Sunday, August 10, 2008

Warren Buffet ( from Wikipedia)

Warren Buffet views:

  • repeatedly criticized the financial industry for what he considers to be a proliferation of advisers who add no value but are compensated based on the volume of business transactions which they facilitate. He has pointed to the growing volume of stock trades as evidence that an ever-greater proportion of investors' gains are going to brokers and other middlemen.
  • emphasized the non-productive aspect of gold in 1998 at Harvard: "It gets dug out of the ground in Africa, or someplace. Then we melt it down, dig another hole, bury it again and pay people to stand around guarding it. It has no utility. Anyone watching from Mars would be scratching their head."
  • stated that he only paid 19% of his income for 2006 ($48.1 million) in total federal taxes, while his employees paid 33% of theirs despite making much less money.
  • believes that the U.S. dollar will lose value in the long run. He views the United States' expanding trade deficit as an alarming trend that will devalue the U.S. dollar and U.S. assets. As a result it is putting a larger portion of ownership of U.S. assets in the hands of foreigners. This induced Buffett to enter the foreign currency market for the first time in 2002. However, he substantially reduced his stake in 2005 as changing interest rates increased the costs of holding currency contracts. Buffett continues to be bearish on the dollar, and says he is looking to make acquisitions of companies which derive a substantial portion of their revenues from outside the United States. Buffett invested in PetroChina Company Limited and in a rare move, posted a commentary on Berkshire Hathaway's website why he would not divest from the company despite calls from some activists to do so. (He did, however, sell this stake, apparently for purely financial reasons.)
  • believes that the world is nearing its maximum capacity of oil production, and that gradually depleted oil fields could reduce the amount produced.
  • believes government should not be in the business of gambling. He believes it is a tax on ignorance.

Buffett's speeches are known for mixing business discussions with humor. Each year, Buffett presides over Berkshire Hathaway's annual shareholders' meeting in the Qwest Center in Omaha, Nebraska, an event drawing over 20,000 visitors from both United States and abroad, giving it the nickname "Woodstock of Capitalism".

Berkshire's annual reports and letters to shareholders, prepared by Buffett, frequently receive coverage by the financial media. Buffett's writings are known for containing literary quotes ranging from the Bible to Mae West, as well as Midwestern advice and numerous jokes. Various websites extol Buffett's virtues while others decry Buffett’s business models or dismiss his investment advice and decisions.

Buffett also:

  • favors the inheritance tax, saying that repealing it would be like "choosing the 2020 Olympic team by picking the eldest sons of the gold-medal winners in the 2000 Olympics".In 2007, Buffett testified before the Senate and urged them to preserve the estate tax so as to avoid a plutocracy. Some critics, including John Berlau writing in the August 23, 2004 issue of the National Review, have pointed out that Buffett (through Berkshire-Hathaway) has a commercial interest in the continuation of the estate tax, since it has benefited from the estate tax in past business dealings and is also involved in developing and marketing insurance policies which protect policy holders against future estate tax payments.
  • has called the 2007—present downturn in the financial sector "poetic justice".
  • was inducted into the Junior Achievement U.S. Business Hall of Fame in 1997.

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