Buffett: “There Has Been No Downturn”

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On Charlie Rose, Berkshire Hathaway big dismisses double-dip fears and/but gives lukewarm Obama endorsement, saying he supports the president “in general.”

Charlie Rose: “You see no specific example that was so egregious that you could not support the president?”

Warren Buffett: “That’s correct.”
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Charlie Rose: “So what role would the Buffett Rule play in that coming back?”

Warren Buffett: “Well, I think that it’s very important in terms of — in terms of getting people to make the kind of sacrifices they’re going to face. I mean, we’re going to be telling people that some of the promises have to be modified. And these are people that don’t have lots of margins of safety in their own affairs. I mean, they’re not like me. They don’t have — can’t just sell a few stocks or something like that if the payment doesn’t come through for this or that. So we’re going to be asking the American public as a whole to participate in a belt tightening when we bring down expenditures from 25 percent of GDP or thereabouts. And I think that when you have a very, very small group of ultra rich people, who have incomes of a million dollars or more, who are paying very low rates like I am, 17 percent in my case, but I have a number of — I’ve talked to a lot of people in the last few months. And a number of them are below my 17 percent, even though they’re in this — well, some of them are in this famous 400 category that averages $220 billion of income per person. I mean, that is some kind of income, isn’t it?”

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Warren Buffett: “No, no. I mean, you’re going to have to raise some more revenue than we’re raising now. I mean, we’re going to have to bring it up to 18 percent of GDP or 18 1/2. And we’re going to have to bring spending down. I mean, I don’t want to –”

Charlie Rose: “Then why did you convince the president to lay out what he would in terms of entitlements?”

Warren Buffett: “Charlie, I have never called the president in my life.”

Charlie Rose: “You’ve never called him at all.”

Warren Buffett: “Hm-mmm.”

Charlie Rose: “But he calls you up and asks you to comment?”

Warren Buffett: “Occasionally.”

Related Topics: Warren Buffett, 2012 Elections, Budget, Business, Congress, Economy, Education, House, Issues, Jobs, News, Senate

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