CNN reports that Berkshire Hathaway, the Nebraska-based
holding company chaired by Buffett, took a big chance on Dollar General (DG, Fortune 500) in the
second quarter. I say, in a fledgling economy, this man knows most Americans’
budgets are being limited to finding the best bargains possible, especially DG specialty items like one-ply toilet paper that doubles as sandpaper.
A dim-witted person might poke fun at the world’s third wealthiest person investing several lifetimes of a blue collar worker’s earnings into the cheap retail chain, but I can’t think of a good joke right now, plus Warren Buffett is actually a pretty good guy.
In a New York Times opinion piece today, Buffett opined his long-held belief that the very rich don't pay enough in taxes. He wrote, “My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It's time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice."
Buffet was referencing the fact that last year his federal tax bill was only $6,938,744, which worked out to around 17% of his taxable income.
“A lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in
[his] office. Their tax burdens ranged from 33 percent to 41 percent and
averaged 36 percent," he said.
Buffett's lower tax rate is due to his income coming mostly from investments, which are taxed at a much lower percentage than wages.
Despite an income that would be enviable by even the wealthiest tycoons and moguls (and probably Oprah), Buffett is a working man at heart, as well as a philanthropist. Buffett got his start making money as a child by selling chewing gum and Coca-Cola door-to-door. In 2006, he made the largest charitable donation in history and gave 83% of his fortune to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. He is also one of the leaders of philanthrocapitalism, which involves taking venture capital ideas and applying them to achieving philanthropic goals.
Even if the rest of us have no money, it is nice to know that one of the wealthiest people in the world does in fact know the value of a dollar. Or maybe he just feels bad for the rest of us that have to shop at Dollar General.