WARREN BUFFETT FBN INTERVIEW – Jeff Bezos knows what to do with Whole Foods, I don’t

WARREN BUFFETT FBN INTERVIEW – Jeff Bezos knows what to do with Whole Foods, I don’t

In an interview to air FOX Business Network’s (FBN) Countdown to the Closing Bell (weekdays 3p-4p/ET), Berkshire Hathaway Chariman and CEO Warren Buffett sat down today with anchor Liz Claman to discuss the latest surrounding tax reform, growing tensions with North Korea, the unemployment rate, Hurricane Harvey, and more.

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On whether a tax reform bill we be passed by 2017:

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“I think there’s a pretty good chance. I probably think there’s more of a chance of that than most people think. I think the Republicans need one and if you don’t make it too complicated, try and really change the code in a massive way, I think you probably can get it done.”

On the tax reform bill:

“I’ve never heard anyone describe a tax move as tax reform if they’re own taxes were getting increased. So I don’t think we’re talking about tax reform. Reform for one person is something else for the other. But it looks like we’re moving more and more towards an overall tax cut. And that isn’t where we started. We talked about being revenue neutral originally, but I think that the politics have evolved in such a way that if you’re going to get anything done reasonably fast, it can’t be a 1986 type massive reform act. So I think if we see a tax change, it isn’t necessarily tax reform, it will be a tax cut. It will be called tax reform though.”

On whether President Donald Trump is handling the situation with North Korea well:
“I don’t think you ever know from the outside, I mean. In terms of the intelligence you get and the advice you get, it’d be crazy to put everything you know out into the paper if you’re a government dealing with that. Even during the Cuban missile crisis, you don’t want to operate on the front page.”

On whether he is changing his business strategy based on the North Korean nuclear threat:
“No. not at all.”

On how many cars insured by Geico in Texas will be destroyed:

“We had about 500,000 cards, roughly, insured in the general area where all the rain has occurred. It could run 10 percent of those are probably totally damaged. We don’t know yet. It takes weeks for people to get back and see what’s happened and everything. But it’s not a huge insurance event to Berkshire Hathaway as a whole. The effect on people is unbelievable.”

On why are there still over half a million people who are homeless:
“That’s a fact we should be ashamed of. It’s a problem that can be solved. It does need the participation of government. The market system does all kinds of things wonderful. We owe this incredible wealth we have in this country to a market system. But a market system does not take care of the guy that doesn’t fit in very well. We have a rich society and just like a rich family, we should make sure that everybody has a reasonable way of living. If someone is willing to work 40 hours a week and they have a couple of kids, they should have a decent life in this country.”

On whether the quality of jobs needs to be improved in the United States:

“Well, there are going to be a certain number of people that don’t fit the demands of the market system at a given time. If you go back to 1800, 80 percent of the people worked on farms. That was a talent that could be handled by a very high percentage of population. A lot of the jobs we have can’t be handled by a very high percentage of the population. So the market system has produced an imbalance of some percent.”

On whether he see’s banks benefitting if certain regulations are removed from Dodd-Frank:

“Well probably anything that reduces regulation significantly would reduce some costs because the number of people working in the regulatory area is a huge cost to many banks. Then you got to figure out, are you getting your money’s worth out of certain rules. If you put together 2,000 pages of rules then you probably got something in there that is causing unnecessary expenses…I think the most important thing, and I think this may have gotten watered down a little in Dodd-Frank, is that if there is another crisis and someday there will be, that the Chairman of the Fed can step out in front of a bunch of reporters and say I’m going to do whatever it takes. You have to have somebody in the end that has the ability, authority…that they will do whatever it takes when there is a crisis.”

On whether he wished he had thought to buy Whole Foods instead of Jeff Bezos:

“No, no. Jeff knows what to do with it, I don’t. that’s a big difference.”

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