April 5, 2009
Warren Buffett Profits Heavily from TARP funds
Warren Buffett promoted the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP), and lambasted the greed on Wall Street, yet he is one of the main benefactors of the TARP largesse according to a Sacramento Bee story.
Buffett endorsed Barack Obama for President last year, and Obama tapped Buffett to be a member of the candidate's economic team. Obama requently referred to Buffett's endorsement during the campaign as proof that he had the capability to deal with the troubled US economy.
Buffett's holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, profited from TARP in several ways according the the Bee story:
Overall, Berkshire owns more than $13 billion of stock in the top recipients of TARP funds – including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., US Bancorp, American Express Co. and Bank of America Corp., all considered by analysts to be in deep trouble before the federal infusion. The more the bailout props up these financial companies, the more secure Berkshire's investments.
That total, The Bee found, ranks Berkshire fifth among all investors in TARP-assisted companies. Berkshire's TARP holdings constitute 30 percent of its publicly disclosed stock portfolio. That proportion reflects at least twice as much dependence on bailed-out banks as any other large investor.
Buffett increased his bank holdings in September, while openly pressing Congress to pass the bailout.
The Obama administration has been blaming Republicans for the economic mess (and there is some culpability there too), yet the Democrats keep showing up with millions of dollars in their pockets. Senate Banking Chairman Chris Dodd received special treatment from Countrywide on his mortgage, Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel received about $300,000 for very little work at Freddie Mac, former Clinton OMB Director Franklin Raines reaped about $90 million from Fannie Mae by inflating profits -- and the list goes on.
But what is really troubling is the chicanery that Warren Buffett and other Democrats employ to blame eveything on Wall Street when it is Washington that is largely to blame.