Monday, May 2, 2016

Buffet's Annual Shareholder Meeting

Warren Buffet is center stage this week and, as he is wont to do, he devoted a lot of time to taking pot shots at capitalism.  Buffet's view of capitalism is pretty simple:  everything that Buffet does is legitimate capitalism, but activities of others are either criminal or non-productive. This is typical Buffet.

When asked about money management generally, Buffet lambasted money managers as "creating no value." He encouraged average investors to invest in index funds.  I agree with that, but how does he defend himself.  He made his original stake, aside from the silver spoon at birth as the son of a United State senator, by charging huge fees -- much, much larger than the hedge fund fees that he complains about today.  He seems to have forgotten that episode.  But then, the rules that apply to others never seem to apply to Buffet.

Then, on to the subject of middle class angst in America.  What was Buffet's opinion.  He trotted out the stale and incorrect view that Americans are mostly unhappy because no one went to jail in 2009.  Hey wake up, Warren!   It's 2016.  People want jobs and higher living standards, something that became little more than a pipedream for a huge swath of the American middle class.  Why!  You, Warren, you and your friends!

Why are health care costs going through the roof?  I suspect that bothers people a lot more than the Buffet narrative that bubbles are caused by Wall Street bankers.  Stagnant incomes in a stagnant economy thanks to Buffet and his favorite politician, Barrack Obama. 

Now, Buffet, who seems to think the current economy is great, is backing Hillary Clinton.  If you liked the last eight years, you'll love the next eight under Clinton.  But, if your name is not Buffet and you are in the middle class, you better get prepared for declining disposable income, higher health care costs, pension fund bankruptcies, and public monies siphoned off into friends of Bill and Hillary.

Just who is it that should have been put in jail?  How about Buffet himself?  Goodness knows, he is every bit as greedy as any Wall Streeter. 

Buffet enjoys his status as one of the two or three wealthiest Americans and he will do whatever it takes to maintain that status, even if American's middle class is saddled with economic roadblocks imposed by his political sidekicks.

Meanwhile, Buffet maintains his folksy pose as he jets and limousines from place to place to hang out with the beautiful people that he seems to need to hold close so desperately.   Too bad if you are an average American.  Buffet's not your guy.

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