Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway “has been able to plow so much into renewable energy because it can use tax credits to offset profit at other businesses.”
How much did he “plow” in? Seems Mr. Buffett didn’t even know, but, when told by an aide that the number was $15 Billion, he immediately said he’d double his investment – presumably in an attempt to impress his ever-swooning investors. Wonder how many of those folks realized they might also be personally doubling down, in more ways than one?
How? The same investors who initially place their hard earned cash in the kindly man’s hands to manage as investment, are happy to additionally give to Mr. Buffett and – by extension – to themselves, their own money in the form of taxpayer subsidies. Benefiting from all this shifting of billions is, of course, the industrial wind profiteers.
I find it interesting that Mr. Buffett, creator of “a bold plan” to correct the injustice brought on by income inequality, stated recently, “I will do anything that is basically covered by the law to reduce Berkshire’s tax rate. For example, on wind energy, we get a tax credit if we build a lot of wind farms. That’s the only reason to build them. They don’t make sense without the tax credit.” (US News, 5/12/2014,) (h/t SOAR)
Mr. Buffett’s use of tax credits to increase his profits is a classic example of why I don’t support any taxpayer subsidy for any profit based private company such as Berkshire Hathaway.
To my mind, Mr. Buffett should set the example by refusing subsidies and, were he serious about fairness to taxpayers, should come out strongly against the continuation of the Production Tax Credit for Industrial Wind. After all, this is the same Warren Buffett who stated 2011 that he believed it was wrong that rich people, like himself, could pay less in federal taxes, as a portion of income, than the middle class, and voiced support for increased income taxes on the wealthy.
But, around the same time Mr. Buffett was railing against the rich not paying enough in taxes, he had no trouble suing the Federal Government over … yep … taxes. The Federal Government decided to counter sue and likely the taxpayers will pay legal fees for the government’s plead and Mr. Buffett’s own investors, with help from taxpayer subsidies, will pay for Mr. Buffett’s side. Notice how taxpayers always end up on both sides of the equation?
Even the NY Times noted at the time of the lawsuit volley that “it is an odd twist that a company controlled by Mr. Buffett — perhaps the most outspoken businessman in the country in support of raising taxes on the “mega-rich” — is now in a dispute with the government over his company’s paying too little in taxes.”
An “odd twist?” No … seems to me it’s just business as usual: