I just watched my recording (DVR) of this PBS special – it was really very interesting – College kids asking questions of the two wealthiest men in the world.
The DVD is available from PBS for $24.95, of you can just wait for a repeat. It originally aired 17OCT06. Look for it – it was worth the hour of my life I spent watching it.
In particular I found it very interesting when a student asked if they (Warren and/or Gates) supported a “flat tax”. Buffet responded by basically stating things are too damn flat now – that the uber-rich aren’t required to pay enough. Instead of a flat tax he and Gates both seemed to support an escalated tax rate for the uber-rich.
This reminded me of a conversation I had with my dad once (shortly after he retired, and he was, for the first time in his life on a truly fixed income). I was complaining that I was going to have to pay more in taxes that year than I made three years before.
My Dad simply said, “I wish I had that problem.” He was right – the only reason I had to pay that much in taxes is because I made an unreal amount of money that year (due to some corporate buy-outs/mergers, etc).
I paid a lot in taxes, but I also made a lot – although at the time I felt it was unfair to tax me at such a rate, I don’t believe it any longer – as Buffet explains in the show, him and Gates got very good “tickets” in life – they were born in America, where they could take advantage of their intellect. They were born in a time that allowe3d them to make use of that intellect (i.e., it wouldn’t have served them very well to be the intellects they are if they were born 100 years ago – they wouldn’t have had the opportunities to use their intellects in a substantial way).
It was a very interesting program – I recommend you watch it if you see it listed on PBS.