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(The Weekly Standard)   Warren Buffett as an Op-Ed columnist: Raise taxes on the rich, they'll gladly pay it. Warren Buffett as an investor: Woah, nilly Let's restructure these investments for the huge tax advantages   (weeklystandard.com) divider line 142
    More: Followup, Warren Buffett, columnists, investments  
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4873 clicks; posted to Main » on 27 Nov 2012 at 7:32 PM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-27 04:43:00 PM  
Buffett's positions on loose women, pirates, and tequila interest me more.
 
2012-11-27 04:44:45 PM  
You can always take advantage of a tax break even if it's the wrong thing to do for the country. See: Mitt Romney.
 
2012-11-27 04:52:56 PM  
The examples the author quotes are not contradictory to his statement about too much taxes preventing investment.

The first one is brokering a deal on splitting up a company he had already invested in. He called their bluff the best way to spin off the company. The second was using the tax code that was in existence. It only affected where he invested- not if he invested.
 
2012-11-27 04:53:31 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: You can always take advantage of a tax break even if it's the wrong thing to do for the country. See: Mitt Romney.


It's not that.. It's a competitive thing. If all your competitors are taking advantage of said tax loopholes then you're an idiot not to. What he's saying is to fix the loop holes and tax the ultra-rich on capital gains. Everyone will be on the same playing field and in this example the raping of Hostess never would have occurred because of the tax burden. That's one of many real-life examples of what would no longer happen if most of this shiat was taxed properly.
 
2012-11-27 04:54:35 PM  
Regardless of Buffet's opinions on tax policy, he owes certain fiduciary duties to his fund(s) and their investors, including duties to make investment decisions that are in the best (financial) interest of the fund and the fund's investors. So, if a certain transaction structure yields tax advantages, Buffet may have a legal obligation to pursue those advantages on behalf of the fund/investors.
 
2012-11-27 05:07:59 PM  
GOP: "Taxing the rich will hurt them and they're the job creators and that will hurt the economy!!!"

Regular Joe: "Not one thing you said is true. We need to raise taxes on the rich to increase revenue in order to reduce our deficit. That will actually help the economy."

GOP: "You're just jealous of rich people. Class warfare!!!"

Buffet: "No, he's right. Not one thing you said is true. We need to raise taxes on the rich to increase revenue in order to reduce our deficit. That will actually help the economy."

GOP: "You're just jealous of rich... err umm... STFU and give your money away then!"
 
2012-11-27 05:15:49 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: You can always take advantage of a tax break even if it's the wrong thing to do for the country. See: Mitt Romney.


I agree, but we need a moratorium on people criticizing "family values" republicans who get caught having affairs also.
 
2012-11-27 05:31:12 PM  

impaler: GOP: "Taxing the rich will hurt them and they're the job creators and that will hurt the economy!!!"

Regular Joe: "Not one thing you said is true. We need to raise taxes on the rich to increase revenue in order to reduce our deficit. That will actually help the economy."

GOP: "You're just jealous of rich people. Class warfare!!!"

Buffet: "No, he's right. Not one thing you said is true. We need to raise taxes on the rich to increase revenue in order to reduce our deficit. That will actually help the economy."

GOP: "You're just jealous of rich... err umm... STFU and give your money away then!"


This is a very accurate summation.
 
2012-11-27 05:34:57 PM  

xynix: Marcus Aurelius: You can always take advantage of a tax break even if it's the wrong thing to do for the country. See: Mitt Romney.

It's not that.. It's a competitive thing. If all your competitors are taking advantage of said tax loopholes then you're an idiot not to. What he's saying is to fix the loop holes and tax the ultra-rich on capital gains. Everyone will be on the same playing field and in this example the raping of Hostess never would have occurred because of the tax burden. That's one of many real-life examples of what would no longer happen if most of this shiat was taxed properly.


No. What he's saying is, "raise taxes in a way that gives more rich people incentive to buy insurance from companies I own." Anyone who thinks otherwise is a fool.

Do you imagine that rich people are just going to shrug their shoulders and accept it if taxes are raised? Of course not! They're going to do the same thing everyone does when the rules change: make the most of it. If that means foregoing capital gains on options in lieu of deferred payment in the form of pre-tax writedowns on generous insurance policies negotiated into business contracts, they'll do that. And who made his original fortune on insurance companies he still owns? Yep, one Warren E. Buffet, billionaire.

