September 19, 2021

Rich guys

Let’s Get to Know Twitter’s Audit Committee Members

It is a little fun to read S-1s because companies have to talk about "Risk Factors" and "Critical Accounting Policies" and a bunch of other stuff people don't care about. But when a fancy tech company like Twitter releases an S-1 it's completely different because the financial media goes into a rabid lather over it. They just […]

Maybe Mitt Romney Can Recommend a Savvy Tax Planning Professional for Al Gore

Former Vice President Al Gore recently became a very wealthy man (well, wealthier). Good for him, right? This is America after all, where the rich are important and the important are rich and if you're neither then, well, you're probably not working hard enough.   Anyway, if you're wondering how Vice Prince Albert made his […]

Mitt Romney’s 2011 Tax Returns Reveal He’s the Richest Unemployed Dude You’ve Ever Seen

OK, so the Romney campaign released the 2011 tax returns and frankly we here at GC HQ couldn't be happier that they did so on a Friday afternoon, thereby completely cockblocking our plans to be in a drunken coma by 7pm this evening. Thanks for nothing, jerks! Consummate professionals that we are, however, we'll just […]

Unlike This Guy, Your Career at a Big 4 Firm Won’t Result in You Becoming a Billionaire, Owning Part of the Arsenal

What did ex-Ernst & Young, ex-Pannell Kerr Forster, and ex-Deloitte employee Farhad Morishi have that you don't have? The dumb luck to meet and befriend a wealthy Russian.  In 1989, Farhad Moshiri was an émigré in London pulling a paycheck at Deloitte & Touche when he met Alisher Usmanov. Now, after a two-decade alliance with […]

What Are People Saying About Mitt Romney’s Tax Returns?

By now, you've probably heard that ultra-rich dude Mitt Romney released his tax returns last night (and a 2011 estimate this morning) and everyone is jumping on the returns like his grandkids on a decapitated piñata. He's running for office, for Pete's sake, why wouldn't we want to take a peek? The most unsurprising thing […]

Warren Buffett Takes a Burlesque Approach to Releasing Tax Return Info

The Oracle of O proves to be a master tease artist:

In a letter to Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp Tuesday, Buffett revealed that his adjusted gross income last year was $62,855,038 and that his taxable income was $39,814,784.

Buffett said he paid $15,300 in payroll taxes. Buffett also said his federal income tax bill came to $6,923,494, or 17.4% of his taxable income — two points he revealed in a New York Times op-ed in August urging Congress to tax the wealthy more.

In another act of twirling his pasties, WB repeated his challenge to all his fellow “ultra-rich” peers to whip out their tax returns. Not sure if the OWS gang has jumped on this band wagon yet but it’s worth putting out there.

Buffett made $62,855,038 last year [CNN via Felix Salmon]

Warren Buffett Dares Rupert Murdoch to Whip It Out

His tax return, people. His tax return. Remember last week when the Journal told O^3 he should put up or shut up since he’s so gung ho about increasing taxes on the ultra-rich? Well, he sure does and he seemed delighted when someone asked him about it today:

Asked about the editorial on Tuesday at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit, Buffett said he was willing to release his tax returns, on one condition: “I think it might be a terrific idea if they would just ask their boss, Rupert Murdoch, and he and I will meet at Fortune, and we’ll both give you our tax returns and you can publish them,” Buffett said. “I’m ready tomorrow morning,” he added.

Your move, Rupes.

Buffett challenges Murdoch on tax returns [CNN]

Warren Buffett Would Like to Clarify His Feelings on The Buffett Rule

“It isn’t [my idea] to have the rich pay more taxes. It’s to have the ultra-rich pay more,” he said on Bloomberg Television Friday. “It isn’t to have the rich pay more taxes. It’s to have the ultra-rich who are paying very low tax rates pay more taxes. There’s all kinds of ultra-rich who pay normal taxes, but there is a small segment–but you can find them very easily–who pay very low taxes, including me. People who make money with money only pay very low taxes at very high levels of income. … What I’m talking about would probably apply to 50,000 people out of 310 million in the country. [BBR/The Hill]

Mayor Bloomberg Not Impressed with All This Buffett Rule Drama

“The Buffett thing is just theatrics. If Warren Buffett made his money from ordinary income rather than capital gains, his tax rate would be a lot higher than his secretary’s,” he said. “I think it’s not fair to say that wealthy people don’t pay their fair share. They pay a much higher percentage of their income, they have a higher rate than people who make less,” Bloomberg added. [CBS/AP]

Wilbur Ross Would Like to Torpedo the Income Tax and Replace It with a VAT

Why? Because we need the tax policy equivalent of Law & Order: SVU.

