CNBC’s Becky Quick interviews Warren Buffett on stage at The Gatehouse Hands Up for Success luncheon.
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Warren Buffett: The 20 Odd Categories Of Autos
There the way that that just set this up. He talked about that purchase from nine years ago. Joe pointed out they didn't call it a huge battle on the future of the American economy and that that paid off in a big way. In fact this year the annual report you wrote about BNSF as one of the towering redwoods in the grove that is Berkshire Hathaway. Looking back nine years. What can you say about what's happened since.
Well it is the tallest Redwood in the Berkshire forest and I couldn't hear back there exactly the way Matt was relating the story. So we didn't we didn't coordinate to get our story straight but it was it was a seminal time for Berkshire and either the last day of October the early days of November of 2009 and Matt and I talked at a small hotel in Fort Worth and our directors are going to meet there in the fall that will be the top 10 are. And I've just had so much good luck in Texas but nothing rivals the BNSF acquisition. One thing you may find interesting I had a talk with.
Matt on I guess it was Monday following the Friday I was out here with him and more or less had the deal and I called our lawyers and I said You fellows can bill me for all the hours you want between now and Sunday at noon. And after that you're working for nothing. So I compress that deal and no one waiting period or so that otherwise probably would have taken months if I if I hadn't made that they made that restriction. Those of you who have dealt. On corporate deals will understand why I stopped that.
I see people taking notes. We are also looking at that retiring next month. He's going to be stepping down.
What are going to do without him well he has left us a great great read. This is the towering red road at Berkshire and we're going to take good care of you but for us. I think I described it I don't know when it was in the lead and as being a bet on the country on a 100 year asset it's more than 100 year I suck but I thought that would probably be as long as I would be around.
So I want to speak beyond my tenure. But it is so fundamental.
It moves more than 15 percent of the time Miles in terms of inner city traffic in the United States. It is. It is important not only to Berkshire. It really is important to the country and it's always it's been treated like it was important to the country. He realizes that it has a significance that goes well beyond that of a virtually in the business of making sure this country works like the way we want it to work.
When you've been fascinated with the railroads I think since you were a kid right now you look at it as something much more than just a fun toy or something to kind of aspire to watch this as something that's a real way of measuring the economy. You talk all the time about the car loads and I just wonder what you're seeing right now when you look at that statistic.
What that tells you about the economy is distorted in the last week or two by the floods in the Midwest. We move a lot of coal. But. But there are 20 odd categories that the rail road industry reports on for all the of and winter is always a little bit of a tricky thing but I would say that the it looks like it's slowing down. I don't mean it's reversed course or anything but it does it does seem from all of the businesses but especially including railroads statistics because they come so fast and they cover such a broad spectrum and it gets distorted by whether people are hurrying up the Pacific trade because they're worried about tariffs and all of that sort of thing. But I would say that it does look like the pace of increase in the economy has slowed down and I wouldn't call it. A call and somewhere close to noticeably but I wouldn't go beyond that.
Have you seen it broadly is that when it comes down to commodities when it comes down to things that retailers are ordering when it comes down to energy or are there a couple of areas where you see more weakness.
Well there are these 20 odd categories of autos that aggregates that you name a grain most almost all of those categories throughout last year were or trending strong.