Buffett Should Stick To What He Knows

I don’t know how many times Warren Buffett will have to be wrong before people stop listening to him. I know he is pretty good at investing and he has billions of dollars but he should probably stick to the things he knows in order to avoid looking like a fool. Buffett once quipped about the fact he paid a lower tax rate than his secretary despite making so much more. His income was from capital gains and hers was ordinary income. Both are taxed at different rates (capital gains are lower). The liberals ran with his statement to make the claim the rich do not pay their “fair share.”

Buffett was recently interviewed on PBS and he stated that America needs to go to a single payer health care system like the one in the UK. He stated America could afford it as a wealthy nation and that this is what will solve the health care issues.

To be fair, Buffett did state he was not an expert on health insurance. He probably should have ended there but he kept going and that made him the fool once again.

WOODRUFF: “Something that affects all businesses is the cost of health care in this country and you’ve been vocal about that. You argue right now, in fact, that the cost of paying for health care can affect a company even more than taxes.”
BUFFETT: “Well it does. I mean in terms of our competitiveness in the world; health care in 1960 was 5 percent of GDP. And there’s only a hundred cents to the dollar. So it’s gone from 5 percent to 17 percent. And it keeps going up. Corporate taxes have gone down from 4 percent to 2 percent. So corporate taxes are way less of a factor in American competitiveness than overall business than medical costs.”
WOODRUFF: “As we sit here today in Omaha, the Republicans in Congress are madly trying to figure out what to do to replace ObamaCare, the Affordable Care Act. Do you have a firm idea in your mind what ought to be done about ObamaCare? Everybody acknowledges there’s been some problems.”
BUFFETT: “I think that’s way outside of my circle of competence. But I would say this. You can’t have that five go to 17 and move on to 20 and 22 or 24 percent, because there are only a hundred cents in the dollar. Health care is gobbling up well over $3 trillion a year. It’s just about the same as federal, the federal budget, I mean it’s getting up there.”
WOODRUFF: “Are we now at the point where the country does need to think about some sort of single-payer system in some more or another?
BUFFETT: “With my limited knowledge, I think that probably is the best system. Because it is a system, we are such a rich country, in a sense we can afford to do it. But in almost every field of American business, it pays to bring down costs. There’s an awful lot of people involved in the medical — the whole just the way the ecosystem worked, there was no incentive to bring down costs.”
WOODRUFF: “It sounds like what you’re saying with a single payer system it’s easier to figure out a way to?”
BUFFETT: “More effective, I think.”

We can’t afford 22 or 24% of GDP going to health care but the government can afford to pay the bill? Now I know that Buffett thinks a single payer system will reduce costs but he is wrong. The government never does anything efficiently and it never does anything UNDER budget. One only needs to look at Medicare (>$79 Trillion in unfunded liabilities) to see how inefficient government is. That program costs billions upon billions more than it was ever estimated to cost and shortfalls are addressed by reducing the amount doctors are paid for the care they provide. And what assurance do taxpayers have that once government controls health care it won’t start adding to the program? Look at Social Security (>$15 Trillion in unfunded liabilities). The government established that socialist program many decades ago and has added to it along the way so that now we have untold numbers of people on disability or some other aspect that was added. We can’t afford to sustain that program because government mismanages it and keeps adding treats to the Christmas tree…

Any person, and Buffett should pay close attention here, who thinks single payer government run insurance is good should look closely at the Veteran’s Administration. That program is a single payer government run program that only involves a small portion of the population as a whole but it is rife with waste and abuse. It is a fiasco that costs so much there are talks of decreasing other military programs to move money to the VA. There are long lists and veterans wait for months, or longer, to be treated. Many die before they are ever seen. This is the kind of program the uninformed like Buffett want for all of us.

Buffett tells you we are a wealthy nation and can afford it. This flies in the face of reality because the government is 20 TRILLION dollars in debt and has unfunded liabilities that exceed 100 TRILLION dollars. We are not a wealthy nation. We are dead ass broke because of people like Buffett and their belief that government can provide, do it all and afford it.

Government can’t because the taxpayer can’t and that is the bottom line.

A few more notes. Buffett is old and will be dead before anything like he proposes would ever take place. He won’t have to deal with it and even if he lived his wealth would ensure he never had to deal with it (neither will his heirs). It is also important to note that in the interview Buffett claims that businesses can’t afford health care costs but government can [so basically, the burden should be shifted]. I have already shown government can’t afford it but the bigger picture here is that Buffett, a business man, is talking about how to make his (and all) businesses more profitable. He wants to do that by putting the burden of health insurance on the government thus clearing businesses of that debt and burden. Of course Buffett would claim government (read the taxpayers) can afford it. He wants people to embrace this socialist crap so his businesses will be more profitable.

Buffett admitted this was not his expertise. Perhaps he should have left it at that instead of offering his opinion on something he is woefully unprepared to address.

To recap, Buffett does not know what he is talking about, single payer is a terrible idea, increasing the GDP will lower the percent of GDP health care costs and opening the market for insurers will give people choices that will reduce costs without involving the government. The government cannot do anything on a budget.

Anyone who wants single payer should move to the UK and live there for the rest of their lives. They get what they want and the rest of us are not burdened by their stupidity.

Related:
US Debt Clock

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