Warren Buffett, second richest man in America, has some stern words for his fellow citizens:
Sentiment has turned very sour in the last three or four or five months. I hope we get over it pretty soon, because it's not productive. We will come back regardless of how people feel about Washington, but it is not helpful to have people as unhappy as they are about what's going on in Washington.
Talk about condescension. Mr. Buffett's Teleprompter must have malfunctioned. What he meant to say was this:
OK, kiddies, shut up, play nice, and pay your taxes. I've had a chance now to read the Dodd-Frank Bill, and I have no problem with it. Your public servants in Washington are working really, really hard for you with bills like this, so you could show a little gratitude.
Are we fellow citizens or second-class citizens? Junior members of the body politic? Just being philosophical are you, Mr. Buffet? Was it only last spring that you were leaning, hard, on Congress to drop new regulations on derivatives? When you said "I don't see any reason why they [the banks] should be paying a special tax"? When you said that supporters of the plan to tax the banks were "trying to punish people. I don't see the rationale for it"? Then, feedback to your political representatives was a good thing, right? Probably your "civic duty" or some such? All depends on whose ox is getting gored, doesn't it? You see, Mr. Buffett's company, Berkshire Hathaway, has $63 billion invested in derivatives, and it would not have been fair to change the rules of the game. In fact, he felt so strongly about the matter that he dispatched his lieutenant, David Sokol, to meet with "scores of lawmakers, aides and government officials" to lobby against the changes. And who among those public "servants" was the lone Democrat holdout on the derivatives language in the bill? That would be Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., who just happens to own $6 million in stock in Berkshire Hathaway (here and here). Yay, Ben! Struck another blow for the little people! Talk about helping others while helping yourself. Henry Percy is the nom de guerre for a technical writer living in Arizona. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.