The ‘Oracle of Omaha’ Condemns Republican Health Care Bill At Berkshire Meeting Chris Arnold – May 6, 201711:23 PM ET

Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett visits the exhibit floor in Omaha, Neb., Saturday, where company subsidiaries display their products during the annual shareholders meeting.

Nati Harnik/AP

Billionaire investor Warren Buffett fielded questions at the annual shareholders meeting for his company Berkshire Hathaway. He offered thoughts and insights on everything from Republicans voting to repeal Obamacare, to the Wells Fargo scandal, to how artificial intelligence and technology might reshape America. Here are some highlights:

Repealing Obamacare is “a huge tax cut for guys like me”

When asked about the bill Republicans in Congress just voted to pass to repeal and replace Obamacare, Buffett signaled his distaste for a tax cut provision. Obamacare pays for health care for Americans in part by taxing wealthier people. The Republican bill scraps that tax on the wealthy.

And Buffett has apparently done the math here. If the Republican bill had been law last year, he said, “my federal taxes would have gone down 17 percent last year, so it’s a huge tax cut for guys like me.”

“That is in the law that was passed a couple days ago,” he added. “Anybody with $250,000 a year of adjusted gross income and a lot of investment income is going to have a huge tax cut.”

In the past, Buffett has bristled at tax policy that he sees as favoring the wealthy — famously saying it’s not fair that he pays taxes at a lower rate than his secretary.

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Warren Buffett Dumps Wells Fargo Stock After Sales Scandal Clawbacks – Reuters Apr 12, 2017

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway on Wednesday said it withdrew its application to the Federal Reserve to boost its ownership stake in Wells Fargoabove 10 percent, and is instead selling 9 million shares to keep it below that threshold.

Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A, -0.27%) said it concluded after several months of talks with Fed officials that “the commitments that would be required of us” to maintain a higher stake “would materially restrict our commercial activity with Wells Fargo.”

It also said “investment or valuation considerations” were not factors in the sale of the 9 million shares, which it began on Monday and expects to complete by early July.

Berkshire is the largest shareholder in San Francisco-based Wells Fargo (WFC, -1.92%), which has been beset by a scandal since September over its creation of unauthorized customer accounts.

The bank on Monday said it would claw back an additional $75 million of compensation from the executives it blamed most, former CEO John Stumpf and former community banking chief Carrie Tolstedt.

Despite the scandal, Wells Fargo shares have, like shares of many banks, rallied in recent months, gaining 16.6 percent since Donald Trump was elected U.S. president in November.

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Buffett: Politicians ‘Dead Wrong’ on Economy – By ANUPREETA DAS and NICK TIMIRAOS Feb. 28, 2016 9:34 p.m. ET

Warren Buffett in 2015


Warren Buffett has a message for presidential candidates and others who are down on the U.S. economy: You are “dead wrong.”

In his annual letter to shareholders released Saturday, the chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. reaffirmed his confidence in the future of the country, saying that America’s “golden goose of commerce and innovation will continue to lay more and larger eggs.”

Mr. Buffett took issue with politicians he said are leading Americans to believe that their children will be worse off than they are. “That view is dead wrong,” he wrote. “The babies being born in America today are the luckiest crop in history.”

The 85-year-old billionaire, who often describes his investment holding period as “forever,” is again taking the long view.

Mr. Buffett wrote that since his birth in 1930, real gross domestic product—the standard measure of economic output adjusted for inflation—has grown a “staggering” six times on a per-capita basis. He added that even at the current growth rate of 2%, which has caused concern among some economists, GDP will outpace population growth over the next quarter century and lead to a 34.4% gain, or $19,000 per capita.

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Warren Buffett has his eyes on a mega-supplier of nuts and bolts – MIKE STONE, JENNIFER ABLAN AND JONATHAN STEMPEL, REUTERS Aug. 8, 2015, 7:36 PM

warren buffett

Jason Reed/ReutersWarren Buffett

(Reuters) – Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway is nearing an agreement to buy Precision Castparts, in what could be the company’s largest purchase ever, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The purchase of Precision Castparts, which makes aircraft components and energy-production equipment, could be announced as soon as next week and cost more than $30 billion, assuming typical premiums for mergers, according to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the news. Precision Castparts’ market value was $26.7 billion on Friday.

Neither Berkshire nor Precision Castparts returned calls and emails seeking comment.

Berkshire is one of Precision Castparts’ largest shareholders, with a roughly 3 percent stake worth $882 million as of March 31, according to securities filings.

Though it began building that stake in 2012, it remains among the smaller investments in Berkshire’s portfolio. Such investments are normally picked by Buffett’s investment managers, Todd Combs and Ted Weschler.

The addition of Precision Castparts would extend Buffett’s decade-long push into the industrial sector, where he has bought such companies as parts maker Marmon, Israeli toolmaker Iscar, and specialty chemicals company Lubrizol.

