There’s some strange respect shown today for one particular multi-billionaire investor in the liberal pages of the New York Times. Friday’s lead story by Nelson Schwartz, “Buffett to Invest $5 Billion In Shaky Bank of America.” introduced Buffett as “Warren E. Buffett, the legendary investor, is sinking $5 billion into Bank of America in a bold show of faith in the country’s biggest, and most beleaguered, financial institution.” Schwartz also called him “the legendary investor” in a March 23, 2008 story.
In all, Times reporters have referred to Buffett as a “legendary investor” at least nine times in its pages over the last five years, not counting several references to him as a “legendary investor” on the paper’s DealBook blog. No other investor has been hailed as “legendary” in print more than once by the Times.
The top of Friday’s Business Day section story by Ben Protess and Susanne Craig also hailed Buffett’s bounty: “Buffett’s Bank of America Stake Viewed as a Seal of Approval.”
Why would a paper traditionally hostile to business interests hail this particular multi-billionaire business? Because Buffett is the sort of rich person liberals like – the kind who demands the government make him pay even more in taxes.
Buffett previously made waves with an August 15 Times op-ed that went viral in liberal circles, “Stop Coddling the Super-Rich,” pleading for the government to raise the effective tax rate on wealthy investors like him: “Some of us are investment managers who earn billions from our daily labors but are allowed to classify our income as “carried interest,” thereby getting a bargain 15 percent tax rate....what I paid was only 17.4 percent of my taxable income -- and that’s actually a lower percentage than was paid by any of the other 20 people in our office.”
Buffett is of course free to donate directly to the Treasury Department, or take his income as salary instead of in the form of capital gains and dividends, which would raise his effective tax rate.