I had lunch last week with Rolfe Winkler, who is an up and comer in the blog world, a thinking man’s Felix Salmon.

He is similarly annoyed with St. Warren — but rather than engage in my sophmoric venom spew, he went to the spreadsheet to discover that Buffet owns major stakes in 8 companies that have received more than $100 billion in government bailouts.

Capitalist? Hardly. Sounds more like just another crony to me.

Rolfe also posts this fabulous chart:

Buffett’s Bailouts

WB Bailouts

via Reuters

Category: Bailouts

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

51 Responses to “Buffett’s Bailouts”

  1. untiedshu says:

    While I understand the point you are making, I think the totals on the chart are pretty misleading. Half of the total amount comes from BAC and STI, though the amounts of Buffet’s investments in both are completely immaterial, both to BRK and to the institutions themselves. To call them “major stakes” is rather misleading in those two cases.

  2. impermanence says:

    This guy is one of the biggest freeloaders in the history of business. When will people finally wake up?

  3. mister_x says:

    Yep, Rolfe is more anti-establishment than your typical blogger and unlike Felix, doesn’t just take a contrarian stance just for the sake of it.

    Hope he does more pieces like this.

  4. MayorQuimby says:

    Is it any wonder that the pumpers on CNBC adore this man?

    [BREAKING NEWS]

    Warren Buffet had two bowel movements this morning. Sources say both came out normally which should be a relief to anxious investors.

  5. call me ahab says:

    oh . . .then . . . buffet’s not an investing god?

    sigh- all my illusions are shattered

  6. akahn says:

    Barry: 2 things:

    1. Are you on twitter, and if not, when will you be?

    2. Thoughts on today’s healthcare vote?

  7. jeffshattuck says:

    Going after a big shot like WB is fun, but you are doing it for the wrong reasons (personal).

    WB is a master allocator of capital, and right now, the best risk/reward is to invest in companies the US government will not let fail. It’s that simple.

    Jeff
    http://www.cerebellumblues.com

  8. DeDude says:

    After hearing what BoA and Wells Fargo has been doing to hardworking regular people who have been hurt by the crisis created by our financial industry, I will never again do any business with those scumbags nor own any of their stocks. But that is just me and my ethics. Still waiting for a law restricting pay in any company that has any loans or loan guarantees from government.

  9. torrie-amos says:

    So, are we too assume you have no long positions in any of these companies then?

    ~~~

    BR: You are to assume nothing.

    Instead, you are to do research in order to make informed decisions based upon fact.

    My policy on equity positions are cleared explained in the page that is marked DISCLOSURES on the front of TBP:

    3. Market Positions:

    If I am discussing a specific company and/or its stock, and I have a personal — or a firm/client position in that stock — I will disclose that position at the end of the post, near the “sources” section. I err on the side of “more disclosure is better.”

    I may or may not make such a disclosure if I am only discussing a given sector. (i.e., in a discussion of Oil/Energy, I may or may not disclose positions my Conoco Phillips / BP).

    I try not to discuss small cap positions often, as they are too easily pushed around. I especially don’t like to discuss small cap shorts. Since I prefer not to disclose short positions, but do want to maintain a full disclosure policy, I simply avoid posting on them. Readers should not assume that I have any position, long or short, merely because a stock is mentioned.

    –http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/disclosures/

  10. HEHEHE says:

    I’ve been saying the same thing ever since last fall. How nobody in Congress has demanded to know what was discussed between Paulson and Buffet is a joke. They are on the record stating they were having phone conversations during last years’ implosion. Buffet did that “endorsement” deal with Goldman preferred shares and soon after AMEX is made a bank holding company so they can get TARP funds, give me a break?!?!

    Goldman and Berkshire are the two of the primary stewards of the wealth of the wealthiest people in this country. The wealthy and their stewards own the government in this country. The middle class better wake up before there’s no longer a middle class left.

  11. Moss says:

    No different than PIMCO who ran under the Government umbrella, as close to the handle as possible. I believe that was the analogy they used often to describe their strategy.

