tv The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Comedy Central December 3, 2012 7:30pm-8:00pm PST
captioning sponsored by comedy central >> jon: welcome to "the daily show"! welcome to "the daily show," my name is jon stewart. my guest tonight, warren buffett and financial journalist carol loomis. they are on the show tonight and -- tonight meeting for the first time on this show. (laughter) they wrote a book together, actually. as you know, if there's one thing all americans can agree on, we love black friday. whether you're a fan of shopping or trampling.
(laughter) which is why i was just -- i was so upset to see on this holiest of days a news story about people protesting in front of their local wal-mart. >> thousands of wal-mart employees are staging walkouts and protests over this holiday weekend. the workers are upset about having to work on thanksgiving day and they're also speaking out for better pay and benefits. >> jon: what? (laughter) you get to work at wal-mart on thanksgiving day! (laughter) a ring side seat to the greatest show on earth. >> i it's a black friday tradition. >> (bleep). i'll stab one of you mother (bleep) (audience reacts). >> jon: do you know how much people pay to go to fights like that? (laughter) you get paid -- some -- to see it. (laughter)
isn't that benefit enough? truly your vest runeth over. (laughter) but that's not enough for you, greedy hourly slightly over the federal poverty line employees. (laughter) now you want to unionize! besides, everyone knows comparatively speaking in the wal-mart world you've got it pretty good. >> violent protests in bangladesh this morning after a deadly garment factory fire. saturday's fire killed at least 112 factory workers. the factory is owned by an exporter whose clients include wal-mart. >> jon: see? (laughter) wah-wah! "i work at wal-mart in the united states! i can't afford to take my kids to the doctor!" well, at least where you work there are exits! (laughter and applause) and the worst part of that fire -- (cheers and applause)
the worst part of that fire is the devastating impact that it's going to have on wal-mart. >> this is a big giant prize for unions. this is a big giant prize for those who are anti-capitalism. if it's not this, it will be something else. >> i think it's a stretch, an amazing stretch, to try to pin this on wal-mart. i can't think of a worse target. >> jon: oh, i actually -- i believe that's wal-mart's slogan: "think of a worse target." (cheers and applause) yeah, that was joe. joe came up with that in the meeting and we're all like "we're using that." (laughter) i'm sorry. you were being callusly dismissive about the working conditions in bangladesh to score points against american unions. continue. >> don't think that the people in bangladesh who perished didn't want or need those jobs as well. i know we like to victimize everyone in this country, particularly when it comes to the poor profit motivation which
is being assaulted. >> again, it's tragic and it's one of the things i don't think something like this will happen again. >> jon: okay, that's a relief. (laughter) your first argument appears to be "yes, okay, they died in a fire but they had jobs!" (laughter) i think it's reasonable to assume your job won't entail some kind of inferno unless it's mentioned in the ad which is -- oh, okay, well, that -- i didn't realize. now your second argument is this -- (applause). your second argument appears to be -- your second argument is, "hey, man, this is just a one-off." which could be a powerful hypothetical argument that i might buy into if moments earlier the giant graphic next to your head had not mentioned the 500 people over the past two decades killed in garment fires. although perhaps you're just saying this type of fire won't happen again in this particular now burned-down factory.
(laughter) to which i would say touche. (laughter) but i guess the point is unions will stop at nothing to destroy our way of life. and wal-mart is not the only american treasure on their hit list. >> if you love twinkies, sorry, brace yourself for this one. >> jon: let me stop you right there. (laughter) if you love twinkies you are probably already used to being told to brace yourself for bad news. (laughter) only usually it's from a guy who looks like this. (laughter) but, all right. continue. >> if you love twinkies, sorry, brace yourself for this one. time has run out for america's iconic baking company. >> after 82 years, hostess is shutting down following a bankruptcy filing. >> no more twinkies, no more ho-hoes, no more sno balls. >> jon: no more ring dings, no more ding-dongs, no more dong
rings. (laughter and applause) oh, my god, that's not cream. (audience reacts) hostess will -- it's jelly. (laughter) (sighs) hostess will be no more! oh, no! where will i go now for my stomach aches and self-medication? where will i get the crap to fill the bottomless pit in me that will never be filled. boxed wine? arby's? i'm not going back there! (laughter) what could have destroyed this beloved american diabetes dispensary. >> it's the unions that really did it in because they would not allow hostess to operate efficiently. >> hostess, which was forced to close its doors due to union demands, they couldn't afford to stay in business during a long worker strike.
