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Remember "No New Taxes"? Invisible Hand vs. Clenched Fist

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Warren Buffett Shelters from Hurricane Obama

by Christopher Chantrill
August 31, 2011 at 2:04 pm


THE HYPE over Hurricane Irene may have been overdone, but those few obedient souls that followed orders and sought shelter from the storm may have got a shock. For down there hunkering down from Hurricane Obama is none other than investor Warren Buffett, the Sage of Omaha.

Radio host Hugh Hewitt is the go-to guy on Hurricane Obama.

"President Obama’s economic policies are to the private sector as Irene is to the East Coast, a vast swirling destructive force,” [Hewitt says]. “Small businesses are fleeing the path of Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, the NLRB, the EPA, the prospect of much higher taxes.”

Prudent people are responding to Hurricane Obama by battening down the hatches, and the poster boy for Hurricane Obama is none other than Democrat Warren Buffett. Buffett is no fool. He has $270 billion in equity at Berkshire Hathaway to protect, and when the thugs from the NLRB come calling at Boeing and telling the aircraft maker: “nice little business you got there; pity if anything should happen to it,” he can read the writing on the wall. One day, the Chicago gang might come calling at his business.

Remember when old Sam Walton penned a Bush-friendly op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, then invested a few billion to rescue bankrupt Enron, then hosted a Bush fundraiser, all the time getting calls from the president on economic policy? You don’t remember that? Of course not. Neither Sam Walton or the Bushies would have dared to mount such an obvious staging of crony capitalism.

Not that they would ever have thought about doing such a thing.

Why, if old Sam had done that, the entire media-culture establishment, from The Nation to the most inconsequential Hollywood scriptwriter would have exploded in outrage. Corporate Greed! Bush and his cronies! Republicans in the pockets of Big Business! The “news analysis” pieces above the fold in The New York Times would have run for months.

But when savvy old Warren Buffett writes an op-ed backing up the president on taxing millionaires and billionaires, nobody turns a hair. When Warren Buffett helpfully shores up the capital at Bank of America with a cool $5 billion in preferred shares, helping to pull the administration’s chestnuts out of the fire, it’s no big deal. And hey, agreeing to host a fundraiser for the president is an offer that nobody could refuse.

Warren Buffett has his billions to protect. But the rest of us looking for shelter from Hurricane Obama keep wondering: do these people really not get it? Do they not understand how their taxes, their regulations, their subsidies, their bullyings, their ObamaCares are wrecking the economy?

The answer is: they don’t. Our liberal friends don’t look out at the economy and marvel how it was possible that in two hundred years the average westerner went from a subsistence life in a squalid farm laborer’s cottage to a comfortable suburban life with cars, air conditioning, and fluffy pillows. They don’t ask that kind of question at all. Instead they tell each other something different.

But for us, the progressives say, the little people would still live in squalor while greedy businessmen made billions and lived like kings. We ended child labor. We created the eight-hour day. We invented the weekend. Our “common school” created universal literacy. We invented Social Security and Medicare. We ended the patriarchy. But for all that we’d be back in the economic dark ages.

Nice little social program you got there, liberals. Sure would be a shame if a hurricane hit it.

We conservatives thought that the economic question had been resolved in our favor back in the 1980s when President Reagan led the economy back from Keynesian stagflation to a 20-year boom. We were wrong. Maybe Bill Clinton got the message. But Barack Obama, deep in the liberal enclave of Hyde Park, didn’t. Maybe the blue-dog Democrats did, but the “netroots” didn’t. Maybe Big Business got the message and “re-engineered” their corporations, but Big Labor didn’t. Maybe red-state governments got the message, but blue-state governments didn’t.

In the end, they say, you can’t fool Mother Nature. And so our liberal friends are staring into the abyss of an annus horribilis in 2012. For years and years they kept the mirage of their progressive faith alive in their hearts and convinced many Americans with their progressive revivalism. Now it is all collapsing around them, and they can’t believe it.

But isn’t good old Warren Buffett risking retaliation from the next Republican administration? Nah. Republicans don’t believe in beating up on businessmen, even the ones that truckle to liberal politicians.

After all, Warren Buffett is just taking care of business. It’s a fiduciary duty.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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presented by Christopher Chantrill

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