  12. MayorQuimby says:

    jeffshattuck-

    Nonsense. Moody’s was COMPLICIT in FRAUDULENTLY selling CDOs, MBS etc. with AAA ratings.

  13. wunsacon says:

    At least Warren’s telling you to tax him. The others? Though they stand on the shoulders of giants/scientists/taxpayers who built the establishments where they work, who invented the technology they use, and who provide the sea of liquidity upon which they float, they think they owe it all to themselves.

  14. skysurfer says:

    Wunsacon-

    For Buffet taxes aren’t really taxes, it is more of an insurance premium now, and I would love to see his return that his insurance policy, er taxes, paid.

  15. investorinpa says:

    BR, you wrote that Rolfe is a “thinking man’s Felix Salmon”. I actually think Felix is pretty decent and surely you didn’t mean to knock Salmon down the river a bit by insisting his points aren’t well thought out?

  16. cewing says:

    As a fellow Omahan (native, at least), I’m reluctant to cast aspersions on a guy who’s managed to do pretty well for himself. As the same time, it’s impossible ignore the fact that in America, the richer you are the more breaks you get.

  17. investorinpa says:

    Ok, som other points to argue in Buffett’s favor…by getting in bed with the feds and getting their free money via bailout, isn’t he doing the best thing possible for shareholders to ensure the value of the stock?

    If you want to take the patriarchal viewpoint, doesn’t it look like Berkshire has cut the right deals to ensure themselves of being a favorable company for years to come long after Warren is gone?

    Finally, can’t one argue that Buffett did not pursue federal bailout money for another industry he is heavily invested in (newspapers) despite many in that industry clamoring for it?

    These are just points of view that I am putting out there for debate, not necessarily my point of view. I own shares in Berkshire Hathaway and have for a long time mostly on the strength of the management team.

  18. mitchn says:

    BR, re Twitter.

    Great tool, but HUGE time suck. You’ve already got great traffic and more invitations/commitments than you can handle. I’d leave it alone (though I use it to complement the blog I write). Juts my .02…

  19. gstream says:

    The tax credits from Fannie were/are over the top. However, this post is a little silly as a few of these holdings have been in Berky’s portfolio for years. I think you are stretching when you say he is a cronyist.

    You make it sound like Omaha has a direct line to Hank Paulson and Buffett and Rahm hang out together in Turkish bath houses. Do you see Geico or GenRe getting TARP money (Actually, I am curious, is Geico getting any bailout dollars?), or NetJets (the problem child).

    I think Buffett and Munger are just astute enough to realize that certain companies, or sectors, will make it through the storm, banking being one of them. Sure, government is bailing some of them out, but government is part of the market and *always* has been. We like to think that government is just on the sidelines, but that is the same sort of tunnel vision thinking as EMT. We gotta look at the big picture. Government is not separate from the markets.

    I dunno, maybe I’ve just been eating too much See’s candy. Anyone on here actually know Buffett and can say whether he is sleazy or hypocritical or actually a decent fellow?

    G

  20. JayHank says:

    Barry, are you saying that you have no capital in any banks that are TARP recipients? I suspect that’s not the case, which raises the question, how much can one invest in a TARP bank and still be a capitalist.

  21. JayHank says:

    Oops, see this has already been addressed in the comments section. I’m still curious whether you feel a “capitalist” can have any level of investment in these banks?

  22. eli.jones@gmail.com says:

    Barry,

    I understand that Mr. Rolfe Winkler needs to stick it to Warren Buffet to get noticed (it worked for DMX when he dissed on LL Cool J, right?).. but this really seems to be a statistical mirage… instead of evidence of crony-ism.

    Between Cash/Cash Equivalents and Investments in Sept 2009, Berkshire Hathaway had a little more than $143 Billion.

    So, 18% of that is represented by this list. At that same time.. about 15% of the SP500 “market cap” was in what they refer to as Financials. And, if you drop GE from the list above (now, I would call GE a financial company.. but I’m guessing SP does not).. then Buffet’s sitting with about 15.5% invested in Financials..

    Thus, Warren Buffet is a crony because he has a financial holding weight that is similar to the SP500?