>> the union preferred killing the company to accepting what they thought was a bad deal. >> jon: unions! you've got to imagine gingrich is taking this hard. he is, after all, half stpho * ball on his father's side. (laughter) just to play devil dog advocate here, could there be another reason hostess went bankrupt? >> this company could not run itself efficiently. in the last ten years they've had seven c.e.o.s. >> jon: oh, uncertainty. i'm told the market abhors it. >> after the 2004 bankruptcy, the workers took wage and benefit cuts. it wasn't enough. the c.e.o. gave himself a 300% raise. >> jon: so the unions had already taken a cut in somewhat inverse verse proportion to the sececi owe's rising compensation which he deserves for convincing to union to take that cut. anything else other than unionss that could have sabotaged the country? >> sales drops as mom swapped out the fat-filled goodies and white bread for healthier
lunchbox foods. >> jon: (bleep)ing moms. (laughter and applause) (cheers and applause) how dare you, moms? you know, maybe i just love america this much, but i say let mars have them! (laughter) it's a "mars needs --" i see a lot of children's movies because i have children. you know what i also think-- and this is just a marketing tip-- let's not forget the hostess mascot is some kind of high spirited country western dildo. (laughter) but as always the real victims here be the children. >> it's sad they're not going to know what twinkies are. they're going to grow up not knowing what twinkies are. (laughter) you know, each generation has its burdens, my kids might never
know the pleasure of doing doughnuts in the high school parking lot in an a.m.c. gremlin. i grew up not knowing polio. you get by. (laughter) if we're really craving a hit of twinge, we can always make our own. >> there are 37 ingredients in this little cake. many you'd expect, some flour, lots of sugar, corn syrup. but how about corn dextrin? that's the sticky glue found on the back of envelopes and that smooth creamy center? it's made from cellulose gum. that's used in hair gel, shampoo, even rocket fuel. >> jon: rocket fuel! that explains the blue flame that shoots out of my ass whatever i eat a twinkie! rectum, we have a problem. (cheers and applause) you know what though? when i was making my twinkies i forgot the cellulose gum. oh, i'm an idiot! i made myself a twinge key using only 36 ingredients.
c.e.o. of berkshire hathaway, she is the senior editor at large of "fortune" magazine as well as author of the new book "tap dancing to work: warren buffett on practically everything, 1966 to 2012." please welcome to the program warren buffett and carol loomis. (cheers and applause) nice to see you, sir. nice to see you. (applause) how are you? >> never better. never better. >> jon: great to see you guys. the book is called "tap dancing to work." tell me about this collaboration first of all. you are a very renown and well-respected financial writer. you run -- >> let's not get into it. (laughter) >> jon: how did this come to be? >> how did the book come to be? jon: yes. >> well i got the idea when we had been covering warren for 40 years. i thought we ought to pull all this together. because we'd had a great collection of stories, many of them written by other writers,
not me at all, and i thought we should do it and then it only took me six years to get it done. (laughter). >> jon: now, are you a font of wisdom to some extent? is that -- were you aware that someone was collecting your thoughts from 1966 on until now? >> i've had very few since then, actually. (laughter) but carol's been an observer for a long time. we talk almost everyday and she knows more about me than she put in the book. >> that's for volume two. >> jon: oh, volume two, i like this. more salacious, huh? (laughter) now we're getting somewhere. obviously you've been at the forefront of the news lately because of this argument that we're having in this country now about taxation, how to fund the government while dealing with the deficit. you have suggested something which coincidentally is called the buffett rule which i think, like lou gehrig's disease is
very unbelievable that this rule would just happen to be promoted by -- >> the diseases were already taken. (laughter) (applause) >> jon: i assume bufferin has something to do with it. you have come out and said you would prefer something where the rich pay a flat -- at least 30%. on their money. why do you say that? >> well, if they make over a million, i say on the amount over a million they ought to pay at least 30% and over $10 million they ought to pay 35%. most of the people -- in fact, virtually all of the people in my office, 20 or so people, between payroll and income taxes they pay more than 30%. a number of the extremely wealthy people pay less than 15% and some pay less than 10% and some pay nothing. >> jon: this is because of capital gains and the cayman islands. >> the whole works. >> jon: and bags that are kept
dangling. (laughter) >> you're getting warm. >> jon: exactly. what then about the argument where they say that's double taxation if you do capital gains and that will hurt investment. this is clearly something you also have to deal with at the magazine. >> well, we hope so, double taxation. >> jon: but is that a valid -- >> well, if somebody out there is making $70,000 a year at whatever their job they're paying income tax and payroll taxes. they're getting taxed twice, too. and in my own case i paid a very low rate in 2009 which i wrote about. practically all my capital gains came from bond, there was no double taxation there. >> jon: they're saying that unless the rich can pay less they won't invest in companies and america. that the job creators must be -- and we should also get them -- i guess it's called feather beds. (laughter) >> i'll do this. i'll call you at 1:00 tonight
and i will tell you, "jon, i've got the best idea i've ever had, i'm going to put every penny i've got in it. do you want to come along." will you say "how much tax do i have to pay before i make a fortune?" >> jon: i think the first thing i would say is "why are you calling me at 1:00 a.m.? what's going on warren?" (laughter) i would say "warren, what's this really about?" (laughter) here's what's been fascinating me. sort of now the traditional conservative argument is we must have low taxes or the economy won't flourish, but i guess in my mind i think of traditional economy being the post-new deal economy of relatively robust high tax rates on high earners and a social safety net that is part of the social compact. to me that's tradition. that's 80 years. >> that's american. and i've -- you know, i've been working at investments -- well, really i bought my first stock
when i was 11 but i started selling stocks when i was 20 and i sold stocks when personal income tax rates got as high as 91%. i've sold them when capital gains rate got as high as 39.6% and we had some wonderful periods of growth and g.d.p. and the middle-class as well as the rich prospered when tax rates were much higher than they are now. >> jon: well, we'll take a commercial and come back and talk about an op-ed that you wrote which laid out some of the math of this and some other financial going on in the world. we'll be right back. more from warren buffett and carol loomis right after this.
