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starbucks4ever (97.94)

Idiot of the day: Warren Buffett

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November 18, 2010 – Comments (32)

That was really stupid. To work 80 years for his stellar reputation - and to ruin it in one day with this article.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/17/opinion/17buffett.html?ref=opinion 

32 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On November 18, 2010 at 1:44 PM, Jbay76 (< 20) wrote:

ditto

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#2) On November 18, 2010 at 1:59 PM, blake303 (29.26) wrote:

I think his reputation is still intact. 

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#3) On November 18, 2010 at 2:07 PM, kdakota630 (29.69) wrote:

I just found this... basically a parody of the Buffett op-ed you linked to:

Dear Uncle Sucker . . .

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#4) On November 18, 2010 at 2:51 PM, silverminer (30.60) wrote:

zloj, finally something we can agree upon. :)

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#5) On November 18, 2010 at 2:54 PM, starbucks4ever (97.94) wrote:

kdakota630,

That was brilliant. 

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#6) On November 18, 2010 at 3:08 PM, Option1307 (29.77) wrote:

Ha ha ha +1 for #3!

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#7) On November 18, 2010 at 3:58 PM, thepull (99.43) wrote:

Once again,someone who has a slightly different world view than you isn't automatically an idiot. Investors are getting worse than people talking about politics.

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#8) On November 18, 2010 at 4:30 PM, starbucks4ever (97.94) wrote:

#7

He just got an "Idiot of the day" award. In and of itself, that does not imply permanent idiocy. 

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#9) On November 18, 2010 at 4:57 PM, outoffocus (23.20) wrote:

He lost is credibility in 2008 when he was openly cheerleading the bailouts as they were happening.  So though I am not surprised as his letter, I am appalled to the point of nauseum at the amount of butt-kissing in this oped.  Somebody send him some lip balm.

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#10) On November 18, 2010 at 5:57 PM, fewl10 (< 20) wrote:

I once read a book about Warren Buffett: The Making of an American Capitalist.

In the book, one of his quotes was "it takes a lifetime to build a reputation, and five minutes to ruin one."  Looks like he just put in his five minutes.  What an A$$HOLE.  At least he gave the money to charity, though. 

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#11) On November 18, 2010 at 6:04 PM, BillyTG (29.44) wrote:

thepull, bankers/billionaires/coorporatefatcats are getting worse than politicians at being corrupt.  Buffett has plenty of company.

I'll have to remember that "world view" is the new euphemism for hypocritical sellout.

What disappoints me about Buffett is that for years I talked him up as a genius who gives a crap about people and doing what is right, who understood the system and was working to change it to the advantage of ALL citizens.  Here and now, during what could be the last gasps of air of our failing economy, he has the chance to be a hero. 

He's an old man with an umatched history and could cement his legacy by exposing the emperor's nakedness in a way no other American can.  Instead, he has chosen to protect his Fed-pumped, Government-bailouted, sweethearted fortune by breaking rules and encouraging more of this fake "capitalism" that comes at MY expense and that of others who pay taxes without getting any handouts or special investment deals.  So, yeah, I'm no longer impressed by the man, and it has nothing to do with his "world view."

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#12) On November 18, 2010 at 6:50 PM, HarryCaraysGhost (99.69) wrote:

Dear Warren,

As a shareholder, I was pretty much disgusted by your comments in the NYT. Although I appreciate your trying to get the most bang for my buck, I would prefer you do it in the silence of backroom deals. since we all know this-

Dear Uncle Sucker . . .

is closer to the truth.

What do you guys think should I send the e-mail?

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#13) On November 18, 2010 at 7:49 PM, starbucks4ever (97.94) wrote:

And maybe this will explain it all:

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6AG5LA20101117 

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#14) On November 19, 2010 at 1:11 AM, walt373 (99.83) wrote:

It takes a lot of guts to side with the government on this issue. Being anti-government is mainstream right now. He knew it would be an unpopular move before he wrote it. Buffett has never been scared to shake up the establishment and speak his mind against dishonesty, greed, and foolishness in corporate America and has been known to have some pretty radical political views as well. The rare times that he sides with the man, I think people should give him the benefit of the doubt and, for the sake of honest intellectual discussion, assume he truly believes what hes saying and consider why he may be saying it. Just my 2 cents.

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#15) On November 19, 2010 at 1:26 AM, truthisntstupid (86.66) wrote:

I am anti-herd as well.

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#16) On November 19, 2010 at 1:37 AM, BillyTG (29.44) wrote:

Is there a chance he's pulling a reach around on us, one last big politcal ploy to expose the big lie?

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#17) On November 19, 2010 at 7:04 AM, FreeMarkets (94.58) wrote:

The most important line in the op-ed was this: "My own company, Berkshire Hathaway, might have been the last to fall, but that distinction provided little solace."

