Tag Archives: federal budget

The Clueless Petitioner (Yet again, the Buffett Deficit “Fix”)

Just got a totally clueless comment on a prior post. In that post I debunked the widely distributed chain-letter email claiming that Warren Buffett endorses a fix to the federal deficit that would make members of Congress ineligible for re-election whenever the deficit rises above 3% of GDP.

In the first place, Buffett was joking, and he never endorsed the chain-letter email. Secondly, if enacted, the proposal would seriously hurt the economy. It would, in effect, put the U.S. in a bind like the one that euro-zone nations have been in during the last five years.  Lacking authority over their own currency, they have been answerable to a central bank insisting on economic austerity at a time when government spending is the best—in fact, pretty much the only—means of lifting their economies out of stagnation and high unemployment.

The comment comes in the form of a request for me to sign a petition offered to the new White House We the People program, an effort by the Obama administration to make it easy for ordinary citizens to offer petitions to the government about their concerns. At best, the program has had mixed results, largely because of petitions like this one.

The commenter uses the same language as the phony chain-letter email:

Please sign my petition to End the deficit! If the US deficit exceeds 3% of GDP, all sitting members of Congress become ineligible for re-election

Warren Buffett, in a recent interview with CNBC, offers one of the best quotes about the debt ceiling: “I could end the deficit in 5 minutes,” he told CNBC…. [and so on, exactly the same as the chain-letter email].

You’d think a commenter would actually read my post before offering a comment and asking me to sign his petition. But, evidently, that’s not how it’s done these days.

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Warren Buffett Fixes Congress! (Part 1: Ending the Deficit in 5 Minutes)

Another email chain-letter landed in my inbox today, just like the one I got in July. Back then, I was too busy to post anything about it. But, now, with “fiscal-cliff” disinformation running high, it’s a good time to comment.

The email quotes Warren Buffett as recommending a law that would make all sitting members of Congress ineligible for re-election whenever the federal deficit tops 3% of GDP. Then it quotes a proposed Congressional Reform Act of 2012. Or is it a proposed constitutional amendment? It’s not clear. Finally, it says Buffett is asking everyone to forward the email to twenty people on their mailing list.

Of course, with the endorsement of Warren “Oracle of Omaha” Buffett, who could object?

But an almost identical email has been circulating since 2009, pushing the same legislation labeled each year as the reform act of 2009, 2010, and so on. None of these earlier versions even mentions Warren Buffett. Buffett had nothing to do with the current email and certainly did not say you should pass it on. This much of the story is well documented (e.g., here and here).

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