Quotes of Warren Buffett at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women – Buffett dares Rupert Murdoch to publish tax returns together re WSJ challenge

Few interesting quotes from “Transcript of Warren Buffett at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit

* “As of today, our housing-related businesses are as bad as they’ve ever been during this period. Everything else you name is up. And our railroad carried 200,000 car loads last week, that’s the highest total in three years. That’s stuff moving around the country, supplying merchants and doing all kinds of things. If you take our five largest businesses, all of them will either set records for earnings or just about set records for earnings this year.”

* “If I can buy dollar bills for 90 cents, I’ll buy them. I want to warn the people that are selling to me that I believe I am buying their dollar bills for 90 cents because they’re our partner. So, I give them notice first. And then if they want to sell me dollar bills cheap — any of you want to do it, I’m here.”

* “And since 1992, the average income of the 400 highest incomes has gone from 40-odd million to 220-odd million, fivefold. During that time, their tax rate as a percentage of taxable income has fallen from 29 percent down to 21 percent. That counts payroll taxes and income taxes.”

* “I’m not supposed to mention it here, but the Forbes 400 just came out. (Laughter.) And the aggregate wealth of the Forbes 400 this year was over $1.5 trillion. That’s up sevenfold in the last 25 years from 200 million roughly 25 years ago. That is not what the American public has experienced. So, the disparity has grown wider and wider in this country.”

* “It doesn’t solve our budget problem. What I suggest would probably raise about $20 billion annually from about 50,000 people. But $20 billion is $1,000 each to 20 million families. And if I’ve got a choice of getting $1,000 from 20 million families throughout this country that are already struggling, or getting $20 billion by asking people to pay taxes in the range of the 30s just like everybody else is in this country, I’d rather go to the ultra rich.”

* “Now, when you get 17 countries all in a different position and none with the ability right now to issue their own currency, which is a terrible mistake. If any of you can ever issue your own currency, don’t give it up. (Laughter.) If you have a printing press in your basement and it works, just keep — don’t let anybody take it away from you.”

* “We were very lucky, actually, I never voted for President Bush, but he made the most profound statement in all of economics. I mean, people heard about Adam Smith’s invisible hand, and they’ve heard about animal spirits, and comparative advantage with Ricardo, but nobody topped George Bush when he stepped out there on the front lawn in September of 2008 and said the immortal ten words of economics. He said, “If money doesn’t loosen up, this sucker could go down.” (Laughter.) That should be etched up there in the pantheon of great economists.”

* “Markets are stronger than governments. Markets, when the spread on Italian or Spanish bonds goes up to 300 and some basis points over Germany and you’re talking about the same currency and you said all these things are equal, well, the market has told you that this isn’t working, they aren’t equal. And it creates its own contagion problems and all of that.”

* “Right now, if you buy a stock — a Standard & Poor’s index future and you hold it for ten seconds and you have a profit, 60 percent of that is called long-term capital gain. Now, that is not a tribute to logic, that’s a tribute to lobbying. And many of you probably don’t even know about that. Believe me, the people who are getting the 60-percent long-term gain for holding it for ten seconds know about it. And that kind of distortion is why people are, like me, are able to have very, very low tax payments relative to income compared to the average individual.”

* “It’s a very big segment that is really in depression conditions today. Not recession conditions, depression conditions. The rest of the country is doing pretty darn well. You know, whether it’s our candy sales, our jewelry sales, our furniture sales, or whether little drilling bits or electronic components or Dilly bars or you name it, sales are up. And they’re up right to this day.”

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: