Why Warren Buffett Is a World-Class Con Man
A Note from Alexander Green: When we introduce a new columnist in Investment U, it doesn’t usually come with a warning. This one does. I’d like for you to meet my old friend George Everett, a retired money manager. I’ve known George for many years. He’s smart, funny, insightful and way, way beyond “politically incorrect.” As you’ll see, he doesn’t pull any punches. Let us know if you agree with him… or not!
Polls regularly show that investor Warren Buffett is one of the most trusted men in America.
What a crock. The man is an imposter, a four-flusher and a humbug. And I can prove it.
If you’re skeptical, maybe that’s because – like mushrooms – you’ve been kept in the dark and fed a lot of horse manure.
Too many people believe what they hear in the mainstream media. They listen to the lying politicians – that’s 98% of them – in both parties. And they swallow a lot of nonsense from self-styled investment “experts.”
(I’ll have a lot more to say on that subject in future columns.)
You might be one of them. In fact, here’s a quick test: Who is the bigger louse, Warren Buffett or Tiger Woods?
If you said Woods, get serious.
Yeah, Buffett is sitting on a pile of dough, about $67 billion at last count.
But having a lot of money doesn’t make you great. I’m a one-percenter myself. So what? Money isn’t the measure of a man. You can never be so rich that somebody can’t call you a jackass. And be dead right about it.
Buffett has a great track record. There’s no denying that. But he’s also a hypocrite. He believes successful business people should pay a lot more in taxes.
Just not him personally.
For example, his holding company Berkshire Hathaway just reported its biggest-ever quarterly profit. A big part of it came from Berkshire’s $6.8 billion pre-tax gain in Kraft Heinz.
It might interest you to know that Buffett’s $6.8 billion pre-tax gain was also his post-tax gain. Using a complicated accounting trick that I won’t bore you with here, he got the cash to show up on the company’s balance sheet and income statement but not its tax return.
Now, if I were a shareholder, that’s exactly what I’d want Buffett to do: Maximize my profits and minimize my taxes.
But as someone who believes that if you talk the talk you oughta walk the walk, I wish he’d shut his trap about higher taxes. Especially since Buffett also made sure that when Burger King took over Canada’s Tim Hortons, it deserted the U.S. and became a subsidiary of a Canadian company.
Nice dodge, Warren.
The truth is Buffett is one of the world’s richest men precisely because his fortune is almost entirely untaxed. Berkshire pays no dividends, so Buffett has paid no dividend taxes. He has sold very few shares of Berkshire in his lifetime, so he has paid little capital gains tax.
He’s worth tens of billions, but he pays himself only a $100,000 annual salary. So he isn’t paying much income tax either.
Yet he swears the rest of us aren’t bleeding into enough bottles for the IRS. For that, Warren, I send you my middle-finger salute.
As for Tiger Woods, I don’t claim the guy is an angel. But – while his swing is in the tall grass at the moment – he’s one of the greatest ever to play the infernal game.
Those of you who are up in arms about his off-course behavior should grow up. Were you married to the guy? If not, what business is it of yours?
And guys, please don’t tell me you keep your pants on when you’re out so he should too. You’ve never walked into a room and been introduced as the reigning Masters, PGA, U.S. Open and British Open champion.
If you did, you’d find beautiful women all over the world throwing themselves at you. And since you’ve never dealt with that before, you can’t honestly say what you’d do now, can you?
You girls can stop tut-tutting too. Most women I know couldn’t pass up a plate of fresh-baked chocolate-chip cookies if their lives depended on it. So save me the lecture about Tiger’s lack of self-control.
In short, Buffett is rich. But he’s a phony and – in case you didn’t know – he’s also for Hillary. So how smart can he be, really?
Tiger, on the other hand, pays his taxes. (He lives in Florida, which doesn’t have a state income tax – but then he doesn’t argue that it should.) More to the point, when he was running around on his wife he wasn’t telling everybody that what this country really needs is more monogamy.
You can have Warren. I’ll take Tiger. He’s one of the undisputed greats in the history of sports.
Even if there’s one club in his bag he still hasn’t mastered.