There Was A Time When Buffett Lamented A Plunging Dollar, Blasted The Trade Deficit And A "Squandering" America: We Miss That Buffett

Tyler Durden's picture

There was a time when Warren Buffett was actually a credible, respected investor, when his views were prescient, and when his every action was not predicated by some supreme hypocrisy merely seeking to perpetuate the ponzi market, and/or praise the status quo which forces his record bet on "endless" American growth to be aligned exclusively with what the Fed does each and every day, i.e., destroy the value of the dollar. Yet 7 short years ago, the very same Warren Buffett wrote a scathing op-ed in which he lamented the decline of the dollar, the surging US trade deficit, and pointed out that any profits he and Berkshire may make courtesy of his then brand new non-US FX longs, "would pale against the losses the company and our shareholders, in other aspects of their lives, would incur from a plunging dollar." Well, the dollar continues to plunge courtesy of QE, and the pain is about to be far more acute once Bernanke really gets involved in the next 3-6 months. And the irony is that on November 10, 2003 Buffett admonished: "A perpetuation of this [dollar decline] will lead to major trouble." So much for once held ideals. And ironically, the same Buffett who now preaches Keynesian ideals at every opportunity, concluded his letter as follows: "In evaluating business options at Berkshire, my partner, Charles Munger, suggests that we pay close attention to his jocular wish: “All I want to know is where I’m going to die, so I’ll never go there.” Framers of our trade policy should heed this caution—and steer clear of Squanderville." It is no wonder then that reading between the lines,  people tend to forget the brilliant investor that Warren once was, and focus on the two-faced hypocrite that his "assets" have forcefully converted him into.

For all those who need a first hand experience of Buffett then, and Buffett now, we present the Oracle's Fortune 2003 Op-Ed titled: "America’s Growing Trade Deficit Is Selling the Nation Out From Under Us. Here’s a Way to Fix the Problem—And We Need to Do It Now." Funny how ideals die when tens of billions of dollars are at stake. We dare Mr. Buffett to reissue this article verbatim today.


Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
spekulatn's picture

Sell out Bitchez!

Dont Taze Me Bro's picture

He never sold out. He was a rotten s.o.b from the start but we were too naive to see it. I think the financial crises of 2009 brought everything into focus.

Think about it for a second: What drove the man to accumulate $60+ billion? It sure wasn't the need to help the world. An average saint would have stopped after making $1-5M. lols @ people who sanctified him.

Also, Buffett's edge did not come from his value investing method -- it came from his back-door dealings. His relationship with some of Wall St most corrupt/crooks go back to the early days of his career.

Thomas's picture

My take on Buffett...

(Thomas is a pen name).

In short, he's a dick. Just by chance, I got an email from the author on the original temptation article today. Gotta wonder what he thinks of Saint Warren now.

Dont Taze Me Bro's picture

Great article Dave! You have a good insight.


Also, thanks for the Lewis link. This was my first time reading that article. I think Michael Lewis is a great writer. I am glad he left the business and became an author. He is doing a great service to our society by writing about this stuff.

I hope Tyler does a post on this (if he hasn't already done it before):

Caviar Emptor's picture

2 years from now: Buffet to speak to us via webcast from his compound in Sri Lanka

LoneStarHog's picture

Bear Markets EXPOSE and DESTROY virtually everything.

Paper CRUSHer's picture

Tis wat Oracle of Omaha juiced to say....."when the tide goes out all that remains on the sandy bitches are naked shorts".

whatsinaname's picture

All those views were prior to the Buffett puts. Now he NEEDS the S&P to go to 1500 or BRK loses its skin.

Azannoth's picture

He really needs to retire now before he destroys his reputation totaly

septicshock's picture

I believe he has ensured everyone that he will hold onto his position till his dying breath. I admired him for his charity once, now I detest the man for selling out.

Hdawg's picture

His charity?...are you kidding me !?@#$

His foundation activities are not his decision. They are decided by the people that have left the doors open for him through the years.

Wakey, wakey

spekulatn's picture

The Oracle of Omaha has not changed.

Folks no longer buy his bullshit.

Good for all.

JR's picture

Exactly. There was never a time when Warren Buffett was not an insider.

Sudden Debt's picture

These are my principles and if you don't like them I have others - Groucho

I guess he thinks alike...

LePetomane's picture

Buffet bought into Goldman.  nuff said.

septicshock's picture

And the cock sucker praised them to boot for cheating the public.

william the bastard's picture

He was Obama's biggest endorsement after Teddy

Spalding_Smailes's picture

I would have done the same thing ...

He really did get a great deal.


Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK.A, BRK.B) agreed to buy $5 billion in perpetual preferred Goldman shares that pay 10% interest.  In addition, Berkshire receives warrants giving it the right to buy $5 billion worth of Goldman’s common shares at any time over the next five years at a price of $115 per share.

Based on Tuesday’s closing price of $125.05, Buffett made an almost instantaneous paper profit of about $437 million on the warrants. With yesterday’s advance, that paper profit rose to $783 million.

LePetomane's picture

Oh it was a good deal alright.  It just so happens I don't listen to him anymore.

william the bastard's picture

They went to $50 first and then he needed TARP and then he needed the US taxpayers to bail AIG to get the shares back to breakeven. What is the price now?

Übermensch's picture

Hey look I still drive a 60s Oldsmobile... Love me pleeease.

CosmoJoe's picture

Buffet enjoys making money, else he wouldn't be as rich as he is.  With that in mind, how can anyone be surprised when he advocates for policies that will keep him enriched?

