His reaffirmation was in the form of support for President Barack Obama taking to the airwaves around the clock and referring to the proposal as “The Buffett Rule”.
Buffett has gained notoriety over the years for his impressive track record of spotting value in undervalued companies and investing long-term. His wealth strategies have made him one of the most famous billionaires in the United States if not the world. He is perhaps most famous for his everyman middle-American existence in a modest house in Omaha, despite his massive wealth. In light of his well-established reputation, it is little surprise that he has long held the position that a “billionaire friendly” Congress has coddled the wealthy and that the practice as he sees it should end. His position has further raised his profile and ignited debate about mega-rich CEOs and how to best tax their sometimes massive compensation packages.
Upping the ante further this week was fellow billionaire Mark Cuban. Cuban is also a celebrity CEO and perhaps the most famous example of the “internet tycoon”. He is renowned for his brash, upbeat, high-energy and hustling demeanor and his preferred attire of jeans and a t-shirt. He is currently owner of the National Basketball Association Champion Dallas Mavericks, Landmark Theaters and Magnolia Pictures. He made his original fortune as founder and CEO of Broadcast.com in the 90’s which married his desire to listen to his favorite teams’ games back in Indiana with the online technology boom.
This week on his blog, Cuban expressed support for the Buffett Rule stating: “So be Patriotic. Go out there and get rich. Get so obnoxiously rich that when that tax bill comes, your first thought will to choke on how big a check you have to write. Your 2nd thought will be “what a great problem to have”, and your 3rd should be a recognition that in paying your taxes you are helping to support millions of Americans who aren’t as fortunate as you.”
These are important CEO’s in the debate because they are two of the highest profile and they represent the dream of great wealth achieved in decidedly different ways.
Another issue under consideration is whether a Buffett Rule implemented in the tax code would have a chilling effect on new investment, thus harming the prospects of CEO’s on the rise. Eric Jackson of the online investment platform Caplinked, stated this week in the Washington Post that the because The Buffett Rule proposes a raise on the tax rate for capital gains (money made from investments), it might lower the pool of available money for continued investment in a growing enterprise by original investors. The debate has many layers. One thing that’s undeniable: public opinion is squarely behind Buffett’s proposal. Polls reflect the public favors The Buffett Rule by a 2 to 1 margin.