Buffett: chance of U.S. recession “very low” , Thomson Reuters: Reuters Insider
The transcript from Reuters Insider follows:
You can have a two-percentage point deficit relative to GDP and the debt to GDP will not grow. I mean that could probably, will shrink it just a touch. So you can have a 2% deficit average. And I would take the plan the 90% of the people here wouldn’t come up with, to get to that 19% of revenue and already get to 21%. It can be Simpson-Bowles, it can be a bunch of different things.
And no one’s going to agree 100% on every point but I think we do agree on the fact that we probably should be raising 18.5% to 19% and we should be spending 21% or thereabouts. And it means getting more from taxes and it means cutting expenditures. And the problem is that the Democrats don’t want to talk about what expenditures they would cut and the Republicans don’t want to talk about increasing revenues.
So would you have been in favor of increasing the capital gains tax or no?
Yeah, I would be in favor of that. But we can come to – we’re raising, well say, $2.4 trillion, $2.5 trillion and we have to raise probably $300 billion or $400 billion more than that. And that can be done – I mean we’ve done it straight through. I mean I’ve operated under all kinds of tax rates including 39.6% on capital gains and the country is growing under all these circumstances – our country works, but somebody has to step up and say where it comes from and it won’t come from just talking about reform doesn’t solve anything on either the expenditure side or the revenue side. I mean you’ve got to get specific about it.
Today, the economy in the United States is thought to be growing about 2.5% a year. Do you agree with that? Do you think there’s any chance of a recession in the near term?
I think it’s very low unless events in Europe evolve in some way that it’ll spill over here big time.
So it recently came out in court discussion that the insider trading thing that’s going on relating to an investment you have made in Goldman. Right. It came out that you had set the deal and you told the investment banker, this is the deal and they had to get back to you but you said don’t call for a few hours because you’re going to Dairy Queen with your grandchildren. Is that right?
You didn’t want to be disturbed on a deal?
Well I knew what I would do and I told them what I would do. If they want to do it, fine, if they didn’t want to do it, fine.
I mean we don’t really negotiate at Berkshire, just that I don’t have enough time, just spend the rest of my life negotiating with people. So I tell them what I’ll do and if it works, fine, if it doesn’t work, fine then.
Have you ever regretted not getting involving in giving away money earlier in your life or-? No. My wife regretted that. She thought I should – she liked the idea of giving away. We both agreed on giving away all the money. I mean once we had everything we wanted and we have everything we wanted. The surplus wealth I have has no utility to me, as all kinds of utility in the rest of the world if used properly. So we agreed on that early.
She would have liked the idea of giving way more of it earlier and I thought that I was going to be a better compounding machine than most places and that there would be a whole lot more to give away later on. So I told her, I’ll pile it up and you unpile it and all that.
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