Contra subby, there is no difference between Buffet the columnist and Buffet the investor. There is only Buffet the investor.
 
2012-11-27 05:40:20 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: You can always take advantage of a tax break even if it's the wrong thing to do for the country. See: Mitt Romney.


He paid more than he had to.
 
2012-11-27 05:46:48 PM  

gerrymander: xynix: Marcus Aurelius: You can always take advantage of a tax break even if it's the wrong thing to do for the country. See: Mitt Romney.

It's not that.. It's a competitive thing. If all your competitors are taking advantage of said tax loopholes then you're an idiot not to. What he's saying is to fix the loop holes and tax the ultra-rich on capital gains. Everyone will be on the same playing field and in this example the raping of Hostess never would have occurred because of the tax burden. That's one of many real-life examples of what would no longer happen if most of this shiat was taxed properly.

No. What he's saying is, "raise taxes in a way that gives more rich people incentive to buy insurance from companies I own." Anyone who thinks otherwise is a fool.

Do you imagine that rich people are just going to shrug their shoulders and accept it if taxes are raised? Of course not! They're going to do the same thing everyone does when the rules change: make the most of it. If that means foregoing capital gains on options in lieu of deferred payment in the form of pre-tax writedowns on generous insurance policies negotiated into business contracts, they'll do that. And who made his original fortune on insurance companies he still owns? Yep, one Warren E. Buffet, billionaire.

Contra subby, there is no difference between Buffet the columnist and Buffet the investor. There is only Buffet the investor.


The psychological manipulation you have to make on yourself to come out with such bullshiat is astonishing. You must intentionally choose to examine the facts and then discard them at will.
 
2012-11-27 05:52:02 PM  
It's "Nelly". As though to a horse.

"Woah, Nelly!"
 
2012-11-27 05:52:41 PM  
Sorry, pet pony.
 
2012-11-27 05:56:34 PM  

GAT_00: The psychological manipulation you have to make on yourself to come out with such bullshiat is astonishing. You must intentionally choose to examine the facts and then discard them at will.

Ad hominem

aside, what part or parts specifically do you find flawed in my analysis?

Can't be Buffet's ownership of insurance companies. That's public record, courtesy every Berkshire Hathaway quarterly statement.

That leaves A) rich people will adapt, B) the adaption will involve shifting tax deductions and reported income, and/or C) buying insurance is a method of shifting deductions and income. Which of these do you consider bullshiat, exactly?
 
2012-11-27 06:10:36 PM  

gerrymander: what part or parts specifically do you find flawed in my analysis?


Where you declare that any 1% should be listened to, until a 1% suddenly says something you don't like. Then they're wrong because you say they're wrong.
 
2012-11-27 06:29:37 PM  

GAT_00: gerrymander: what part or parts specifically do you find flawed in my analysis?

Where you declare that any 1% should be listened to, until a 1% suddenly says something you don't like. Then they're wrong because you say they're wrong.


I never said Buffet was wrong -- because being trivially right (and yes, a tax projected to raise an extra $3.5 billion in revenue is trivial compared to a projected $1,300 billion deficit) is still right.

What I did say is that Buffet has an ulterior motive -- which is transparent to anyone with a brain. Why do you only object to the idea that the 1% has ulterior motives when they say something you like?
 
2012-11-27 06:31:53 PM  

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Marcus Aurelius: You can always take advantage of a tax break even if it's the wrong thing to do for the country. See: Mitt Romney.

He paid more than he had to.


Heh.
 
2012-11-27 06:38:11 PM  

gerrymander: GAT_00: gerrymander: what part or parts specifically do you find flawed in my analysis?

Where you declare that any 1% should be listened to, until a 1% suddenly says something you don't like. Then they're wrong because you say they're wrong.

I never said Buffet was wrong -- because being trivially right (and yes, a tax projected to raise an extra $3.5 billion in revenue is trivial compared to a projected $1,300 billion deficit) is still right.

What I did say is that Buffet has an ulterior motive -- which is transparent to anyone with a brain. Why do you only object to the idea that the 1% has ulterior motives when they say something you like?