    Is the new theme here: “We Are All Cronies Now”

    Anyone following standard investment advice would be invested in Financials at a similar percentage.

    I get that you gotta poke at the fire with a stick to get the embers all hot (a little Warren Buffet so crony over here.. a little Goldman Sachs earned its bonuses over there).. but since you have copped to having studied University level mathematics, you should know that the evidence presented here doesn’t say much. It just shows that Berkshire Holdings is humongous and is invested in everything.

    Now, if Berkshire was sitting with 30% in financials.. that would be interesting.

  23. “..”He’s betting on global population growth and global wealth increasing, thus raising the world’s purchasing power to buy stuff that the US makes, said Peter Boockvar, of Miller Tabak & Co. “It’s also a bet that we will still import stuff that the rest of the world makes.”

    But the investment is not just about economic growth. It is also about the environment.
    Talk of the rail operator benefiting from some form of a “green” upgrade appear wide of the mark – the cost of transforming one of the world’s largest consumers of petroleum products operating on 32,000 miles of track into an electric railway does not bear thinking about.

    But there are green benefits to the investment. One is the recently passed US Clean Energy and Security Act, which allows companies to trade carbon credits.

    As Burlington Northern transports vastly more freight per emission than road or air hauliers, there is potential for it to trade millions if not billions of dollars of carbon credits in future years.

    Burlington Northern also offers vast fuel efficiencies – one train removes 280 freight trucks off US highways – and the coal it transports is largely from low-sulphur coal deposits, which will be increasingly in demand as legislators continue to clamp down on polluters.

    These reasons might go some way to explain why Buffett apparently broke one of his golden rules of investing: never overpay.

    Matthew Carletti, at Fox-Pitt Kelton, points out that the purchase price – 2.8 times Burlington Northern’s book value and 18 times future earnings – “does not imply ‘value’”.
    Given that, and the impact the credit rating reviews could have on Berkshire Hathaway, was Buffett driven by another factor in making the surprise decision?

    For a number of years, the 79 year-old has spoken of hunting down an “elephant-esque” deal which would be Berkshire’s crowning moment.
    In many ways, Burlington Northern is that elephant, the weight of which will stop any successor from changing Berkshire’s course too dramatically, thereby ensuring Buffett’s legacy is not thrown off the rails.”
    http://refreshingnews9.blogspot.com/2009/11/why-did-warren-buffett-pay-44bn-for.html
    ~~
    “…As reported in

    http://warofillusions.wordpress.com/2009/03/30/obama-maurice-strong-al

    “The “privately-owned” Chicago Climate Exchange is heavily influenced by Obama cohorts Al Gore and Maurice Strong.

    For years now Strong and Gore have been cashing in on that lucrative cottage industry known as man-made global warming.

    Strong is on the board of directors of the Chicago Climate Exchange, Wikipedia-described as “the world’s first and North America’s only legally binding greenhouse gas emission registry reduction system for emission sources and offset projects in North America and Brazil.”

    Gore, self-proclaimed Patron Saint of the Environment, buys his carbon off-sets from himself–the Generation Investment Management LLP, “an independent, private, owner-managed partnership established in 2004 with offices in London and Washington, D.C., of which he is both chairman and founding partner. The Generation Investment Management business has considerable influence over the major carbon credit trading firms that currently exist, including the Chicago Climate Exchange.”"
    ~~
    “…The American Clean Energy and Security Act passed on a vote of 219-212, with eight Republicans voting for and 44 Democrats voting against.
    House Democratic leadership pushed the bill through on their last day before Congress’s July 4 recess, under Republican protest.

    “Last night at 3:09 a.m., House Democrats filed a 309-page amendment and denied Republican and Democrat amendments to the tune of the 224 that were submitted,” complained Republican Mike Pence of Indiana during the day’s three-hour debate. “What’s the hurry?”

    The hurry is the ambitious Obama administration goal of passing climate legislation before global climate talks in Copenhagen in December.
    If passed by the Senate, the American Clean Energy and Security Act would create a cap-and-trade program to reduce climate warming emissions.