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Warren Buffett was right, trains are awesome at telling you what’s going on in the economy – BOB BRYAN JUN. 14, 2015, 12:43 PM


Warren Buffett once said that if he was stuck on a desert island and only allowed one number to know how the economy is doing, he would pick railcar traffic.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s Ethan Harris and Alex Lin ran the numbers and found that of six weekly indicators (railcar traffic, electricity output, steel output, lumber, chain store sales, and initial jobless claims), railcar traffic is most closely linked to changes in quarterly GDP.

Rail car traffic 06-12-15

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Railcar traffic can account for 34% of the variance in quarterly GDP, higher than any other weekly economic measure. Jobless claims, generally the most talked about of the weekly measures, can only account for 23%. It also is significantly in sync with manufacturing output and monthly GDP changes.

Obviously, it’s not perfect.

“One of the shortcomings of the railcar data is that it captures only about 10% of shipments by weight and only about 3% by volume,” the economists noted. “By contrast, truck shipments capture more than two-thirds of both volume and value … On its own, railcar growth only explains only 12% of the monthly variation in manufacturing output growth. However, that is a lot better than the trucking data and railcars are statistically significant in all our tests.”

Similar to GDP growth, railcar traffic has confirmed the lackluster start of 2015.

“There has been softness recently, but the recent trough coincided with unusually bad weather in February and the dock strike,” wrote Lin and Harris.

Much like other recent indicators, it seems to be making a rebound with a 1% increase over last month’s average in the first week of June.

A season of shareholder discontent: Annual meetings see fights over mega-salaries for CEOs

The combined salaries of Chipotle’s co-CEOs could pay for an order of 7.5 million burritos.

The almost $50 million executive pay package proved to be something shareholders couldn’t swallow. Nearly 77 percent of shareholders at Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc.’s annual meeting voted against the compensation package.

While President Obama and congressional Democrats hope to make an issue of the minimum wage this midterm election season, the hottest topic at this spring’s slew of corporate annual meetings has been rising unhappiness with the maximum wages for many of America’s best-known executives.

Challenges, some successful and some not, were raised to pay packages for top executives at companies such as JPMorgan Chase & Co., McDonald’s Corp.,Target Corp. and Abercrombie & Fitch.

Coca-Cola Co.’s board of directors, including investor Warren Buffett, faced heat from some of the company’s biggest shareholders for approving a compensation package that will award stock to senior managers over the next four years. During the shareholders meeting for McDonald’s, union activists wanting the company to raise the pay of entry-level workers protested at its headquarters chanting, “No Big Macs, no fries, make our wage supersize.”

Chipotle officials say they will take “seriously” such a strong expression of shareholder unhappiness with the pay at the Denver-based chain, even though the vote was only advisory. Among those criticizing the company’s compensation structure were the California State Teachers Retirement System, CalPERS, the New York City Pension Funds and the Florida State Board of Administration.

“Shareowners overwhelmingly said today they are fed up with excessive executive pay at Chipotle,” New York City Comptroller Scott Stringer said in a statement. “The onus is now on the board to rein in the company’s egregious pay practices.”

Shareholder skepticism for executive pay packages has come out as CEO compensation continues to rise. An Associated Press/Equilar study released Tuesday found that average CEO pay has increased 8.8 percent to $10.5 million, up from $9.6 million in 2012. The AP survey found that, for the first time, media CEO pay topped 10 figures, with at least half of America’s top executives at public companies earning $10.6 million or more.

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Which of These 16 Cars Wins the Fuel-Efficiency Smackdown?

So your March Madness bracket didn’t win Warren Buffett’s billion-dollar challenge and you’re really, really lucky if you picked the correct Final Four, but if you’ve still got bracket fever and mad appreciation for the environment, the bracket below is just for you.

Just click a vehicle name from each matchup, based on which you think gets better average miles per gallon. We’ll show you which ones and how many you got right, and in the end, you’ll find out which model tested with the best mileage of 2014. The data is from Note: We didn’t include electric vehicles, just gas and hybrids. Good luck, and see below for more on this data.

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at Apr 6, 2014 5.57

Note: MPG data from varies for some vehicles based on specific engine type, other factors.

In case you’re wondering how this data is compiled, here’s some background. Since 1978, vehicle makers have been required under the Energy Policy and Conservation Act to maintain minimum fuel efficiency standards. Violators are subject to fines called a Gas Guzzler Tax (similar to how greenhouse emitters would be under a carbon tax, but that’s a different story). The fuel-efficiency testing is actually conducted by the manufacturers under legally specified procedures. The EPA spot-checks 10 to 15 percent of the vehicles, and sends the data to the Fuel Economy Information Project, managed by Bo Saulsbury at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee. Saulsbury told Mother Jones that “in the old days it came in as one basic data dump…now it comes in every two weeks.” In fact, you can already find data there for many 2015 models.

Front page image: Creative Outlet/Thinkstock