(cheers and applause). >> jon: welcome back, we're talking with warren buffett and carol loomis. you know, we're talking a little bit about -- i consider you sort of an icon of the value economy as opposed to -- i don't even want to say the growth economy, but this, like -- for instance, the financial sector became -- i don't know the exact term, but something like 20% of our economy over the last ten or 20 years. that seems like an awful volatile sector to be relied upon to drive that much of the g.d.p. is that incorrect or correct? >> well, more and more the "forbes" 400 come from the financial arena. we've got a huge economy and people that catch the crumbs falling off the table can make a lot of money. >> jon: that's an incredibly honorable way to describe them. (laughter) crumb catchers! (laughter) do you think we have a
satisfactory domestic economic policy? >> well, i think what made america great is going to continue to work. but i think that, you know, the last year -- couple of years washington's kind of tested the patience of the rest of -- t -- but we've got 312 million people that i don't think 535 can impede their progress over time. >> jon: now, you guys have been friends for a long time. >> 45 years. >> jon: 45 years. he is -- i don't know, the eighth largest company or the -- >> i think it's seventh, actually. anyway, high. >> jon: and you're a very nice woman who's done very well for yourself. do you resent his success? (laughter) are you a -- when you talk to him, do you say "why don't you distribute the wealth?" >> that's the initial five minutes of every conversation we have. (laughter) i get into this. >> jon: the first question she asks me is "why aren't i in your will?" (laughter). >> jon: well, let me just -- why isn't she in your will? (laughter)
>> now i want to hear the answer. (laughter) >> let's change the subject. i will point out in the last ten years i have probably paid taxes-- counting payroll taxes-- at a lower rate than carol has. it's wrong. >> jon: is it because we've got on the a place where we are valuing the investor class more than the working class? because i'm stunned now at the conflation of unobstructed capitalism and the american dream. somehow that's been conflated on that side of the right wing economics that you cannot impede the capitalists in any way if you want the american dream. but that strikes me as false. that unions, worker protections, that's an inoculation against socialism and communism. >> yeah, they think that i should be a protected species, kind of like the bald eagle or some kind of thing. that if anything is done it will kill -- i'm play someplace else, exactly. and 20 years ago, the "forbes"
400 had an aggregate wealth of $300 billion. now it's more than quintupled. that has not happened with the middle-class. >> jon: also, productivity of workers has doubled yet median income has stayed stagnant. >> yeah. yeah. >> very true. >> and i don't think the american public really understands that. it kind of snuck up on them. the tax rate -- i mean, you've got -- of the 400 highest incomes in the united states in 2009, the most recent years we have figures for, a quarter of the people paid taxes at a rate less than 15%. the payroll tax was 15.3% in that year. and six of them paid nothing at all. i mean, they weren't part of the 47%. -- they were part of the 47%. these people were big-time moochers. (applause). >> jon: oh, people are going to clap for that. we'll run out of time. but this idea that because in bangladesh and china they accept working conditions that americans would not consider
optimal that you can't ask for anything anymore because, hey, man, we'll just send our stuff over there. and i understand that but there has to be some sense of domestic policy that keeps that in there, yes? >> right. >> jon: well, i'm very glad. i would like the two of you, if i may, to keep you in a curio cabinet. because you are the two nicest people i think i've met. (laughter) and if i could just keep you in there and open it and go in and take a peek at you every now and then. (cheers and applause) warren buffett, it's on the back shelves now, "tap dancing to work." two of the nicest communists you will ever meet in your life. warren buffett and carol loomis. berkshire hathaway and "fortune" magazine. we'll be right back after this. (cheers and applause) úáé!é!é!é!&íki÷z÷z
(cheers and applause). >> jon: that's our show, join us tomorrow night at 11:00. neil young will be joining us. here it is, your moment of zen. >> well, i don't know what i'm going to do if i can't stick a straw in a twinge key an captioning sponsored by comedy central captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org