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Income Distribution

Warren Buffett: No to Higher Wages

The Oracle of Omaha may not be all that incredibly wise after all, just incredibly rich and sheltered from the real world of work.

Blogging Our Great Divide
May 25, 2015

by Sam Pizzigati

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett has over recent years won lots of kudos for candidly noting that America’s richest moguls pay taxes at lower rates than their receptionists. But now the oracle of Omaha seems a bit worried that public anger at his fellow rich may be getting a little out of hand.

In a new Wall Street Journal op-ed, Buffett insists that the “poor are most definitely not poor because the rich are rich.”

Any big boost to the minimum wage, the Oracle of Omaha then asserts, “would almost certainly reduce employment in a major way.”

Buffett’s “better answer” to poverty? Up the earned income tax credit, the tax code provision that uses tax dollars to supplement the pay of workers that Walmart and other low-wage employers refuse to compensate at an adequate level.

Most of America’s rich, Buffett goes on to add, “have contributed brilliant innovations or managerial expertise to America’s well-being.”

Hmmm. Does the refusal to pay adequate wages — a widespread practice the Economic Policy Institute details in a new paper — count as a “brilliant innovation” or an example of “managerial expertise”?

Sam Pizzigati edits Too Much, the Institute for Policy Studies online monthly on excess and inequality. His latest book: The Rich Don’t Always Win: The Forgotten Triumph over Plutocracy that Created the American Middle Class, 1900-1970 (Seven Stories Press).

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