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May 07, 2005

Warren Buffett Joins the Order of the Shrill

Calculated Risk Reports:

Calculated Risk: Buffett and FDR: Warren Buffett was on CNN's Lou Dobbs Tonight on Wednesday. Here is an excerpt:

DOBBS: Are you surprised when you focus on the two deficits we just talked about, the trade deficit, and the budget deficit? The budget deficit is 3.6 percent of our GDP. The trade deficit is reaching just almost 6 percent of GDP. And the president is talking about reforming Social Security. Does that surprise you?

BUFFETT: Well, it's an interesting idea that a deficit of $100 billion a year, something, 20 years out, seems to terrify the administration. But the $400 plus billion dollars deficit currently does nothing but draw yawns. I mean the idea that this terrible specter looms over us 20 years out which is a small fraction of the deficit we happily run now seems kind of interesting to me. There is no question that the Bush Administration is ignoring the most serious economic problems facing America and that they are more interested in ideological driven issues. The most serious fiscal issues are: the General Fund deficit, the current account / trade deficit, and health care. Why are we talking about Social Security?

I'm reminded of this letter that FDR wrote in 1924 to Delaware attorney Willard Saulsbury.

"I remarked to a number of friends that I did not think the nation would elect a Democrat again until the Republicans had led us into a serious period of depression and unemployment", FDR, Dec 9, 1924

Buffett might find the denial of our serious problems "interesting", but I'm worried that FDR's prediction might ring true again.

I hope not. I remain an optimist; I believe if we acknowledge our problems and address them in a rational manner, we can fix them.

But all I see from the Bush Administration is denial and wishful thinking.

Posted by DeLong at May 7, 2005 05:11 PM