Timothy R. Clark: Why we trust Warren Buffett

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  • JMT Springville, UT
    April 11, 2011 2:41 p.m.

    Let me add, my brother is one of those Wall Street types. About two years I ago I went to Wall Street to hangout and follow him around. Not my world but fun to watch. His boss is a 78 year old man worth about $2 billion. Likely no one on this blog have ever heard his name. He has been on Wall Street and everyone who is anyone knows him. He served on the board of directors for the New York Stock Exchange for almost two decades.

    We go to lunch where some bankers show up pitching different deals to this "briliant" banker. It was interesting to watch his response. With almost every business deal (he went through about a dozen) he measured his ability to sell them to governments. One product was a highly effecient water purifier. He was excited because he had contacts in various government agencies that he felt would be interested.

    Why sell five or ten to the open market when with the right contacts you can get governments to buy them thousands at a time. He's been doing this for fifty years! This is how it works...we need change.

  • JMT Springville, UT
    April 11, 2011 2:36 p.m.

    Evidence a-plenty, just where to look. Let me be perfectly clear, I am NOT saying that Buffet broke the law. He did nothing more then hire lobbyists and strategists and got onto the government gravy train.

    Bill Gates is also fabulously wealthy. What was his big break? Windows operating system you say? Word? No. Windows is nothing more then a knockoff of Apple's windows. Word was second place to Word Perfect. Gates was briliant in that he went to Washington DC and got them to use his software for all government bids and documents. DC wanted a uniform process, he sold them a big package deal and all Federal employees began using his product for all purposes.

    This created a snowball effect in that every state, county, city, univeristy, water district, etc began using his product so they could effectively interact with the Feds. Gates didn't worry about building the best product, just selling it to the right people.

    Lots of people make lots of money via sweetheart deals from Government.

    USNavy buys two classes of littoral combat ships because of this same effect. It is called Crony Capitalism, or Public Choice Theory/school of Economics.

  • Nosea Forest Grove, OR
    April 11, 2011 1:27 p.m.

    In the book "Free Lunch," by David Kay Johnston, he describes well how Warren Buffet (as well as many other billionaires like him) made his billions off of government subsidies and privatizing public utilities for his own aggrandizement -- Warren Buffet even sent a team of highly paid lawyers to one of the midwest states to fight and crush an attempt by the citizens of that state to legislate, via the state legislature, an alternative to Warren's public utility that was excessively gouging them. These billionaires did not accumulate billions by being mister nice guy, and focusing on contributing to society -- quite the opposite is true, i.e. they only concentrate on taking, not giving (even their philanthropy is selfishly motivated, if for nothing else to burnish their public image). Even a cursory look at their pasts, actual transactions they have been in, quickly reveals who they really are, versus the all-wise guru image they wish to portray to the public.

  • ute alumni Tengoku, UT
    April 11, 2011 1:09 p.m.

    he lost my trust when he backed the community organizer.

  • BigD Salt Lake City, UT
    April 11, 2011 12:09 p.m.

    Wow! Lots of jealous people out there!

  • Most Truthful and Patriotic Layton, UT
    April 11, 2011 11:17 a.m.

    rightascension says "Buffett and Gates may claim they will give away most of their fortunes -- but they have not yet done so."

    Oh yes, there is.

    Buffett and Gates funded the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
    I'm sure you can check that out.

    Has it ever occurred to you WHY Buffett and Gates are no longer the world's richest men? It's because they gave half of their money away -- and are giving more away, every year.

    How come the more liberal wealthy people are always degraded, and the Koch Brothers can spend billions on a Tea Party....and everyone ignores it?
    Soros (liberal) = bad
    Kochs (conservative) = saintly

  • FDRfan Sugar City, ID
    April 11, 2011 10:17 a.m.

    Is there any evidence that there was some kind of insider trading going or or that he used bribery to get those subsidies? Many investments go sour or soar due to actions and events subsequent to the investment decision. Surely you would not lampoon a man just because he was smart enough to see things not easily seen?

    If he did in fact use lobbyists to influence the subsidies or received insider information then you are justified. But those actions are much harder to conceal than in the past. If we, as a nation, uphold "secret combinations" when they are exposed then we deserve decreed associated woes.

  • Hellooo Salt Lake City, UT
    April 11, 2011 10:14 a.m.

    Thank you Mr. Buffet and Mr. Clark. It is wise to learn from wise men. It is, also wise to know they are just men. Any person that can lose 1/3 of the value of their potfolio with excellent information like Mr. Buffet has demostrates that even oracles are just human. In politics, his opinion is of little worth, as demostrated in California, he like many refuse to understand that the problem in government is not income, it is expenses. He knows this in business, but does not apply it to the government sector. Do you think he would advocate in any of Hathaway's owned companies the adminstrative overhead like we have at every level of government? As for the foundations, think the oldest form of tax shelter in the USA for both Gates and Buffet. And, endless means to keep all their money and be held up as "great benefactors" for doing so.

  • rightascension Provo, UT
    April 11, 2011 10:12 a.m.

    People trust and admire Warren Buffett because he made money and kept it. And in America, wealth equals righteousness. If he hadn't made any money, few -- if any -- would have taken him very seriously.

    Buffett and Gates may claim they will give away most of their fortunes -- but they have not yet done so. We shall see.

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    April 11, 2011 9:51 a.m.

    And he will support Obama in 2012 and continued to believe the rich should be taxed heavily (which taxation got the economy going in the 1990's----and eliminated USA debt.)

  • Reasonable Person Layton, UT
    April 11, 2011 8:36 a.m.

    "We" may trust Warren Buffett, but the Republicans do not.

    Remember, folks, that Buffett was economic advisor during Schwarzenegger's first gubernatorial campaign -- and Buffett's wise advise was that California low property taxes were one of the causes of the budget problems.

    Why did Buffett say that?
    Because property taxes on his modest Omana Nebraska home were higher than what he paid on a large, California mansion.

    Schwarzenegger wouldn't listen. California's even deeper in debt.

    Buffett and Bill Gates are good citizens; they know they have more money than they can ever spend, and have bonded together to give it away. The Gates Foundation is quietly saving children all over the world, and doing good things without a lot of publicity.

    Bless you, Warren.

    It's too bad people won't listen to your advice when it might cost them a few dollars.

  • JMT Springville, UT
    April 11, 2011 8:13 a.m.

    Sadly, Warren Buffet is perfectly situated to tell the story of modern America. He is a crony capitalist par excellance.

    Many of his transactions include very traditional, 'buy low, sell high' plans. Many of his actions though are very contrived. Take his massive purchase of railroads. Classic move straight from the board game Monopoly, yet start difference. First he buys massive shares in several railroad companies, within a year massive subsidies are announced from Washington DC. He looks briliant and makes large profits for his clients via these new holdings, though sadly ONLY because taxpayers made it profitable. Without the subsidies from politicians like Barak Obama his massive purchase would have lost money. In fact, via crony capitalism all he has done is transfer the wealth of taxpayers, via Washington DC and the subsidies to his shareholders are Berkshire, Hathaway.

    His success is far less about genius, far more about lobbyists. He is right up there with General Electric, which we now know pays ZERO taxes yet makes tens of billions of dollars. And spends a few hundred million on lobbying.

    Spare me the brilliance of Warren Buffet. I'd be happy for an honest, free man.