Buffett: Failure to raise debt ceiling "asinine"

OMAHA, Nebraska Sat Apr 30, 2011 3:49pm EDT

Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett, holding an ice cream bar, is surrounded by press, shareholders and security as he wanders the company trade show before his company's annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska April 30, 2011. REUTERS/Rick Wilking

Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett, holding an ice cream bar, is surrounded by press, shareholders and security as he wanders the company trade show before his company's annual meeting in Omaha, Nebraska April 30, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Rick Wilking

OMAHA, Nebraska (Reuters) - Warren Buffett said he expects the Congress to raise the nation's debt ceiling before it expires in mid-May, and said it would be that body's "most asinine act" ever if it failed.

Speaking on Saturday at Berkshire Hathaway's (BRKa.N) annual shareholder meeting in Omaha, Nebraska, Buffett said imposing a debt ceiling was a mistake in the first place.

Still, he projected that "the United States was not going to have a debt crisis of any kind as long as we keep issuing our notes in our own currency."

The Obama administration has expressed confidence that Congress will agree to raise the $14.3 trillion cap on how much Washington can borrow before it expires on May 16.

Raising the cap would let the government keep paying its bills. But many Republican lawmakers and some Democrats want any increase to be accompanied by a clear plan to cut spending.

Berkshire Vice Chairman Charlie Munger attacked the political posturing and rhetoric that he believes Democrats and Republicans have used in the debate, saying both were competing to see "who can be the most stupid."

(Reporting by Ben Berkowitz; Additional reporting and writing by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Toni Reinhold)

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Comments (5)
RogerCfromSD wrote:
Raising the debt ceiling is stupid. Cut huge swaths of government. Seems like the most responsible option.

Yet, the politicos refuse to do this. So, who are the real idiots?

Apr 30, 2011 4:13pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
What would Buffet say if his company had the same fiscal problems of the US government? No way would his words be the same. His company would be bankrupt. No bank would keep loaning money to a company in this fiscal position particularily one with no plan to fix the problem. Buffet is a democratic lap dog and that is where his priorities lie. He should be out there pressing for fundamental change to preserve the country that made him very rich. Shame on Warren Buffet.

Apr 30, 2011 4:31pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
KarlQuick wrote:
Why have a ceiling if it is always raised? I’m sure Buffett has no problem with raising it because he owns a great deal of equity (factories, railroads, buildings, etc.) If the dollar was halved in value tomorrow, the dollar value of his stock and property would double overnight. …he wouldn’t really be any richer, but he’d lose nothing in the transaction.

On the other hand, all the rest of us would still be earning the same salary (in dollars) and hence would be working for HALF of what we had been paid the day before (in terms of real purchasing value.)

Why do rich people not mind inflation? Because the value of everything they own goes up while the cost of having it goes down.

I’ve recently purchased a house. Got the maximum loan possible at a very low rate. As Obama and the Fed continue to run up the debt and print money to make up for not being able to borrow it, inflation will hit and I will pay off my mortgage (valued in 2011 dollars) with much less costly 2015 thru 2020 dollars. Am I a crook for taking advantage of the foolish politicians and their robot-like supporters? Or am I providing a real world example with the hope of waking up you robo-voters and making you realize how “your candidate” is ripping you off!

The proper solution is a much smaller government that lives within its means and serves limited purposes: security, equality, justice and a fair playing field in which everyone has the same opportunties to excel in a highly competitive market.

Do this and the citizens will be able to take care of themselves and their family members …and strangers… without shifting their responsibilities from themselves through government corruption.

Apr 30, 2011 4:34pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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