This "logic" is hilarious. "I never said he was wrong, just that he was contradicting himself in a way that meant what he said earlier must be wrong. But I didn't directly SAY he was wrong."
 
2012-11-27 06:42:17 PM  

Calmamity: Sorry, pet pony.


[seeswhatyoudidthere.jpg]
 
2012-11-27 06:52:40 PM  

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Marcus Aurelius: You can always take advantage of a tax break even if it's the wrong thing to do for the country. See: Mitt Romney.

He paid more than he had to.


Until we find out that he took advantage of filing an amended return. Although we'll probably never find that out publicly. But I'm pretty sure it will happen.
 
2012-11-27 07:36:06 PM  

gerrymander: GAT_00: The psychological manipulation you have to make on yourself to come out with such bullshiat is astonishing. You must intentionally choose to examine the facts and then discard them at will.

Ad hominem aside, what part or parts specifically do you find flawed in my analysis?

Can't be Buffet's ownership of insurance companies. That's public record, courtesy every Berkshire Hathaway quarterly statement.

That leaves A) rich people will adapt, B) the adaption will involve shifting tax deductions and reported income, and/or C) buying insurance is a method of shifting deductions and income. Which of these do you consider bullshiat, exactly?


Can I take "D: Move to Belize and open a topless bar on the beach"?
 
2012-11-27 07:38:27 PM  
Looks like he may have 'negotiated' to get the best deal on the transaction. Part of that transaction included taxes.

Holy fark, what a hypocrite.
 
2012-11-27 07:41:53 PM  

Nezorf: impaler: GOP: "Taxing the rich will hurt them and they're the job creators and that will hurt the economy!!!"

Regular Joe: "Not one thing you said is true. We need to raise taxes on the rich to increase revenue in order to reduce our deficit. That will actually help the economy."

GOP: "You're just jealous of rich people. Class warfare!!!"

Buffet: "No, he's right. Not one thing you said is true. We need to raise taxes on the rich to increase revenue in order to reduce our deficit. That will actually help the economy."

GOP: "You're just jealous of rich... err umm... STFU and give your money away then!"

This is a very accurate summation.


Except that you're not allowed to call them "rich" anymore. It hurts their feelings.
 
2012-11-27 07:43:32 PM  
I'm struggling to see the issue here. So anyone who thinks their taxes are too low are obliged to give all their money to the government?
 
2012-11-27 07:44:34 PM  

Marcus Aurelius: The Stealth Hippopotamus: Marcus Aurelius: You can always take advantage of a tax break even if it's the wrong thing to do for the country. See: Mitt Romney.

He paid more than he had to.

Heh.




Only during an election year, to look good.

What did he pay in any other year? Oh, right we have no idea.
 
2012-11-27 07:45:19 PM  
Warren knows what I know: Rich people do not pay taxes, never have and never will.

People get rich selling a product or service people want or need, and if that service or product is taxed, they pass the tax along with the price. We saw an example of that with the cigarette lawsuit a few years back: Congress sued the cigarette industry for $200 billion-----the price of cigarettes went up $0.50 before sundown the same day.

You might say you do not care, you don't smoke, but that money still goes down the "black hole," never to return. That means less money to buy the products you make, less money to buy the services you provide.

"Hostess Shrugged" was just the tip of the iceberg, when the "fiscal cliff" goes into effect it will cost thousands more jobs. And Obamacare will be even worse.
 
2012-11-27 07:46:52 PM  
It is never hypocritical to operate as a rational agent within a system while advocating changing the rules of that system. I think that taxes should go up, but that doesn't mean I have to volunteer to pay higher taxes. It only helps if everyone is forced to do it, so until my taxes go up, I will pay as little as I can get away with. Then, when they are increased, I will be happy to pay the higher amount along with everyone else.
 
2012-11-27 07:46:54 PM  
He said this is 1996. That is 16 years ago. This is like being upset with O.J. 18 years after he served his debt to society.
 
2012-11-27 07:47:05 PM  

El_Perro: Regardless of Buffet's opinions on tax policy, he owes certain fiduciary duties to his fund(s) and their investors, including duties to make investment decisions that are in the best (financial) interest of the fund and the fund's investors. So, if a certain transaction structure yields tax advantages, Buffet may have a legal obligation to pursue those advantages on behalf of the fund/investors.


