"WASHINGTON/BOSTON (Reuters) - Warren Buffett is willing to put his money where his mouth is, if only congressional Republicans would join him.
The American billionaire investor, in the new issue of Time magazine, says he would donate $1 to paying down the national debt for every dollar donated by a Republican in Congress. The only exception is Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell - for whom Buffett said he would go $3-to-$1.
The idea stems from a New York Times opinion piece Buffett wrote last August in which he said the rich ought to pay more taxes. It sparked an instant controversy, with some Washington conservatives calling on the 81-year-old "Oracle of Omaha" to voluntarily pay extra.
McConnell said at the time that if Buffett felt "guilty" about paying too low a tax rate, he should "send in a check." This was quickly followed by introduction of a bill to give taxpayers an option on tax forms to make voluntary donations.
"It restores my faith in human nature to think that there are people who have been around Washington all this time and are not yet so cynical as to think that can't be solved by voluntary contributions," the Buffett told Time for an article hitting newsstands on Friday.
An aide to McConnell suggested that the Berkshire Hathaway CEO should expand his matching offer to President Barack Obama and his Democrats."
Mitch needs to quit. He isn't going to donate one red cent towards helping the nation's economy. Why would he? He has just a little longer to go of trying to make sure that the economy totally goes into the tank.
Finally, I want to talk about a story out of India which has me scratching my head.
"British newspaper The Observer released the undated video showing Jarawa tribal women - some of them naked - being lured to dance and sing after a bribe was allegedly paid to a policeman to produce them.
Under Indian laws designed to protect ancient tribal groups susceptible to outside influence and disease, photographing or coming into contact with the Jarawa and some of the Andaman aborigines is banned.
The tribe, thought to have been among the first people to migrate successfully from Africa to Asia, lives a nomadic existence in the lush, tropical forests of the Andamans in the Indian Ocean.
India's Tribal Affairs Minister V. Kishore Chandra Deo on Wednesday said an investigation had been ordered.
"An inquiry has been ordered and it is being headed by the chief secretary and director-general of police of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands," Deo told the Press Trust of India news agency.
"It's deplorable. You cannot treat human beings like beasts for the sake of money. Whatever kind of tourism is that, I totally disapprove of that and it is being banned also," the minister added.
Survival International, which lobbies on behalf of tribal groups worldwide, said the video showed tourists apparently enjoying "human zoos."
"Quite clearly, some people's attitudes towards tribal peoples haven't moved on a jot. The Jarawa are not circus ponies bound to dance at anyone's bidding," said Stephen Corry, the group's director, in a press release. [Source]
Oh my! Human Zoos? What's next, paying people to perform for our pleasure while we cheer them on? Wait.......
*Image of Warren Buffett removed per request of the illustrator.