    The program would set limits on major sources of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, including electric utilities, manufacturers and the transportation industry, then ratchet the limits down through 2050. It would issue emissions permits that industries could trade…”
    http://www.statejournal.com/story.cfm?func=viewstory&storyid=61769

  24. Assassin says:

    eli.jones@gmail.com:

    If your comparison were followed to its logical conclusion, you’d be asking these questions:

    1) what percentage of S&P 500 financial companies are bail-out babies?
    2) what percentage of Berkshire’s financial holdings are bail-out babies?

    BR’s post was entitled “Buffett’s Bailouts”, not merely “Buffett’s Banks”, for a reason. instead of responding to that reason, you went off on some half-relevant tangent about asset allocation.

  25. Winston Munn says:

    For those striving for riches it is good to be a capitalist; for those who already have riches, capital-ish is more than adequate.

  26. Pat G. says:

    Isn’t a share of Berkshire Hathaway still five figures? Your list of companies contained within the stock itself is not all inclusive. Buffett is simply taking advantage of companies who have put themselves in a compromising position. Buffet had nothing to do with the state these companies now find themselves in. Besides, aren’t we looking for capitalists to come in and buy some of these deadbeats so we don’t have to foot the bill alone for their sins?

  27. investorinpa says:

    A double shot of news for everyone….the House passes the health care legislation, and an article on whether or not the US will be forced to sell its gold. http://contraryriches.blogspot.com/2009/11/gold-united-states.html

  28. Pat G.:
    It’s actually six figures. It closed Friday at $102,400. It’s all-time high is right around $150,000. Earlier this year it had dropped all the way down to about $73,000.

  29. [...] two posts unmask Warren Buffett. He is scathing in his comments. Regardless of the tone and tenor, [...]

  30. some_guy_in_a_cube says:

    Buffet and Gates will be relentlessly hero-worshipped on CNBC sometime this week. The format is “town hall meeting” and the topic is “Keeping America Great”. This is strictly one for the thumb-sucking crowd.

  31. Steve Barry says:

    On Mr. Buffett, I have been way out in front of this…some classic posts:

    Steve Barry Says:

    July 2nd, 2008 at 4:00 am
    I’m not going to listen to this interview…I heard Wilbur Ross on Bloomberg earlier today and had to turn it off after the 5th word. Almost every current Billionaire became one by riding this massive credit bubble that has formed since 1950 and by being an “optimist”. To some degree you can almost forgive Kudlow for always being an optimist…that has worked for 60 years. If any group is talking their book and out of touch with the average American, it is the Billionaires. Even Buffet has jumped the shark IMO, with his now common CNBC appearances and 2 Million dollar lunches with people for charity. The real leaders of organized crime are the ones you never heard of

    Steve Barry Says:

    February 28th, 2009 at 8:54 am
    They say if you had a room filled with monkeys, given an infinite time period, one would randomly produce the works of Shakespeare…this exemplifies chaos theory, randomness, black swans, etc.

    I have been thinking it is possible that Mr. Buffett is the “black swan” of investors…a guy who, given the odds of one occurring, just happened to be the monkey who produced Shakespeare…he had help, having lived during a massive bull market…and once he achieved a certain celebrity, it was a positive feedback system…Buffet buys something, so the sheeple all run out and mimic him (reminiscent of Cramer).

    The most surprising aspect is that everything I read from Buffett from like 2000-2005 made me think he saw this coming…his famous short on the dollar…his statement that derivatives were “financial WMDs”…so how the hell does he put up his worst year ever?

    Steve Barry Says:

    November 5th, 2009 at 6:03 am
    @Bog: I didn’t fully equate Buffett and Cramer…I will note some similarities:

    1) Doing business with or very supportive of Goldman…Cramer used to work there
    2) Talking your book on CNBC…Buffett used to work in the background…now often appears on CNBC
    3) Buffett makes its clear he is “all-in” on the railroad deal…I don’t think Ben Graham, Buffett’s mentor, would approve of such a move…sounds like showmmanship, a la Cramer.
    4) General hypocriticality

  32. mknowles says:

    http://realestateandhousing2.blogspot.com/2008/09/paulson-calls-in-buffet.html

    From Mike Morgan’s blog, September 23, 2008:
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Paulson Calls In Buffet
    Very sad times. Remember the Maria Bartiromo interview with Buffet, when he slipped and said Paulson called him on the big Sunday a couple of weeks ago? Many people wondered why Paulson would call a private citizen to discuss Fed matters? Obviously, we now know.