Exactly. I think Buffett's recent comments re tax policy are disingenuous at best, outright lying at worst. But you can't criticize him for his own tax strategies, and particularly not for the tax strategies employed by his companies. Each individual has a right to optimize his or her tax situation, and managers have the obligation to optimize the tax position of the companies they manage.
 
2012-11-27 07:47:09 PM  

impaler: GOP: "Taxing the rich will hurt them and they're the job creators and that will hurt the economy!!!"

Regular Joe: "Not one thing you said is true. We need to raise taxes on the rich to increase revenue in order to reduce our deficit. That will actually help the economy."

GOP: "You're just jealous of rich people. Class warfare!!!"

Buffet: "No, he's right. Not one thing you said is true. We need to raise taxes on the rich to increase revenue in order to reduce our deficit. That will actually help the economy."

GOP: "You're just jealous of rich... err umm... STFU and give your money away then!"


And nowhere in your little play did you mention, "Maybe we could cut spending a bit to help reduce the deficit." Even going back to the hugely bloated budget of 2007 would do wonders. But no. That's racist.
 
2012-11-27 07:50:37 PM  
OK, subby, you can't spell, and you can't compare equivalent things. What CAN you do?
 
2012-11-27 07:52:25 PM  

Debeo Summa Credo: El_Perro: Regardless of Buffet's opinions on tax policy, he owes certain fiduciary duties to his fund(s) and their investors, including duties to make investment decisions that are in the best (financial) interest of the fund and the fund's investors. So, if a certain transaction structure yields tax advantages, Buffet may have a legal obligation to pursue those advantages on behalf of the fund/investors.

Exactly. I think Buffett's recent comments re tax policy are disingenuous at best, outright lying at worst. But you can't criticize him for his own tax strategies, and particularly not for the tax strategies employed by his companies. Each individual has a right to optimize his or her tax situation, and managers have the obligation to optimize the tax position of the companies they manage.


Oh, wait, now I read the article. not as derpy as I thought. Author talks about Buffett's actions re taxes not to criticize him for taking tax minimizing decisions, but rather to point out that taxes did affect Buffett's investment decisions, contrary to what Buffett wrote in the op-ed article.

FTA: Now, none of this is to say that the capital-allocation effects of tax changes ultimately require the nation to forego tax reforms that would increase certain tax revenues. But it certainly is one consideration that must be kept in mind. When Buffett and others simply assert that tax increases don't affect investment decisions, they're whistling past the graveyard.
 
2012-11-27 07:53:48 PM  
"Nilly"? Really???
Is there some sort of special greenlight "speedy approval service" for illiterate headlines?
 
2012-11-27 07:54:13 PM  
It would be interesting to ask any of these pro-tax increase "rich" people how many deductions and credits they take on their income tax return.
 
2012-11-27 07:55:32 PM  
Shorter olddinosaur: all products have perfectly elastic demand.
 
2012-11-27 07:58:17 PM  
only a farker would see any contradiction in Buffet's statements.
 
2012-11-27 07:58:55 PM  

The Stealth Hippopotamus: Marcus Aurelius: You can always take advantage of a tax break even if it's the wrong thing to do for the country. See: Mitt Romney.

He paid more than he had to.


He amended a return to take less charitable deduction than he could have, solely to retroactively support his claim that he paid at least 13% every recent year.

He can amend that amended return now that the heat's off him.
 
2012-11-27 07:59:11 PM  

Calmamity: It's "Nelly". As though to a horse.

"Woah, Nelly!"


It is whoa, Nelly. It is a directive, as if to bring a horse to a stop.
 
2012-11-27 08:04:04 PM  

Debeo Summa Credo: Debeo Summa Credo: El_Perro: Regardless of Buffet's opinions on tax policy, he owes certain fiduciary duties to his fund(s) and their investors, including duties to make investment decisions that are in the best (financial) interest of the fund and the fund's investors. So, if a certain transaction structure yields tax advantages, Buffet may have a legal obligation to pursue those advantages on behalf of the fund/investors.

Exactly. I think Buffett's recent comments re tax policy are disingenuous at best, outright lying at worst. But you can't criticize him for his own tax strategies, and particularly not for the tax strategies employed by his companies. Each individual has a right to optimize his or her tax situation, and managers have the obligation to optimize the tax position of the companies they manage.