“We need something that is very far-reaching, very dramatic,” said Ross, the head of W.L. Ross & Co. “An idea I’ve been in favor of is to scrap all of the corporate income taxes, all of the individual income taxes, and substitute a value-added tax on all goods imported into the country and manufactured and consumed here, and then rebate it on exports.”

Oh and that jobs bill? It’s bupkis:

“The amount being put in relative to that plan, compared to the jobs they say it will produce, is way out of whack,” Ross said.

Implement VAT, Cut All Income Taxes to Create Jobs: Ross [CNBC]

Donald Trump Once Proposed a One-Time 14.25% Net Worth Tax

Back in 1999, when the The Donald was also faux-considering a Presidential run, he proposed a one-time 14.25% net worth tax on anyone with a net worth of $10 million that would solve all our national debt problems in a blink of an eye.

According to an article published by CNN in November of ’99, DT crunched the numbers himself and “his proposed 14.25 percent levy on such net worth would raise 5.7 trillion and wipe out the debt in one full swoop.” Of course this was all before the SCOTUS determined the outcome of an election, 9/11, Afghanistan, Iraq, George W. Bush somehow winning re-election, Barack Obama being elected President, The Tea Party, Libya and several seasons of The Apprentice. And seeing how Mr. Trump’s politics change like his hair caught in a a gusty wind, it’d be surprising if he still felt strongly about this particular policy. [CNN via TaxProf]

Some People Need to Get Some Perspective on This Tax Cut Compromise

“The fact that the Republicans got a reduction in the death tax from 55 percent to 35 percent I think made the deal even better. […] I’m a little surprised that some Republicans are scoffing at it.”

~ Steve Forbes can’t quite believe what he’s hearing.

Old Rich Guy Makes It Clear Where He Stands on Taxes

“The question is, Do we get more money from the person that’s gonna serve me lunch today, or do we get it from me? I think we should get it from me.”

Accountants Disgust Charlie Munger on a Multitude of Levels

If you piss off a billionaire, there will be repercussions. And Charlie Munger is not a typical billionaire.

He just so happens to be the BFF and business partner of the second richest person in this fair land of ours and since WB is too busy chasing tail with new friends, he recently felt the need to vent at the University of Michigan about, among other things, accountants and how they failed. FAILED US ALL!

The accountants utterly failed us. And by the way, there’s practically no sign of any intelligent reversal of the failure of that profession. I have yet to meet many accountants who are the least bit ashamed for their contribution to our recent troubles. But it was immense. Imagine when Enron comes down to the SEC and says “we want to write a little contract with A, and a little contract with B, and take all the profit we’re going to make from these complicated contracts over the next 20 years into earnings immediately, and put an asset on our balance sheet of $28 billion from signing two pieces of paper.” And the SEC, led by wonderful accountants who studied at great places, [says] “Why, of course you should have that kind of accounting!” What the hell were they thinking? How can anybody have any respectable understanding of human nature without realizing that the kind of people who were going to be tempted by that accounting were not going to be able to resist the temptations? It was disgusting.

Now you might think this is one of those situations where the old man says to you, “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed.” This is bullshit. Charlie Munger is definitely pissed. He’s not putting all the blame at the doorstep of accountants but you definitely get the impression that if he could, he would.

But why? Why would Mungsy be so pissed? Why would he lump you in with likes of Jimmy Carter, Ryan Leaf and Andy Barker, P.I. (an accountant, no less)? Basically it’s because you people are a bunch of pansies, will politely nod to the whims of the clients you serve and that you’re a bunch of numbers nerds and that you can barely carry on a conversation with another human being let alone understand that greed trumps Debits = Credits:

Partly the establishment accountants want to please the people who are writing the checks. And partly the academic accountants get full of people who overdosed on mathematics. They want everything to be in balance. And they don’t think that that really isn’t rational when creating rules for a human behavioral system. They’re too mathematical and not rational enough when dealing with their fellow humans. You can’t give the average Wall Street CEO really lenient standards of accounting and expect the figures to be good.

Here endeth the lesson.

Charlie Munger on Communism, Botox, and Goldbug Jerks [Motley Fool]