    Sham Deal – Buffet gets special stock with a 10% dividend and he gets the right to by another $5B at $115, when the stock was trading at $125 and the deal makers knew it would spike on this kind of news. So why didn’t Goldman set a higher price on the stock? Buffet would have never done the deal. He probably cut this deal with Paulson himself when they spoke on that funky Sunday.

    Conspiracy? – We have never witnessed anything like this, with rule changes and special deals and the biggest thief in the world, running the financial world. The Buffet deal could only have been done if Goldman had a new business model . . . because the old business model was busted. Voila, they have a new business model as of Sunday night courtesy of King Henry . . . and less than 48 hours later, Buffet come in with $5B.

    Someone needs to question that Sunday conversation. Someone needs to question this Sunday’s move to bring Goldman under the Fed’s wings as a commercial bank. Someone needs to question the very deal struck with Buffet. But no one will.

    Main Street or Wall Street? – The price of Buffet’s stock is at $4,300 for Class B and $128,800 for Class A . . . because he doesn’t want to deal with Main Street. And Warren Buffet stands to lose more in a market crash than any person on the planet. Warren Buffet’s deal with Goldman is just another example of the power of Paulson and his Wall Street fraternity.

    Free Markets Will Prevail – Eventually, the free market will prevail. Eventually, the markets will crash. But once again, the market will bubble up on the Buffet news. Paulson is truly brilliant. There could not have been a better moment than now to pull this card out of his sleeve. After today’s Hearings, Paulson was cooked and he was going to be the focus of the media tonight. Not anymore. Now the focus will be on the household name of Warren Buffet and his purchase of stock. But . . . and this is a HUGE but . . . Even though the consumer and the PPT will be back in there buying tomorrow, nothing has changed. The toxic stuff is still there. We have not resolved anything. This just give Wall Street more time to suck up the dollars and more time to trade in and out of pension fund portfolios.

    Ban On Short Sellers – Maybe we need to question why a sham deal like Buffet’s should be allowed. It is the opposite of what we saw with short sellers, but at least the short sellers were all dealing on a level playing field. In fact, the deal would not have been done at all if Paulson did not instruct Cox to ban short selling.

    Paulson Crossed the Line – Why has no one yet publicly questions why Buffet has a private call from the Secretary of the Treasury about a company the guy ran as COO and CEO . . . and government business with a private citizen involved in Wall Street so heavily. This was a private deal with our top government guy in the mix. If we thought we had stinky fish yesterday, we have super-stinky fish today.

    Tomorrow . . . The markets will probably rally on the Buffet Bail-Out, but eventually the stink will overcome even Warren Buffet. He had no choice. If no one stepped up to the plate tonight, it was all over tomorrow. And he would have suffered huge losses. We already saw that this afternoon. Obviously, Paulson still has weapons. We just never dreamed he had so many fraternity brothers. I think this deal will come back to haunt even Buffet, because there is so much more to be written . . . and even great men (or formerly great men) can’t stop Mother Nature or the Free Markets.

  33. GetALife says:

    Capitalist?

    Barry – do you have any idea what percentage of the journalists whose articles you like to at places like AP, Reuters, the NY Times are labor union members?

    The answer is likely well north of 50 percent.

    ~~~

    BR: There is a huge difference between an independent capitalist, who stands on his own two feet and invests his money and work and thoughts into various projects — and someone who is a welfare whore.

  34. bsneath says:

    I might actually begin to watch some of the NBC/CNBS/MSNBC networks after GE sells them to Comcast and they are no longer captives of the political process.