Oh, wait, now I read the article. not as derpy as I thought. Author talks about Buffett's actions re taxes not to criticize him for taking tax minimizing decisions, but rather to point out that taxes did affect Buffett's investment decisions, contrary to what Buffett wrote in the op-ed article.

FTA: Now, none of this is to say that the capital-allocation effects of tax changes ultimately require the nation to forego tax reforms that would increase certain tax revenues. But it certainly is one consideration that must be kept in mind. When Buffett and others simply assert that tax increases don't affect investment decisions, they're whistling past the graveyard.


Of course tax increases affect investment decisions. What DOESN'T happen, despite supply-sider whining, is a cession of investment activity simply because marginal tax rates increase by a few percent. There's no indication that anyone avoids having taxable income at 39.6 percent to a greater extent than they avoid having taxable income at 36 percent.

Raise taxes on upper brackets, slightly, and close corporate loopholes with the viciousness that teabaggers would apply to basic relief, and MY, how the money rolls in.
 
2012-11-27 08:04:04 PM  

kmmontandon: Marcus Aurelius: The Stealth Hippopotamus: Marcus Aurelius: You can always take advantage of a tax break even if it's the wrong thing to do for the country. See: Mitt Romney.

He paid more than he had to.

Heh.



Only during an election year, to look good.

What did he pay in any other year? Oh, right we have no idea.


"I did go back and look at my taxes and over the last 10 years I never paid less than 13 percent." That's an exact quote from: youtube @ ~1:50

Call me cynical, but I'm guessing he cherry-picked the tax on which he paid 13%. You can't pay 13% on "all of them."
 
2012-11-27 08:04:13 PM  

Mithiwithi: Shorter olddinosaur: all products have perfectly elastic demand.


No, the problem here is, if products are to sell, then there has to be money in circulation with which to buy them.

If government took that money to waste on stupid boondoggles, then it is not there to spend. And if you do not have it, then no one else has it either, hence no money to spend on your products.

Slice it any you want, a parasite is a parasite.
 
2012-11-27 08:05:54 PM  

olddinosaur: Warren knows what I know: Rich people do not pay taxes, never have and never will.

People get rich selling a product or service people want or need, and if that service or product is taxed, they pass the tax along with the price. We saw an example of that with the cigarette lawsuit a few years back: Congress sued the cigarette industry for $200 billion-----the price of cigarettes went up $0.50 before sundown the same day.


Different kind of tax. Add a cost to a product, like an excise tax or a sales tax or a huge money grab like the tobacco settlement, then yes the majority of that cost is going to be added to the consumer's price of the product.

Income taxes are on income after expenses. So, yes, increasing income taxes will reduce returns to investors which will reduce investment, reducing supply of product and increasing price indirecty. But the investor will absorb the direct cost of that tax increase.
 
2012-11-27 08:06:36 PM  

GORDON: impaler: GOP: "Taxing the rich will hurt them and they're the job creators and that will hurt the economy!!!"

Regular Joe: "Not one thing you said is true. We need to raise taxes on the rich to increase revenue in order to reduce our deficit. That will actually help the economy."

GOP: "You're just jealous of rich people. Class warfare!!!"

Buffet: "No, he's right. Not one thing you said is true. We need to raise taxes on the rich to increase revenue in order to reduce our deficit. That will actually help the economy."

GOP: "You're just jealous of rich... err umm... STFU and give your money away then!"

And nowhere in your little play did you mention, "Maybe we could cut spending a bit to help reduce the deficit." Even going back to the hugely bloated budget of 2007 would do wonders. But no. That's racist.


It certainly has a racist component if you are ignoring all the economical changes that happened between 2007 and 2012 and tell people that the only real change was that President Obama took the White House. Especially if the previous president was of your own party and he used the excuse that we were coming off a binge drinking economic cycle and that we needed more spending on things like transportation. Worse and most damning is that President Bush was the one who wrote the budget for 2009 but every single person still claims that President Obama was the one to spend like a drunken sailor.
 
2012-11-27 08:07:32 PM  
nilly?
really?
 
