Buffett: U.S. Economy Has 'Fallen Off a Cliff'
Berskshire Hathaway chief executive and super-investor Warren E. Buffett had a three-hour sit-down interview with CNBC this morning, taking questions from reporter Becky Quick and viewers.
Buffett said the U.S. economy has "fallen off a cliff" but that he'd rather be riding out the storm in the U.S. than anywhere else.
Last fall, Buffett said the U.S. economy had been hit by the equivalent of the attack on Pearl Harbor. You decide if that's better or worse than falling off a cliff.
Here's a live CNBC blog of the entire interview.
Here are CNBC's highlights of the interview:
-- The economy "can't turn around on a dime," Buffett said, and a turnaround "won't happen fast."
-- Five years from now, the economy will be running fine, he said. The strength of the American system will pull it through, just as it has many times in the past.
-- Democrats and Republicans should work together and not try to take advantage of the economic situation to achieve partisan goals, Buffett said.
-- Inflation has the "potential" to be worse than the 1970s, he said.
-- Most banks are in "pretty good shape," Buffett said, and can "earn their way out" of the current problems given the low cost of funds. Banks, however, "need to get back to banking," he added.
-- It's extremely important that the government make clear depositors won't lose their money if banks fail. President Obama needs to make a "clear statement" in support of the banking system, said Buffett, as of this time last year, the world's richest person.
Buffett said he did "dumb things" in 2008, such as buying a huge stake in ConocoPhillips when oil prices were high.
Buffett is a director of The Washington Post Co.
March 9, 2009; 11:02 AM ET
Categories: The Ticker | Tags: Berkshire Hathaway, CBNC, The Washington Post Co., Warren Buffett
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