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Author: rationalwalk Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 214578  
Subject: Re: Buffett Calls for 'Strong' Estate Tax Date: 12/11/2012 8:13 PM
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My view is that he can advocate for whatever he wants but the implications of an estate tax are far more interesting with respect to Berkshire than the income tax. The estate tax has distinct effects on family businesses such as the ones Berkshire has historically purchased. Owners of such businesses know they must sell at least part of the business to pay estate taxes. But they want the business to remain in good hands since they care about it beyond the financial aspects. So Berkshire is a natural fit. And, in the past, many have been able to obtain Berkshire stock in tax advantaged ways.

So the estate tax has probably benefitted Berkshire significantly in the past.

This is less relevant today since we need elephants now, not smaller family run businesses. But it was important in the past.

I'm sure Buffett believes what he says about the merits of the tax (and I couldn't disagree more strongly). But this is also a case where a very strong perceived conflict of interst might exist and that remains largely unexplored by the media.

It sure is a better argument than the "Buffett should send his money to the IRS and shut up" line of attack.
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