Warren Buffett’s father wouldn’t have liked the ‘Buffett tax’

Chris Moody

President Obama announced this week that he will name a $1.5 trillion tax increase on the nation's millionaires after investor Warren Buffett. The move might make Buffett's father, an outspoken libertarian, turn over in his grave.

Washington Examiner columnist Philip Klein points out that the late Howard Buffett, a four-term Republican member of Congress, was a fierce critic of Franklin D. Roosevelt and an opponent of tax hikes in his day:

Warren Buffett may be a committed liberal Democrat, but his father, Howard Buffett, was a four-term Republican member of Congress (1943-49 and 51-53), a John Bircher who fought FDR and warned that the expansion of government was eroding individual liberty.

"Today's situation is the result of an alarming and devious governmental intervention in the economic affairs of the nation for objectives not contemplated by the men who wrote the Constitution," Buffett lamented in a lecture excerpted in the December 1956 issue of the libertarian journal The Freeman. "Historically, in America the producer was protected by government in the enjoyment of the fruits of his labors. That protection of his property explains the glorious material progress already recounted."

In the lecture, Buffett went on to observe that, "The last 40 years have seen a gigantic expansion of political power over economic affairs by the federal government. This change is linked by many scholars to the passage of the income tax law in 1913."

The elder Buffett supported the gold standard, bemoaned "crony capitalism" and criticized Republicans for standing by without acting. (Sound familiar?)

The younger Buffett, a billionaire, wrote an op-ed article in The New York Times that called for increasing taxes on the wealthy.