Let me rewrite it: "Thank you Uncle Sam for bailing me out, otherwise I would have gone down in history as the only billionaire to have lost it all."

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#18) On November 19, 2010 at 7:46 AM, whereaminow (23.71) wrote:

I grew up idolizing Buffet. Now he sickens me. He's a disgusting, hypocritical, arrogant fool.  He grew rich on paper - his record taking off in 1971 when the world went completely fiat.  Now that this phony world is collapsing around him, he doesn't want to sink with the ship.

The rising tide (paper money) lifted all boats, including his.  And it was going to sink him if it wasn't for the government.

He's now a third rate whore. A despicable piece of garbage that sucks at the government teet to save himself from destruction. F*cking prostitute. 

David in Qatar

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#19) On November 19, 2010 at 8:02 AM, starbucks4ever (97.94) wrote:

#17,

I remember him telling shareholders at about that time that Berkshire was safe and bankruptcy rumors were false...

#18,

A political whore, sure, but of  the honest variety - the one that openly admits being a whore :) 

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#20) On November 19, 2010 at 8:24 AM, starbucks4ever (97.94) wrote:

#14,

Being against the bailout of the financial system is still very much a marginal view expressed in blogs and also on several financial sites, usually of the goldbug persuasion. "Thanks for the bailout" is the mainstream. 

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#21) On November 19, 2010 at 9:30 AM, mtf00l (46.37) wrote:

@whereaminow

I'm never sure where you stand on issues...

and that's what I like about you! =)

 

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#22) On November 19, 2010 at 11:34 AM, SkepticalOx (99.45) wrote:

#20 - Oh come on @ "marginalized" view? No, all those tea party protests, CNBC, Fox Business talking heads, etc. etc. against the bailouts is not a "marginalized view". Anger @ the bailouts and big government is very much in vogue right now. 

I'm surprised all of you are even acting surprised that Buffett penned this article. He's only been saying all these things since the bailouts were in discussion. And to add on, he is very much a liberal on issues such a taxation. His views on the need for a more progressive tax system and his support for an estate tax has always been there.  

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#23) On November 19, 2010 at 11:39 AM, SkepticalOx (99.45) wrote:

#17 Uh... Did you read the dang quote properly? He essentially said that his company would be the last to fall if there was no bailout... Essentially stating that if he went down, every single other billionaire in the U.S. would've gone down too. 

Berkshire had a triple AAA rating plus some $40 billion in cash and was the one doing the bailing out (to GS and GE). Way to spin. 

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#24) On November 19, 2010 at 11:48 AM, truthisntstupid (86.66) wrote:

Yeah, Berkshire Hathaway was really hurting...the government "saved"  Berkshire Hathaway.

This crap digusts me.

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#25) On November 19, 2010 at 12:02 PM, starbucks4ever (97.94) wrote:

#23,

If AIG failed, GS would go down together with Buffett's investment. Ditto for GE. Add to that S&P falling lower than 666, exaggerating Buffett's losses on his options, plus panicked creditors calling the loans, and Ch 11 was becoming real. Meanwhile, real companies with real assets and income such as WMT would be left standing, laughing at Buffett for his reckless risk-taking. So Warren COULD end up in the same company with Dick Fuld had the government decided to appoint a different set of winners.

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#26) On November 19, 2010 at 12:11 PM, Atheist4816 (< 20) wrote:

Buffett is commenting on the attempt at recovery not how the problems started

 The other 'Uncle' article is focussing on what got us into this "Republican Recession" and how this "Republican Deficit" came about in a previously booming economy

 The two conversations are discreet in this context and I suspect the latter is what Buffett refers to slow and frustrating Government.

 His point in the article is that since the Republican Recession started the people now at the helm have done a surprisingly good job at keeping the ship under steerage

 The Republican Deficit was heavily worsened by an unnecessary war, whereas at least current efforts, whilst increasing the debt, are at least trying to amerliorate the Republican Recession and help rectify the mess of the health system

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#27) On November 19, 2010 at 12:20 PM, SkepticalOx (99.45) wrote:

#25 - Buffett didn't invest in either GE or GS until after the bailouts were made apparent that they were going to happen. Secondly, both investments were only $5 billion each. Third, his long-term put options required no collateral. The majority of Berkshire's equity portfolio were in companies with hard assets. 

Wreckless risk-taking? Hah.  

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#28) On November 19, 2010 at 5:23 PM, TheHarm (< 20) wrote:

I wish I could thumbs down this blog post.  If you look that was written in the "opinion" section of the NYT.  The man is entitled to his opinion. 

