, provide no incentive for anyone to improve neither his/her own condition nor the human condition. Such notions simply fill some with superficial and false "feel good" emotions when they are actually making matters worse.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 1:33 PM, honestyproject wrote:

    The banks have enough money set aside for future litigation to give each person in the 99% a one time grant for $100,000. Since deregulation was made law in 04, the banks have been assessed over $2 trillion in fines. In 08 Wells Fargo and Wachovia were caught in a "shadow banking transaction" with a Mexican drug cartel that generated $367 billion over an 18 month period. The 16 largest banks are currently being investigated for illegal Libor transactions. Suppose that these 16 banks have engaged in 2 transactions per day since 04, such as the transaction that Wells was caught in. 16 x $367 billion x 365 x 10. Do the math! None of these profits were taxed and none of the money has come back to main street. Why?

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 2:25 PM, 2smartforlibs wrote:

    Is there no end to the hypocrisy of people like Buffet and the elites on the left? If Buffet wants to pay $15 and hour he has the power and money to do it. So Warren ol buddy al little less bull and a lot more action

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 2:35 PM, VermontNative wrote:

    EITC versus minimum wage is an argument between more government spending or increasing corporate payroll expenses. Public or private money. I know that many commentators rant and rave about welfare programs and other commentators call those same programs corporate welfare because so many of their employees are eligible for public assistance programs. I hope no one is naïve enough to think that smart businesses don't know what the income levels are to qualify their employees for public assistance and gear some of their pay scales to make their employees eligible for public funds. How are we supposed to pay for expanded public assistance when we can't even come close to balancing our current budget. Long term business only hurts them selves when they pay a wage less than the cost of living. The vast majority of the economy is made up of personal spending. Even Walmart is starting to recognize that the severe income drop for their customers is hurting sales. The long term health of our economy is more dependent on the wages and income of all workers than it is by corporate profits. I wonder sometimes if all the MBAs squeezing the most profit they can from corporate sales were ever trained in economics.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 3:29 PM, vet212 wrote:

    Evan a Socialist Economist so far left that Nikolai Illych is a far Right winger should be able to recognize the problem, we have shed so much REAL production for the synthetics of the financial market that we no longer have anything upon which the value of our economy could reasonably be based. Industrial production might not have created the Middle Class but it most certainly enlarged and sustained it and made our country the wealthiest on Earth. So if you want to fix our broken economy bring back the manufacturing it It is the only thing that will fix what the politicians have broken so they have a growing pool of leftist voting people because they depend on those "Liberal" politicians for the needs of life

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 3:49 PM, VegasSmitty wrote:

    We need a 50 to 1 rule. No one can make more the 50 times the lowest paid employee. But since the CEO's own the politicians, it will never happen here.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 4:41 PM, roger142 wrote:

    Uh, there are 2 simple things we could do to solve our employment problems, and they do not require raising the minimum wage.

    First, deal with the illegal immigrant problem by going after the companies caught hiring them with stiff fines. Please note that illegal immigrants are not doing the jobs we don't want to do. They are allowing employers to artificially keep pay scales low so we moved on from those jobs. The problem is the illegals followed us.

    Second, do what it takes to bring decent manufacturing jobs back to America. This will involved getting rid of useless regulations and simplifying the tax code. Plus increasing tariffs on imported goods that NAFTA did away with would help. This will also mean Americans will have to get used to not having all the cheap stuff presently made in China available at low prices. Keep in mind that in 1960 a middle class house hold made around $100 a week, and a TV cost $500. With my plan electronics would go up in price, but they would be made here and that money would stay in our economy.

    I realize there are a few details to work out, but our problem presently is not a $7.25 an hr minimum wage, it is the lack of decent $15 an hour jobs and the lobbyist who like things the way they are.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 4:59 PM, popeye1250 wrote:

    We need to get OUT of all those "free trade" deals that *The American People never asked for!*

    Japan "backdoored" us by building car factories in Mexico!

    Japan was never a signatory to "NAFTA."

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 5:33 PM, kkrimmer wrote:

    The 1 Chart That Reveals Just How Grossly Unfair The U.S. Tax System Has Become-

    CEO-To-Worker Pay Ratio Ballooned 1,000 Percent Since 1950

    The ratio of CEO-to-worker pay has increased 1,000 percent since 1950, according to data from Bloomberg. Today Fortune 500 CEOs make 204 times regular workers on average, Bloomberg found. The ratio is up from 120-to-1 in 2000, 42-to-1 in 1980 and 20-to-1 in 1950. --

    Report: Firms spent more on CEO pay than taxes

    Twenty-five of the 100 largest U.S. corporations paid their chief executives more than they paid the government in federal income taxes last year, according to a report released Wednesday.

    The nonprofit Institute for Policy Studies says the 25 CEOs averaged $16.7 million in salary and other 2010 compensation. Most of the companies they ran, meanwhile, came out ahead at tax time, collecting tax refunds that averaged $304 million, according to its review of public filings.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 7:35 PM, Kiev500 wrote:

    EITC, like raising the min wage, will only affect those with jobs. In fact, EITC will only affect those whose income is high enough to require them to file a return. Many, many Americans either don't have jobs or don't have sufficient income to benifit from EITC. This is reality. ***Better solution: Burn Wall Street and it's sattelite operations down. Burn it to the ground. ***What Wall Street has done to America has caused more damage to the man on Main Street than any foreign enemy ever has. Wall Street constitutes a domestic threat to American citizens. This threat is what we MUST ADDRESS.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 7:46 PM, smilingdon wrote:

