Why are they listening to Warren Buffett on the bailout?


Why is Congress inviting in a major investor–who stands to recoup more billions of $ in the wake of the bailout proposal, if enacted–to weigh in on legislation?

Buffett has made billions through–if I read his own words correctly–buying when other people are selling, and selling when other people are buying.

Admittedly this simple principle, following the so-called law of supply & demand to its logical application, has not occurred to everyone else, especially everyone else on Wall Street–people who have instead fomented and pursued one Ponzi scheme after another.

But it hardly makes Buffett the go-to person in a situation where the financial interest of millions of ordinary citizens is pitted against that of a few of the mega-wealthy.

You want some perspective on Buffett as the populist protector? 1) He was one of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s top two or three advisors, when Schwarzenegger hijacked the California recall campaign conducted mostly by Darrell Issa and unceremoniously replaced Issa with himself. GOP movers and shakers enforced the replacement–which took place within hours of the successful recall. One result is that Californians–who are suffering mightily from a lethal bubble in the real estate market in that state–are stuck with Schwarzenegger as Gov. And Buffett was, as mentioned, his advisor.

2) Buffett is a major stakeholder in the Washington Post Company, the parent company of the Washington Post newspaper. This connection is sometimes mentioned in Post news reports and columns, sometimes not. (Why the editors do not insist on making the mention routine, every time Buffett’s name appears in their newspaper, is beyond me.) Buffett has been connected with the Post ever since the Post started trending toward the rightwing Washington Times, including the period in which the WP treated George W. Bush as a credible presidential candidate.

These people are not unbiased sources on questions like whether the purchase of “troubled assets”–essentially, a guaranteed price for an unguaranteed product, except multiplied by millions–is genuinely in the longterm public interest.

Barack Obama had a measured response on this topic on today’s Face the Nation. Interviewed by Bob Schieffer, Obama pointed out accurately that the [exact] wording of the legislation being proposed is key.

Obama said he will support the bill, WITH the conditions he has already laid down–oversight, taxpayer protections, etc. More importantly, Obama said that the conditions have to be “meaningfully included.”

Presumably that means that the conditions will have to be clear and specific, with teeth in them.

Otherwise they would carry about as much weight as John McCain’s repeated claim, on This Week with George Stephanopoulos this morning, that he is “a Teddy Roosevelt Republican.”

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