2012-11-27 08:09:27 PM  

mbillips: Debeo Summa Credo: Debeo Summa Credo: El_Perro: Regardless of Buffet's opinions on tax policy, he owes certain fiduciary duties to his fund(s) and their investors, including duties to make investment decisions that are in the best (financial) interest of the fund and the fund's investors. So, if a certain transaction structure yields tax advantages, Buffet may have a legal obligation to pursue those advantages on behalf of the fund/investors.

Exactly. I think Buffett's recent comments re tax policy are disingenuous at best, outright lying at worst. But you can't criticize him for his own tax strategies, and particularly not for the tax strategies employed by his companies. Each individual has a right to optimize his or her tax situation, and managers have the obligation to optimize the tax position of the companies they manage.

Oh, wait, now I read the article. not as derpy as I thought. Author talks about Buffett's actions re taxes not to criticize him for taking tax minimizing decisions, but rather to point out that taxes did affect Buffett's investment decisions, contrary to what Buffett wrote in the op-ed article.

FTA: Now, none of this is to say that the capital-allocation effects of tax changes ultimately require the nation to forego tax reforms that would increase certain tax revenues. But it certainly is one consideration that must be kept in mind. When Buffett and others simply assert that tax increases don't affect investment decisions, they're whistling past the graveyard.

Of course tax increases affect investment decisions. What DOESN'T happen, despite supply-sider whining, is a cession of investment activity simply because marginal tax rates increase by a few percent. There's no indication that anyone avoids having taxable income at 39.6 percent to a greater extent than they avoid having taxable income at 36 percent.

Raise taxes on upper brackets, slightly, and close corporate loopholes with the viciousness that teabaggers would apply to basic reli ...


Raise taxes and you reduce investment returns and therefore investment. You admit that taxes affect investment decisions, so you would have to agree, at least directionally, that investmeht would decrease at higher rates.

Of course it doesn't cease all investment activity, and nobody claims it will.
 
2012-11-27 08:10:13 PM  

SevenizGud: Calmamity: It's "Nelly". As though to a horse.

"Woah, Nelly!"

It is whoa, Nelly. It is a directive, as if to bring a horse to a stop.


Gee!
Haw!

I guess someone had the blinders on.
Had the wool pulled over their eyes.
Didn't have both feet in the stirrups.

/Look at me when I'm talking at cha boy.
//It's a joke, son, a joke.
 
2012-11-27 08:12:14 PM  
Let's remind ourselves of what is really going on here.

When the Republicans had control of the House, Senate, and White House, they passed "temporary" tax cuts that expired in 2010.

In the lame duck session of Congress following the 2010 elections, the Democrats who controlled the House, Senate, and White House renewed the "temporary" Bush tax cuts for two more years.

Now, in 2012, those "temporary" tax cuts are due to expire again. The "Fiscal Cliff" is the excuse being peddled this year for extending them all once again.

Anybody remember that before those tax cuts went into effect we very nearly had a balanced budget?

Anybody notice that the bipartisan solution to the "Fiscal Cliff" is to kill the deductions (mortgage interest, health insurance) important to the middle class, gut social safety net programs, and use the money saved to lower taxes yet further on the rich and corporations?
 
2012-11-27 08:12:28 PM  

PapermonkeyExpress: It would be interesting to ask any of these pro-tax increase "rich" people how many deductions and credits they take on their income tax return.


That is true in regard to Buffett. He basically sells a handful of shares a year and takes a $100k salary, living very farking modestly for a multibillionare. And he's giving away almost all of his wealth at death.

Admire him for his relative frugality and generosity, but it does mean he will never endure the individual tax impact that he is advocating on the majority of his wealth.
 
2012-11-27 08:15:04 PM  
this buffet guy is ridiculous, biatches about taxes, drinks freakin margaritas and sings about it, He is the worst time roll model ever
 
2012-11-27 08:17:40 PM  

olddinosaur: No, the problem here is, if products are to sell, then there has to be money in circulation with which to buy them.

If government took that money to waste on stupid boondoggles, then it is not there to spend.


When the government spends money, it doesn't disappear. It goes back into the economy through bank loans and spending by a company and its employees. For example, the moment you put your tax return or SS check into a bank, they start loaning that money out.

Fiscal policy is the use of government revenue collection (taxation) and expenditure (spending) to influence the economy.
 
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