From The Daily Capitalist
I like the fact that our society elevates people like Buffett and Munger to celebrity status. After all, we don't have kings to adore. We Americans like and respect money and we admire people who make money. Ask de Tocqueville who was amazed at the audacity of poor people who thought they could elevate themselves through diligence and hard work. We may love our athletes and movie stars, but we listen to the ultra wealthy.
I've been reading about the annual Buffettapalooza in Omaha where Warren and Charlie Munger put on their annual show. Mr. Buffett is a very canny public relations person. Everything he says and does is calculated to protect his investments. For example, he staunchly defends Goldman Sachs and its chairman, Lloyd Blankfein.
Here are some quotes from the Oracle of Omaha gathered from various sources:
“My choice would be to have Lloyd [Blankfein] running [Goldman] this year, next year and 10 years from now.”
"I haven't seen anything in Goldman's behavior that makes it any more subject to criticism than Wall Street generally."
"I have no problem with that Abacus transaction. If there were other things that were hugely troublesome, I haven't seen them."
“I don’t have a problem with Abacus at all, and I think I understand it better than most.”
"It's a little hard for me to get terribly sympathetic for a bank [ABN] that made a bad credit deal."
“It’s hard for me to get terribly sympathetic when a bank [ABN] makes a dumb credit bet.”
“We are in the business of making our own decisions.”
"There's a lot of good in it, and there are a lot of things that take place on Wall Street that we don't like."
"[M]any feel that the ratings agencies let them down."
"What was sort of a sputtering recovery months ago seemed to pick up steam in March and April. We're seeing a pretty good uptick."
“Unemployment is going to come down. Business is picking up. We at Berkshire are hiring now. We let go a lot of people last year. American business is improving from everything I can see now.”
"We've made our share of dumb deals at Berkshire so I've gotten more tolerant of other people."
The only thing I don't like about the whole Buffett aura is that, while he's a great businessman, I don't really believe most of what he says. [Disclosure: I bought Kraft when he went in.] He may believe it but I think he sees his role as The Great Cheerleader. Like a lot of great men, I think he tends to universalize his experience. Because he is one of the wealthiest persons on the planet, people listen to whatever he says. I guess if I had to choose between folks listening to politicians or great businessmen, I'd go for businessmen. Except for Soros.