Warren Buffett’s right-hand man lashed out at government handouts while also praising the bailout in a speech at University of Michigan.
Charlie in charge
Berkshire Hathaway’s Vice Chairman Charlie Munger and his longtime business partner Warren Buffett apparently do not see eye to eye when it comes to charity. In 2006, Buffett donated pledged 85% of his $40 billion fortune to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and has recently been urging more billionaires to do the same. Munger is having nothing of it. “There’s danger in just shoveling out money to people who say, ‘My life is a little harder than it used to be,’” Munger said at an event at the University of Michigan, which was moderated by CNBC. “At a certain place you’ve got to say to the people, ‘Suck it in and cope, buddy. Suck it in and cope.’”
Both billionaires, however, backed the bank bailout. Does Munger oppose individual charity but support corporate welfare? (more…)
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Posted in Hiar Learning, tagged Africa, Bill Gates, China, Environment, Main Street, Minnesota, Philanthropy, Politics, Wall Street on May 4, 2010|
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This is my third post on a topic of my choice for the Prospect‘s writing test (and the favorite of my sister, who graciously helped to copy edit my submissions). I give a Minnesotan take on the Oracle of Omaha in this piece. The first TAP test post had a green angle, the second talked up tax policy.
Warren Buffett is perhaps the only financer in history who is as revered on Main Street as he is on Wall Street. Buffett’s appeal in the Midwest—the part of the country that most closely resembles the mythical Main Street of American political lore—can be explained by his plainspoken criticism of financial excess, his long-standing commitment to philanthropy, and the fact that the Oracle of Omaha actually lives in Nebraska. Even the annual shareholder meetings of his $100 billion conglomerate Berkshire Hathaway are as American as apple pie.
So many were surprised by Buffett’s unabashed support for Goldman Sachs at what has been called “the informal summit of Main Street American capitalism.” No one should be shocked by Buffett’s satisfaction with the $5 billion preferred stock investment he made in Goldman or his support for the bank’s embattled CEO Lloyd Blankfein. Buffett’s statements are part of a broader pattern of advocating for one thing while profiting by contradicting his supposed beliefs.
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