Sunday, May 3, 2009

Why Has Socialism Lost its Luster for Warren Buffett?

Warren Buffett has been one of Barack Obama's key economic supporters during his campaign and the early part of his administration. Buffett has used his name and respect to lend capitalist credibility to Obama's blatantly socialist economic agenda. Needless to say, I am deeply amused that Buffet has finally found an Obama economic policy he disagrees with. Unsurprisingly, it is one that hurts his own financial interests. Today Buffet denounced Obama's stress tests, "arguing during a Sunday press conference that the health of large lenders can't be judged by calculating ratios and adjusting loss expectations on broad asset classes such as home equity loans and credit card loans."

Those of us who are paying attention Have been suggesting for a while now that the stress tests are a way for the Obama administration to stealthily nationalize the banks with limited attention.

As I understand it, the scheme essentially works like this:
  1. Treasury Department pressures banks, forcing them into accepting bailout money in exchange for preferred shares of stock (non-voting shares).
  2. Treasury Department creates regulations requiring arbitrary debt/equity ratios.
  3. Treasury Department performs stress test on banks to evaluate their debt/equity ratio.
  4. Banks that don't meet arbitrary ratio will be forced to raise private funding (which will be next to impossible in this market), or accept a government "gift" of increased equity by converting preferred shares (non-voting) into common shares (voting)
  5. Voila! Treasury Department owns large voting blocks in most banks.
  6. Rep. Barney Frank, Sen. Chris Dodd, Tax Cheat Tim Geithner and Obama are running our banks.
So why does this finally make Buffet lose his socialist furvor? Because Buffett's company Berkshire Hathaway, "owns large stakes in Wells Fargo & Co. , US Bancorp and M&T Bank Corp." And Buffett knows that Frank, Dodd, Geithner and Obama (or anyone in the government for that matter) are the last people in the world he wants with controlling stakes in his investments. Socialism is all fun and games until somebody loses their company isn't Mr. Buffett?

1 comment:

  1. So, Mr Buffet doesn't think the stress tests accurately reflect a bank's health. How do you extrapolate from that that he is turning against Obama's policy as a whole. Is there a link to the full text of the press conference?