Recently, Warren Buffet recently wrote in the New York Times here that we cannot we must not continue giving breaks to the wealthiest tier of super-rich Americans. The tax code gives those who make more than $1 million/year, especially in non-wage ways, greater breaks than many people who make far less, doing more ‘work.’ He concludes, “My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It’s time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice.”
I think I know what those super-rich who might not be ready to give up those big tax breaks have been up to: reading science fiction. Specifically, it seems that they have been burning the oil with utopian fantasies combined with Heinlein’s libertarian phase and a dash of Kevin Costner’s Waterworld. Picking up a story in Details magazine, Yahoo! News’ Liz Goodwin reports that, “Pay Pal founder and early Facebook investor Peter Thiel has given $1.25 million to an initiative to create floating libertarian countries in international waters.” I don’t know Thiel’s finances or how much he pays in taxes, but I suspect that, as an avowed libertarian and an apparently accomplished chess player, he likely games the American tax system as best as he legally can. Looking at Thiel from a different perspective, he is emblematic of the problem that Buffett many other folks are worried about in terms of funding the American juggernaut. The super-rich enjoy the benefits of American prestige and power without paying their fair share of what it costs to run a country like the US. Now, Thiel wants to set off into international waters without so much as a by your leave. I can only hope that technopirates and their laser equipped shark friends pay them a fateful visit.