The World's Most Famous Investor Is Now Investing in...

...government access.  Clearly Warren Buffet saw the writing on the wall in 2009, that the way to make money in the US was no longer to build products and factories but to invest in lobbying to get crony advantages and giveaways.

click to enlarge

This Administration and Senate makes all kinds of progressive noises, but all the while they are running perhaps the greatest expansion of cronyism in US history.  And the smart money knows it.



  1. 3rdMoment:

    This looks weird. I can't believe this is an Obama effect. Did Berkshire acquire a firm that does a lot of lobbying around this time (maybe BNSF?)

    Also, the amounts here are just rounding error compared to the total levels of investment Berkshire deals in, so your first sentence seems highly exaggerated.

  2. Bram:

    Well, some of those horrible climate change deniers are threatening to build a pipeline that would compete with Warren's cho-cho.

  3. markm:

    It's not all Obama effect. According to some of the comments in the link, 2/3 of the lobbying money since 2009 was from the acquisition of BNSF (a heavily regulated railroad, so it buys regulators). But if that was the whole explanation, Berkshire's lobbying would have tripled - instead, it increased by over 5 times. Buffett greatly increased his own lobbying when Obama took office.

  4. morgan.c.frank:

    the awful part is: it's working.

    warren's biggest cause is to jack up cap gains taxes. he likes to to present this as "fairness" but that is NOT why he cares. he cares because most life insurance (and BH is an insurance co, first and foremost) is, by dollar volume, mostly used as an estate planning tool around inheritance taxes. it become incrementally more attractive the less attractive other means of saving are (and jacking up tax rates is a great way to make other investments less attractive vs tax free life insurance).

    he's just looking for a way to grow his underwriting by pretending to be a folksy friend to the little guy.

    buffet has become a real scumbag.

  5. Eric Olmsted:

    Do you have one like this for GoldmanSachs?

  6. KipEsquire:

    Berkshire Hathaway is primarily an insurance company. That plus the BNSF observation...

  7. Me too:

    Buffett has accepted the reality of what is and is acting in the right way to make money. Kind of a basic principle of business.

  8. mesaeconoguy:

    This is Buffett’s team – he wants to get in front of them as much as he can, to forward his agenda.

    Do not believe any of his bullshit marketing image. Buffett is not some naïve, home-spun country bumpkin. And no, his kids are not “regular” kids with regular families.

  9. obloodyhell:

    Was there ANY question Buffet had sold out completely after he agreed with the BS about him paying "a lower percentage of income taxes" than his secretary?

    Ignoring, of course, that he doesn't really *have* an income in the first place.

  10. WalkingHorse:

    There has been little doubt that Buffet sold out the free market years ago. The lobbying budget is merely confirmation of the perverse rhetoric.

  11. antiquarian:

    I'm a capitalist, an investor, and don't agree with his philosophy of taxation, but this analysis of yours can't be described as anything better than dimwitted. Buffett is doing the opposite of making money by lobbying; he's lobbying in favor of increased taxation on the rich. Essentially, he's lobbying to lose money. Not a crony advantage or giveaway in sight, and which among his many investments do you think a crony advantage would give a necessary boost to? He and his partner, the noted Republican Charlie Munger, are famous for investing for the long term-- i.e., investing that isn't dependent on "if onlies" like "if only we have a sweetheart deal based on government access". Your knowledge of him clearly adds up to zero, and your logic ain't much better.

  12. Nehemiah:

    You do know that Berkshire owns Burlington Northern railroad and that railroads compete with pipelines? If Keystone Pipeline gets built there is a lot of bulk oil freight moving from rail pipe. Me thinks there may be some lobbying going on there.

    And I don't suppose they do any lobbying for Berkshire Insurance Services. After all the insurance industry is hardly regulated.

    He hasn't spent a dime of Berkshire's money to lobby for higher taxes. As a matter of fact, Berkshire is in arrears on taxes.

  13. antiquarian:

    The margins on railroads are not high (so that wouldn't amount to much profit per car), oil isn't much of Burlington Northern's business, this wouldn't increase it much, and Burlington Northern isn't the majority of Berkshire. And the increased use of oil might reduce the amount of coal used, which is a major part of BN's business. And Berkshire owns a pipeline company itself, Mid-American, as well as a large position in National Oilwell Varco (meaning the more drilling, the more profit).

    As if all that weren't enough, Buffett has said publicly that he would permit the pipeline, as you can see here:

  14. skhpcola:

    It must tax you greatly to be such a condescending prick.

    Buffett has said publicly that he would permit the pipeline

    He said nothing of the sort and who the fuck are you to grant him the power of "permit[ting]" anything that is outside of his control? Did you read the rest of your linked article? That BH is buying 5,000 new tanker railcars to carry oil? And do you still believe anything that he has to say about the Keystone XL, even when he adds a conditional "probably" to his endorsement? You sound like a BH sockpuppet.

  15. antiquarian:

    If you had followed the link I provided from CNBC, helpfully titled "I'd vote 'yes' on Keystone pipeline: Warren Buffett"-- you'd have seen him say so in public and on video. Specifically, his words were "I don't believe in the Keystone pipeline because of the jobs you'd make building it. You can build anything and create jobs, I just believe it's a useful pipeline."

    "He said nothing of the sort"? Sorry, but it's too much work not to sound condescending when dealing with a moron. Go back to beating your head against the wall.

  16. skhpcola:

    Did you read your own link, you fatuous assclown?

    Buffett said: "It's not that big a competitor. I think probably that the Keystone pipeline is good for the country."

    Buffett is playing his part as a D-bag crony. He, and other D-bags, rely on fuckwits like you focusing on what he says, instead of what he means and does. Thanks for confirming that your comments are unworthy of thoughtful consideration.

  17. cargosquid:

    He also buys many of his companies from private owners that can't pay the estate taxes.