Furthermore, it's easy for some to now say that economic Hiroshima would not have happened if we let the major institutions fail.  Hard to say what "could have" happened.  For someone like Buffett whose businesses are intimately tied to the global economy it is easy to say that the bailout was necessary.  His businesses give him a window into the strength or weakness of the system.  If he says it was necessary I believe him as he's at a greater vantage point than the rest of us.  

The idiot is the one who posted this blog without any reasoning to back up his claims.

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#29) On November 19, 2010 at 5:41 PM, starbucks4ever (97.94) wrote:

#28, 

The idiocy was not in having an "opinion" (in his case, it was not so much an opinion, as the reluctance to become yet another victim of excessive leverage), but in ruining his reputation. As a successful businessman, philanthropist, and author of aphorisms, he was one of a kind. As a bootlicker, he is going to be so common that his reputation will be hardly worth a dime. It was like exchanging a diamond for glass beads. 

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#30) On November 19, 2010 at 8:28 PM, TheDumbMoney (44.55) wrote:

I don't think Buffett has ruined his reputation.  He has burnished it, in my eyes.  He is just the same contrarian and the long-term thinker he has always been.  Bless him.  In Fall 2008, when everyone thought America was toast, he was penning op-ed-odes to America.  Now when everyone has decided that the ultimately not-very-costly bailouts were the end of all horror, he is defending them.  He's a Great American.

Comment #12 posted the link to the "Dear Uncle Sucker" satire.  In my view, like most of what Barry Ritholtz writes, that satire totally misses the point.  It does not matter how much the government was at fault in causing all of this mess (it was, in my view, most of all).  Nor does it matter how much the banks were at fault (they were).  Nor does it matter how much we were at fault (we were).  It had to be done.  All that matters is that:  A) without the bailouts, in the words of George W. Bush, this "sucker [was] goin' down" and B) the taxpayers ultimately stand to lose very, very little money, as most has already been paid back, with interest, and much of the rest will be paid back.  Goldman Sachs?  Repaid.  With interest.  And so on. 

It is so easy to throw stones, but people have clearly forgotten what the world was like in October 2008.  Meditate for a moment and recall....  It was BAD.  No interbank lending.  Most critically of all, no loans for small business (loans which they often need to bridge earnings gaps, or they have to fire people).  No residential lending.  The entire credit system grinding to a something worse than a standstill, a total crack-up.  GM and Chrysler (and millions of related American jobs, jobs now not lost) swirling in the bowl. 

Buffett gets the bigger picture, and would have supported the bailout if he had not made a dime.  Buffett is not a hypocrite; he has always been honest about how he felt about the bailouts, and has never tried to hide how he benefited.  How could he?  Who among us is willing to admit we still have a job because of the bailouts?  If you don't think the bailouts (in some form, even if not exactly as they occurred) were not necessary, I submit you just don't understand a whole lot about the credit markets and the underpinnings of the modern economy. 

But maybe you do understand only too well; that is what I actually fear most, I fear that the reality is that some people are angry about the bailouts precisely because they prevented the systemic failure that might, for example, have disastrously upended out debt economy and put us on a gold standard.  Is that the case?  Is that in any sense the source of the anger? 

Or is it just that the banks got "bailed out"?  And if it's just that the banks got bailed out, does the fact that they repaid that money with interest have no meaning to you?  Do you think that if that money had instead been handed out to The People, that The People would have repaid it with interest?  Have you done a cost comparison?  Or do you honestly think nothing needed to be done?  I'm seriously curious.

-- Engendering Hatred As Usual

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#31) On November 20, 2010 at 2:27 AM, TheHarm (< 20) wrote:

@zloj

You still didn't say why he is an idiot.  You are just name-calling.  How does this letter make him an idiot?  Give some reasons.  There are a lot of people who are pro-bailout and thankful for what the government did.  Does that make everyone, collectively, idiots?  Not everyone wanted to let the free market reign supreme to the demise of the entire economy.  Banks gave home loans to anyone and everyone, people used their houses as banks, and institutions took crazy risks.  Consumption was higher than the GDP.  Eventually the well ran dry and who was there to fill it?  Only good ole Uncle Sam and the Federal Reserve were left.  I, for one, appreciate a government that takes care of its people instead of letting the Great Depression 2.0 happen.

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#32) On February 03, 2011 at 7:35 AM, danielep (< 20) wrote:

fewl10 / outoffocus / kdakota630:

 you are three very unintelligent people.  The only people that should be railing against the bailouts should be the very poor, simply due to the fact that they would have had the opportunity to start over at equal wealth to the next man.  Your house, your car, your savings....they were all at risk.  I honestly cannot believe you don't comprehend the magnitude of the situation that took place in the fall of 2008.  I don't know who you work for, but I guarantee they would not have been able to cut you your next paycheck if Uncle Sam had not stepped in.  You should seriously consider educating yourself before you post absolutely ridiculous comments.

 Best Regards.

 Daniel. 

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