  35. bsneath,

    w/this: “I might actually begin to watch some of the NBC/CNBS/MSNBC networks after GE sells them to Comcast and they are no longer captives of the political process.”

    I can, only, “Hope” you meant that T-I-C..

    http://clusty.com/search?input-form=clusty-simple&v%3Asources=webplus&query=Comcast+Roberts+Lobbying

  36. HEHEHE says:

    Gstream,

    Actually Berkshire was AmEx’s largest shareholder at the time of their conversion to Bank Holding Co status. They were also held shares in all of the above companies:

    http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/1067983/000095013408020620/v50493we13fvhr.txt

    You need to get your facts straight.

  37. HEHEHE says:

    Here’s a little imagined dialogue I posted on Minyanville last year about this time:

    How a Credit Card Company becomes a Bank holding Company?
    11-11-2008, 12:01 pm

    Fictional conversation between former CEO of Goldman Sachs and current treasury secretary Hank Paulson and super investor Uncle Warren Buffet:

    Paulson: Hi Warren, how can I help you.
    Buffet: Hank remember how you called me the night before your $700B bailout proposal and I came out the next day and supported the proposal.

    Paulson: Yeah I remember that, it sure did keep the serfs from complaining.
    Buffet: Now remember how I put my name and money behind Goldman Sachs a few weeks ago when their stock was tanking
    Paulson: We rewarded you handsomely for that one Warren.
    Buffet: It’s true, but remember my recent NY Times Op-ed re how its a good time to buy US stocks
    Paulson: Let’s cut to the chase Warren, how can I help you.
    Buffet: Well Hank, I have an American Express problem. Seems a lot of these serfs we gave these credit cards to went out and charged a bunch of stuff and the poor suckers have lost their jobs or maxed out their home equity lines and can’t pay it back.

    Paulson: Yeah, you should see the tears rolling down my face.
    Buffet: Those are tears over my couple hindred millions of dollars invested in Amex quickly disappearing right.
    Paulson: Of course, you don’t think I give a sh*t about the serfs LOL
    Buffet: LOL. What can you do to help me?
    Paulson: That’s simple, tell your pal, the CEO at Amex, to put in an application with the FDIC to become a bank holding company. Then we’ll approve it with no public comment and you can have some of the $700B of our little bailout plan.

    Buffet: Fantastic. If you need anything else you know where to find me.
    Paulson: Right back at you buddy!

  38. rustum says:

    Hehehe, good one. But why did they make Amex FDIC insured. They don’t take any deposits. They do not have any banking branches.
    Why do you guys think about Warren Buffer. Do you guys consider him as a successful investor. His major investments are about to fail before government steps in. They are not quality investments as he keep mentions in his quotes.

  39. Blissex says:

    Sure, Buffett, like any goo American, takes the opportunities that he has available, and if he can save on taxes he does, and if he can get bailout money he does, just like those who were given free cash to upgrade their cars or buy new houses. If he is corrupt, most of usians are corrupt (and indeed that’s the case).

    Also because a lot of the bailout was to indirectly save the pension funds and the life insurance industry where many affluent middle class americans have parked their retirement monies. Sure, Wall Street etc. skimmed off a lot of that bailout money, but a lot of current and future retirees have been bailed out too. Virtually all the congresspeople who voted for TARP and other shameful bailouts were re-elected by gratefully corrupt voters, and voters tend disproportionately to be older and more affluent than other usians.

  40. hue says:

    “Barry – do you have any idea what percentage of the journalists whose articles you like to at places like AP, Reuters, the NY Times are labor union members?”

    many of those places are in a not “right to work state.” if there is a union in your shop, you don’t have a choice. and if you can choose to not get into the union, good luck with benefits or your career. and the WSJ and Dow Jones also have a guild.

    how about some levity: Wall St is as dirty as a backed-up sewer. what can you do? … hey, let’s put some more gravy on your mashed potatoes. http://bit.ly/19UPBk

  41. [...] ethics of Warren Buffett in question.  (Big Picture, [...]

