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Some people say even the most milquetoast, status-quo-hugging moderate Democrats are essentially Vladimir Lenin. Not so, sayeth one milquetoast, middle-of-the-road moderate Democrat, and one with $89 billion in the bank to prove it.

“I’m a card-carrying capitalist,” Mr. Buffett said. “I believe we wouldn’t be sitting here except for the market system,” he added, extolling the state of the economy. “I don’t think the country will go into socialism in 2020 or 2040 or 2060.”

If you’re waiting for the “but” that has followed similar encomia from Ray Dalio and Paul Tudor Jones, well, that’s not the Oracle of Omaha’s style. He’s already laid out his caveat, which it to tax the hell out of people like him, something Mike Pence & co. are certainly not doing. And, well, that’s it. Don’t be looking to him for fancy words or ostensibly earnest handwringing or P.R.-friendly empty gestures or diversity initiatives or any other such feel-good nonsense.

Mr. Buffett and his partner, Charlie Munger, went so far as to dismiss the growing movement among investors and policymakers to fix it by focusing on environmental, social and governance initiatives — known as E.S.G. Mr. Buffett appeared to suggest that the movement is largely virtue-signaling and ultimately counterproductive….

Mr. Munger added: “When it comes to so-called best corporate practices, I think the people that talk about them don’t really know what the best practices are. They determine that on what will sell, not what will work.” He added: “I like our way of doing things better than theirs and I hope to God we never follow their best practices….”

Berkshire explicitly states that it does not consider diversity when hiring board members…. Mr. Buffett did say that Berkshire’s energy business was focused on generating 100 percent of its energy in Iowa from wind energy, but it was also clear that was a business decision, not one made for moral or public relations reasons.

Oh, and speaking of rackets, let’s talk a bit about those independent directors people are so hot for these days. Not Warren Buffett.

“The independent directors in many cases are the least independent,” Mr. Buffett said. He explained that many independent directors need the money that comes with being a director, usually an annual fee of about $250,000. “They aren’t going to upset the apple cart,” he said, explaining that these independent directors get put on the compensation committee because they can be controlled.

“How in the world is that independent?” Mr. Buffett exclaimed. “You don’t get invited to be on your boards if you belch too often at the dinner table.”

And while we’re on the subject of stupid things, let’s talk about Brexit, or, rather, how that specific stupid thing won’t stop him from spending some billions in Albion, because he’s got to spend them somewhere and if he buys back too much Berkshire stock they won’t be able to fill the CHI Health Center in Omaha for Buffettstock anymore.

"We're hoping for a deal in the UK and/or in Europe, no matter how Brexit comes out," the billionaire told his annual shareholders' meeting…. "It doesn't destroy my appetite in the least for making a very large acquisition in the UK."

Warren Buffett’s Case for Capitalism [DealBook]
Buffett seeks UK investment despite Brexit [BBC]


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