Warren Buffett is out there again talking about how he has too much money.
The billionaire investor explained to a crowd of more than 1,000 on Wednesday why he’s committed to giving away most of his money, according to the Baltimore Business Journal.
"The surplus wealth I have has no utility to me," Buffett said at the Economic Club of Washington’s 25th anniversary dinner. "It has all kinds of utility to the rest of the world if used properly."
Buffett, who is worth an estimated $44 billion, according to Forbes, is famous for living a more simple lifestyle than others in his income bracket. The Oracle of Omaha is also a notable philanthropist, starting a pledge with fellow billionaire and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates to ask billionaires to donate half their wealth to charity.
And if every super-rich person followed Buffett’s lead, the economy might be better off. That’s because the wealthy are more likely to keep much of the money they have, while the less rich are more likely to spend it. In 2010, the world’s highest net worth investors had an extra $10 trillion sitting around that they weren’t doing anything with, according to a report from Scorpio Partnership cited by the Wall Street Journal.
At the same time, poor and middle-class Americans will probably use more of the money they get, according to left-leaning economist James Galbraith. Here's some of what he wrote in Foreign Policy about a prospective boost in the minimum wage:
What would workers do with the raise? They'd spend it, creating jobs for other workers. They'd pay down their mortgages and car loans, getting themselves out of debt. They'd pay more taxes -- on sales and property, mostly -- thereby relieving the fiscal crises of states and localities.
For Buffett though, the fact that extreme wealth is concentrated amongst a few individuals isn’t just an economic problem, it’s also an issue of fairness. The billionaire wrote in an op-ed in The New York Times last August that the U.S. should tax the super-rich at the same or higher rate as middle class earners.