Azannoth's picture

He plans to give away 95% of his money anyway, why does he even give a shit why not give everything away now ? Is he that senile already or does he have a plan and does a 180 at the end ?

william the bastard's picture

He missed the tech boom entirely.

Frank Owen's picture

"It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." He's worried about making it into heaven, so he's trying to buy his way in.

Geoff-UK's picture

He wants to leave a legacy, with Berkshire Hathaway. 

You know, like Henry Lehman, Emanuel Lehman, and Mayer Lehman did (Lehman Brothers, now deceased);  and Joseph Bear and Robert Stearns did (Bear Stearns, now deceased)...

Let's hope that insider-trading sonofabitch Buffett lives long enough to see Berkshire Hathaway's demise.


Handle with care's picture

I've paid less attention to what Buffet has to say after Taleb pointed out that in a population of millions of investors there has to be a "Warren Buffet" emerging purely through the laws of probability and his success may not be due to any great personal attributes whasoever, other than those necessary as a pre-condition to being in the group from which a Warren Buffet would emerge

Übermensch's picture

Well... u need to ask, what came first Buffet or the law of probability of someone like him  arising.

mikla's picture

I've paid less attention to what Buffet has to say after Taleb pointed out that in a population of millions of investors there has to be a "Warren Buffet" emerging purely through the laws of probability and his success may not be due to any great personal attributes whasoever, other than those necessary as a pre-condition to being in the group from which a Warren Buffet would emerge


This is an absolutely brilliant comment, and mathematically true.  It also describes Bill Gates -- he's not a genius, never was, but was in the "right place at the right time" with a decent gorilla-arm business sense.  Both Gates and Buffet were inevitable arrivals given shifting landscapes (Buffet for the rise of the financial sector leveraging, including re-insurance, and Gates due to the need for established inter-operability among apps in the young PC industry).

Neither were geniuses, a person would have been in their shoes no matter what (we *would* have gotten that growth and standardization no matter what).  Of course, this comment is not to diminish their accomplishments:  Buffet and Gates individually *did* actually perform well where many others would have (and did) fail:  Buffet due to ability to perform fundamental analysis, Gates due to ability to monopolize technology standards.

This won't be repeated for those sectors.  Both sectors have peaked, and will move into monopoly decline forever (for lots of reasons).

Further, this is in contrast to Steve Jobs -- a true genius, a real rat bastard that nobody would want to work for, and a man that if accidentally born in the Soviet Block would have murdered millions of people by the time he turned 40.  However, he is a true genius that made Apple (and Apple is likely screwed when Jobs is gone).

Summary:  Hold no reverence for Buffet.  His meritorious investor statements and behaviors in the past are independent of the fact that today he is over-levered, and his self-serving statements now are to draw attention away from the fact that his "baby" will likely die before Buffet will.

ElvisDog's picture

I second your opinion on Gates. I know a number of high-level Microsoft people, and they tell me that in the last years that he was active in Microsoft they would cringe if Gates walked into one of their meetings. He didn't really know what was going on (i.e. hadn't stayed on the cutting edge) and they knew the meeting was going to bog down. I think he's one of those people who had the one good idea when they were young, and Gates happened to be in the right place at the right time to exploit it to the fullest.

fearsomepirate's picture

Gates' good idea was to buy someone else's good idea.  Really, what made him was his understanding in the 1980s that who makes the operating system is more important than who makes the hardware, and if you get your OS into as many computers as possible, you win.  That's why Microsoft is huge and Digital Research (whom IBM first approached for an OS for their new 8088 line of PCs) doesn't exist anymore.

Segestan's picture

The US should just simply say .. NO!.... and default. There is plenty demand and skill in America, for the US to become what it was once designed for... Independence. tell the UN and the CCP ...Fuck OFF!

Geoff-UK's picture

But...but...but then who would buy U.S. government debt?  The government would have to live within its means!

I actually pray California does this, and screws bondholders so badly that California is forced to pay for everything in cash for the next 100 years.

digalert's picture

Buffett became an advisor to Obama...

I wonder? nah never mind

pamriallc's picture

The recent commentary from Buffett has in fact been:  "The USA should be careful of Greenback Emissions" --  In other words, he was calling the USD something akin to refuse.

Where are people who actually read vs people who would rather curse those who have added so much to the system?

thesapein's picture

Confusing, isn't he? Someone probably put him on meds and whispers in his ear.

Sudden Debt's picture

No one would have crossed the ocean if he could have gotten off the ship in the storm!

SheepDog-One's picture

Buffet is now only concerned about his monthly hand job from Becky Quick.

MarketFox's picture

Was Buffett not the 6th largest recipient of TARP ?


And was it not Buffett that had a 50% draw down ?


And what will happen to Buffett when the market declines to 5000 ?


And was Buffett a "Silver Spoon" ?


So tell me....just who is Buffett...really ?



10044's picture

He's always been an insider trade and a crook, that's the end of it

Ripped Chunk's picture

His Omaha country boy not one of them Wall Street guys story has been seen for what it is for years now. Bullcrap. 

guidoamm's picture

For anyone fearing a hyperinflationary outcome  (as Mr. Buffet is on record to have predicted) then investing in BRK/A should stand them in good stead for coming years. In my opinion the performance of Buffet's fund is the ultimate barometer of what "flation" we are to die from...


williambanzai7's picture

Buffet, buffoon, what's the difference

Sudden Debt's picture

a few billion dollar which he has and we don't :)