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Warren Buffett Defends Moody's – Drifts Further from Economic Reality

by on
in The Business of Business Finance

It is well documented and agreed that Warren Buffet is the greatest investor of our time.  However, I worry the Oracle of Omaha continues to drift further from economic reality towards his unusual (or weird) view of the world.  Given his status in the business world, Buffett's views should be alarming to his fans, investors and employees.

He has long been a proponent of zero population growth (read here, here and here) and supports the idea of limiting families to a two child maximum. (Isn't China doing something like that?)  Additionally, Mr Buffett has been caught saying that "high income" earners are not paying their fair share of taxes.

For the first time that I can remember, the worlds richest man is spinning the facts in order to prop up the stock price of a company he is selling.  At his annual shareholder meeting last weekend, Mr Buffett defended both Goldman Sach's and Moody's.

Knowing the public facts, his defence of Goldman does not surprise or worry me.  The charges against Goldman will eventually be seen for the political attack they really are.  More importantly, Berkshire Hathaway is not currently selling Goldman shares.

However, anyone who has researched the banking/mortgage crisis that cost U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars can can easily connect the dots and lay a large portion of the blame squarely with the rating agencies: Moody's and S&P.  These two rating agencies improperly (and perhaps criminally) rated sub prime mortgages as AAA.  My concern is that Mr. Buffett and his partner Charlie Munger defended Moody's stating. "When the tiger gets out and starts creating damage, it's insane to blame the tiger, it's the idiot tiger keeper."

Moody's and S&P were the tiger keepers!  The troubling part is that they publicly defend Moody's calling it an "incredibly wonderful business."  If it's so wonderful, why are they selling their shares?

It's not the "tiger keepers" they think are the idiots, it's you and me.

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