    And pay the EITC with what? The government is taxing everything to death and clipping or dropping benefits right and left! It "frosts my cookies" to hear that the government looks at SSI as an entitlement! We paid into that all over lives! The government has saved a bundle on those who died before being able to collect and they are still broke because of their idiotic spending sprees.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 7:56 PM, killtherich wrote:

    C'mon folks. How many more times do we need to have rich people fix the problems of poor people? That's an oxymoron, or an impossibility. Every time we get a rich person solution, the rich get richer and the poor taxpayer pays for it. Buffett's whole fortune was built on taking loans from the federal government and either delaying the payment of taxes for decades, or just not paying any at all, so other, poorer taxpayers, have to pick up the difference. So this little scam is just one more way to pass the cost of doing business off on the taxpayer, and since he pays few taxes, he gets richer.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 9:26 PM, ixnay wrote:

    All we have to do is get the price per gallon for fuel below $2.. and we will good to go.

    Nothing impacts more than the price of fuel. This is so simple it is head scratching to me why we don't do this.

    We already spent billions in subsidies in who knows what. Why don't we spend those billions to where it will make the biggest impact.

  • Report this Comment On March 16, 2014, at 9:29 PM, ixnay wrote:

    Just by the lowering the price of fuel, everyone gets a raise in a way.

  • Report this Comment On March 17, 2014, at 5:45 AM, shineridge wrote:

    "Income equality" is the pipedream of liberal FOOLS who have NO clue how real world economics works. There will ALWAYS be the filthy rich and the DIRT poor. That's just the way the world is, and it will never change. A $15/hour minimum wage is INSANE. The LAZY worker (there are millions and MILLIONS of them !!!) simply are not worth 15 bucks/hour. Some people are AMBITOUS go-getters, hard workers, while some people are lazy and do as little as they can without being fired. Also, Warren Buffet knows NOTHING about actually WORKING for a living. The guy is nothing but a glorified GAMBLER !!!!!

  • Report this Comment On March 17, 2014, at 11:59 AM, BenevolentDictat wrote:

    The mandating of min wage is an exercise in futility for the low skilled worker and a windfall for the owners of leveraged assets.

    Notice in our history how the min wage increase leads to the raising of the poverty line; cause, then effect. The low skilled worker makes no gain in purchasing power by forced min wage increase because all phases of production will have added labor costs and the low skilled worker is only able to buy 3200 Big Macs per year, before and after the mandate.

    Because of the min wage increase, there will be more dollars chasing my apartment home rentals, hence, I will raise the rent to balance the supply-demand curve. Because of a higher cash flow and the increase in replacement costs, this raises the value of my apartments and because the mortgage on the apartments has a value-to-equity ratio of 4, then my equity increases by a factor of 4 times more than an unleveraged appreciating asset. ND and its oil boom is a microcosm of this.

    The motive by the feds is to bribe the low skilled worker for their vote and to increase inflation to pay down the bonds, bills and notes with cheaper dollars that are held in your IRA, so they can create more debt to bribe the people again for their power.

  • Report this Comment On March 17, 2014, at 12:05 PM, BenevolentDictat wrote:

    Ixnay, Hugo Chavez did that for Venezuela and all it did was create moral hazard and cause the most competent of that society to leave. Read of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shugged as she warns of the flawed reasoning of the socialist. read of Aesop and his fable of the Ants and the Grasshoppers. Read of Cicero and the decline of Rome as it is the same.

  • Report this Comment On March 17, 2014, at 2:54 PM, BuffetIsTheMan wrote:

    Anyone on this comment board a billionaire?

    ...crickets chirping...

    I thought so.

    I think I'll stick with the man that knows his stuff.

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2014, at 7:46 PM, spintreebob wrote:

    EITC is seen onces a year. Paystub is seen every payday. Low income workers (and some middle income) see the gross; see the net and calculate whether it is worth it to work. Show both the employer's share and the workers share in the pay stub. They greatly reduce taxes on the low income worker. Then the worker has good information on which to make a decision. We are in the information age. The low income worker needs information. And just as any "independent contractor", the worker DOES pay all of the taxes. The employer just collects them for the government.

  • Report this Comment On March 21, 2014, at 11:57 PM, burrowsx wrote:

    The EITC is only usable by most taxpayers when they do their annual income tax. It is only available through employer tax credit when the employer agrees to compute it and add it to pay checks. For much of the working poor, this is simply unavailable. Buffett's appeal to the EITC shows that he thinks of the poor at income levels closer to the lower middle class. The EITC has simply become another complication in a tax code which ought to be written in ten thousand words, instead of then thousand pages.

    Buffett is wrong that the minimum wage increase is bad policy.

  • Report this Comment On March 25, 2014, at 6:55 PM, supergordo1967 wrote:

    I would have never dreamed that people would be paid to sit on their butt. The rest of nature dies when it sits on its butt, it is survival of the fittest. In the human part of nature some of us carry the load for the lazy ones, what a society. When everything else leaves the nest they are on their own, not the humans. Some day we will get it right.

  • Report this Comment On June 29, 2014, at 11:21 AM, sss123 wrote:

    The solution to breaking the Wealth Gap has already been found guys. I'm 100% serious about this.

    Take a look at Wealth Gap Breaker here: and go through the site and you will then be in the know of the solution to this problem. The government and tax cuts are not going to resolve this problem. It has to be the people whom do this for themselves!

    Be sure to tell everyone around you about this guys! (and ladies! :) ) cheers!

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Chris Brantley

Chris Brantley is a contributor at The Motley Fool specializing in sports-related businesses, the food and beverage industry, and whatever else piques his curiosity in the world of business and beyond.

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