Warren Buffett writes a bizarre opinion in Wednesday’s New York Times, thanking Uncle Sam for all the bailouts.
Pretty Good for Government Work
By WARREN E. BUFFETT
Published: November 16, 2010
DEAR Uncle Sam,
Let me remind you why I’m writing. Just over two years ago, in September 2008, our country faced an economic meltdown. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the pillars that supported our mortgage system, had been forced into conservatorship. Several of our largest commercial banks were teetering. One of Wall Street’s giant investment banks had gone bankrupt, and the remaining three were poised to follow. A.I.G., the world’s most famous insurer, was at death’s door.
Free money to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac! Free money to AIG! Send that money–100% on the dollar–in the billions over to Goldman Sachs, and over to me, Warren Buffett! Thanks, Uncle Sugar!
Well, Uncle Sam, you delivered.
Money for me, one of the world’s richest men! Money for my banker friends! You’re just the best!
I don’t know precisely how you orchestrated these. But I did have a pretty good seat as events unfolded, and I would like to commend a few of your troops. In the darkest of days, Ben Bernanke, Hank Paulson, Tim Geithner and Sheila Bair grasped the gravity of the situation and acted with courage and dispatch. And though I never voted for George W. Bush, I give him great credit for leading, even as Congress postured and squabbled.
What a joke! These people should be in jail! Bernanke said under oath that he wouldn’t monetize the debt–and he just monetized the debt, printing almost a trillion worthless bucks. Hank Paulson made frequent calls to his banker friends during the worst of the crisis, tipping them off to what the government would do. Tim Geithner helped Lehman Brothers disguise the debts on its balance sheets, wiping me (a duped shareholder) clean.
So, again, Uncle Sam, thanks to you and your aides. Often you are wasteful, and sometimes you are bullying. On occasion, you are downright maddening. But in this extraordinary emergency, you came through — and the world would look far different now if you had not.
Your grateful nephew,
Warren E. Buffett is the chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, a diversified holding company.
From the Pileus blog of a few minutes ago:
But every now and then (meaning a few times per century), the US government is the world’s last, best, and even only hope. The crisis of 2008 was one of those times, as this somewhat cheesy piece by Warren Buffett reminds us.
It read like total cheese to me.
Here’s an article from AlterNet:
Posted by Les Leopold at 1:52 am
May 10, 2010
Let’s Hold Benedict Arnold Billionaire Warren Buffett Accountable
The government, led by Paulson, the former Goldman Sachs CEO, pumped $10 billion of TARP money into Goldman Sachs at 5 percent interest. But the oracle of Omaha, put in $5 billion and got 10 percent interest plus extra goodies if the stock price rose. Now that’s a smart businessman.
Mr. Buffett also knew that Goldman Sachs would probably snag lots more ($12.9 billion, in fact) in bailout funds via AIG, which had insured billions of Goldman’s toxic assets–including a bristling arsenal of financial weapons of mass destruction. Goldman Sachs was going to get a free ride on two colossal bad bets.
Fortunately for Goldman, their old colleagues who were now in control of the government purse strings decided that AIG was way too big to fail. So we bailed them out to the tune of about $180 billion. But the Goldman Sachs alumni went one step further. They allowed AIG to pay off its debts in full to Goldman Sachs: $12.9 billion went straight to the company’s bottom line and bonus pool. And pass those interest payments over to Mr. Buffett!
Oh man, do I hate Buffett’s piece in today’s New York Times.
I hope Buffett’s fans realize that their dividends and capital gains are partly derived from taxpayer bailouts and from those financial weapons of mass destruction Buffett used to denounce. You know, the ones that blew up the global economy and put tens of millions of Americans out of work?
Maybe it’s time to hold our billionaires to account, even the nice ones.
How about this, from Bloomberg.com:
Geithner Spoke to Buffett, Blankfein on AIG Aid Day (Update2)
By Hugh Son and Jamie McGee – January 22, 2010 17:19 EST
Jan. 22 (Bloomberg) — Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner spoke with Berkshire Hathaway Inc. Chief Executive Officer Warren Buffett, JPMorgan Chase & Co. CEO Jamie Dimon and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. CEO Lloyd Blankfein on the day of the bailout of American International Group Inc., phone logs show.
Geithner ran the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, which helped organize AIG’s rescue, on Sept. 16, 2008, when the calls took place. The logs were submitted by the New York Fed in response to a subpoena last week from the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Ain’t that great? Warren Buffett gets inside information directly from Little Timmy, suddenly decides to invest $5 billion in AIG the next week, and makes billions when the federal bailouts come through.
These people should be in jail. Martha Stewart went to jail for a great deal less. Martha Stewart went to jail because she’s Martha Stewart. Everybody loves Warren Buffett, a friendly old piece of Americana.
“So, again, Uncle Sam, thanks to you and your aides.” This must be a joke line. Yes, certainly, Warren Buffett is personally thankful.
Here’s someone in particular who Buffett is thankful to. From the Media Research Center:
Warren Buffett Give Obama ‘High Marks,’ Mocks Palin in CNBC Interview
Billionaire investor applauds White House’s Keynesian approach to the down economy.
By Jeff Poor
It’s not a secret that billionaire investor and Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A) CEO Warren Buffett is a supporter of President Barack Obama – having endorsed and raised money for him. But has Buffett’s approval of the president mirrored the declining marks he’s getting from the rest of America?
No, according to Buffett, Obama’s earned “high marks.” Buffett appeared on CNBC’s March 1 “Squawk Box” and assessed Obama’s presidency to date.
“Well, I’m very glad I voted for him,” Buffett said.
Of course you are. Obama made Little Timmy the Treasury Secretary and all the insiders got free money.
Did I tell you how sick today’s New York Times piece makes me?
Memo to Darryl Issa: THESE PEOPLE SHOULD BE IN JAIL! WE HAD A FINANCIAL CRISIS! I LOST A TON OF MONEY! OUR COUNTRY IS STILL HURTING! THESE PEOPLE ARE NOT HURTING! THEY’RE GETTING RICHER! SOMEWHERE, SOMETIME, ONE OF THESE PIGS HAS TO GO TO JAIL!
Glenn Beck is concentrating on the “spooky dude,” George Soros. As Glenn Beck should. Soros is indeed spooky, giving millions to tons of progressive organizations.
But lovable old Warren Buffett–how does he get away with robbery in plain sight?