  42. bergsten says:

    @hue 10:05am — want to have some info porn fun? Compare the map of “right to work” states:
    http://www.nrtw.org/images/us-map.gif

    with the map of blue/red states:
    http://www.mentalfloss.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/statemapredbluer512.png

    Funny correlation, eh?

  43. RLA says:

    One of our Unions is in negotiations with Mr. Buffett and company. And in reality there is no negotiating with his henchmen. Buffett (MEHC) bought our company about 5 years ago, Pacific Power, it was a cash cow. This is the first negotiations with him, as the union bargained in good faith with an agreement to forgo negotiations and take an extension to help speed the buyout.

    Well five years later, negotaitions start, 27 take-aways. After several trips to the table with little negotitating, stalemate, and a contract offer of just 10 take-aways, but major ones. And no movement on Buffetts side. They want pensions froze, health insurance costs doubled, anywhere from 3 to 8 days of vacation taken away, one holiday taken away, one floating holiday taken away, bereavment leave taken away, accident prevention manual take from Union/Employee input, and sole discretion given to management. And some major wording changes. Some show of thanks for walking into an extension. All of these take-aways, while this portion of his holdings posts $400 million + in profits, a CEO that makes a $22 million bonus this year and a $30 million next year, all the while applying for rate increase every single year, this year 13.7% rate increase.

    First vote was 98% of membership saying NO!

    Now I read the report above, as to how he gains his wealth also through government graft, and off the backs of his workers, guess who is paying for BNSF???????

  44. hue says:

    bergsten, ha! those unions rose out of the Industrial Revolution, Upton Sinclair The Jungle etc. then the companies in the Rust Belt, started moving their factories down South, where there are no unions. The Big Three is now broke, wards of Uncle Sam, can’t pay all of those UAW bennies, etc. and we’re back to slavery, and the Jungle. round and round we go.

  45. alfred e says:

    @MEH: Thanks much for the Gore climate market info.

    Just goes to show how conflicted/corrupt things have become.

    Carbon cap and trade will be our final waterloo.

  46. cheapskate says:

    Buffett is an opportunist who is only interested in making money for himself and his shareholder. Long before this financial collapse and Moodys, he was pumping Freddie/Fannie and calling Franklin Raines out as a great leader.

    Nothing wrong with money making being his only purpose in life.

    His good old worldly philosopher front is an insult to any intelligent person.

  47. alfred e,

    no prob, btw, there’s more to the story, if one follows the trail..

    like this http://clusty.com/search?input-form=clusty-simple&v%3Asources=webplus&query=Club+of+Rome

    always makes for interesting reading..

  48. RLA says:

    Can’t faul the guy for his money making abilities. But people need to know that he has done it off the working mans back, his employees, as well, he isn’t the philanthropic grandfatherly type he is depicted on television. He might be better described as, vindictive, ruthless, and noncaring. Buffett and a Scottsman invented copper wire, they were fighting a battle of tug-of-war over a penny!

  49. stevenstevo says:

    This is stupid. I am actually shocked to see something like this on this website.

    First of all, Goldman, American Express and US Bancorp have repaid those TARP amounts in full, plus accrued dividends. Second, comparing Berkshire’s share of ownership in the above companies to the total amount of TARP the companies received is misleading. Granted, I’m not even sure what it means to say someone has invested in companies that have received XXX amount of TARP, but surely there is a difference between owning one share and a million. Multiplying BRKH’s % ownership in each company by the TARP amount would present a valid comparison with the dollar amount BRKH has invested in each such company. Third, Buffet’s investment in Goldman Sachs is one of the greatest investments we will ever see. Fourth, after subtracting out those who have repaid TARP, BAC and its $45 billion in TARP account for about 60% of the remaining total TARP amount. Buffet’s investment in BAC as indicated above is $67 million. Berkshire Hathaway has a balance sheet of just under $300 billion. Thus, in terms of BRKH’s total assets, the investment in BAC represents about 0.02% of Berkshire’s balance sheet. So let’s be clear: Buffet has benefited very, very, very little from the $45 billion in TARP that BAC has received.

    In summary, the above chart is one of the dumber things ever posted on this website.