Warren Buffett: World Class Hypocrite


So, Warren Buffett’s letter is out and so is the usual fawning praise from his worshippers. You’re supposed to drop everything and pore over the old man’s words. I’ve read in at least three different places how great an education you get by reading his letters. It’s become a cliché.

You may get that education, but you also get a lesson in how to be a world-class hypocrite.

Here he is in his letter, with a deaf ear for irony:

Forming macro opinions or listening to the macro or market predictions of others is a waste of time. Indeed, it is dangerous because it may blur your vision of the facts that are truly important. (When I hear TV commentators glibly opine on what the market will do next, I am reminded of Mickey Mantle’s scathing comment: “You don’t know how easy this game is until you get into that broadcasting booth.”)

Yes, the Mickey Mantle bit is cute. It is in line with Buffett’s golly-gee 1950s-style image he seems to want to cultivate.

But Google ‘Warren Buffett CNBC’. Click on videos. Look at all those appearances by Warren Buffett. Doing what? Well… telling us about his market predictions and giving us his macro opinions.

Here’s an excerpt from the first video that came up on my search:

You’re going to invest your money in something over time. The one thing you can be quite sure of is if we went into some kind of very major war, the value of money would go down. That’s happened in virtually every war I’m aware of. The last thing you’d want to do is hold money during a war. You might want to own a farm, you might want to own an apartment house, you might want to own securities. During World War II the stock market advanced.


I think that’s called a ‘macro opinion’.

If Warren Buffett thinks macro opinions are a waste of time, maybe he should start by shutting his own mouth.

So, as I say, he’s a hypocrite. He says, in essence, don’t listen to anybody’s macro opinions but mine.

I have to say, too, I’m tired of Buffett’s shtick. He cultivates a wholesome image. But he’s a Wall Street shark all the same. I always stop and choke on sentences like the following from him:

When Wall Streeters tout EBITDA as a valuation guide, button your wallet.

See, that’s typical fare from the old folksy Warren Buffett from Omaha, Nebraska. He ain’t from Wall Street. He’s just a country fella out to sell Coca-Cola and See’s Candies. And he’s got a wallet with a button. Aw, shucks!

He forgets that one of his biggest positions is…Goldman Sachs!

Yes, the same firm that Matt Taibbi forever branded ‘a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.‘ And with good reason. They are Wall Streeters of the worst sort.

Well, maybe Buffett just forgot about Goldman Sachs.

But wait… Then there is this:

We can buy 700 million shares of Bank of America at any time prior to September 2021 for $5 billion. At year-end these shares were worth $10.9 billion. We are likely to purchase the shares just before expiration of our option. In the meantime, it is important for you to realize that Bank of America is, in effect, our fifth largest equity investment and one we value highly. (Bold added)


You mean Bank of America/Merrill Lynch? The bank too crooked to fail? Borrowing again from the incomparable pen of Matt Taibbi, the ‘hypergluttonous ward of the state whose limitless fraud and criminal conspiracies we’ll all be paying for until the end of time.

Golly, gee whiz!

But they are not part of the Wall Streeters’ thieving clan, right?

Oh, but there is even more…

Buffett’s single largest position is Wells Fargo & Co.

Wait, Wells Fargo?

You mean the Wells Fargo who, along with Bank of America, made the Dirt Diggers Digest’s list of major financial institutions whose track records amount “to one of the most brazen crime waves in the entire history of capitalism”?

You mean the same bank ‘whose fraudulent and predatory practices helped instigate the financial collapse. It is the same bank that continues to foreclose on homes across the country, despite having received a massive government bailout.‘ (This from a website dedicated to tracking its crimes.)

Not that Wells Fargo?

Yes, that one!

Warren Buffett is a moneyed goon just like the rest of these pirates. What I really want to say is unprintable.

People such as Warren Buffett get an undeserved free pass in American life. We chuckle and smile at his folksy humour. But underneath he is just a Wall Street marauder with nicer manners. Boy, are we suckers.

He likes to criticize Wall Street. But he’s part of it. He is a thief himself, a recipient and beneficiary of government bailouts. It just goes to show you that if you make a lot of money, you can get away with almost anything in this country.

Buffett either can’t see it, or he knows full well what he’s doing and just doesn’t care about what you peons think. After all, when Jamie Dimon – the head of JP Morgan – got a 74% pay raise for his 2013 performance to $20 million, Buffett defended him.

If I owned J.P. Morgan Chase, he would be running it and he would be making more money than the directors are paying him,‘ Buffett said.

Oh, that reminds me. Buffett owns shares of JP Morgan, too! There isn’t a crook around that Buffett doesn’t like.

Let me sum up by saying that Warren Buffett is indeed a great investor. He may well be the greatest investor who ever lived. People will study his career for as long as there are stock markets. And they should. There is a lot to learn. In earlier days, he was truly a superb investor.

In the last decade, though, he’s become more of an oligarch using his money and influence to make deals and reap gains no other investor ever has a shot at duplicating.

He likes to criticise Wall Street but his criticism rings hollow. He is a Wall Streeter extraordinaire. And he’s invested with the worst of them up to his glasses!


Chris Mayer
for The Daily Reckoning Australia

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Chris Mayer
Chris Mayer is a veteran of the banking industry, specifically in the area of corporate lending. A financial writer since 1998, Mr. Mayer's essays have appeared in a wide variety of publications, from the Mises.org Daily Article series to here in The Daily Reckoning. He is the editor of Mayer's Special Situations and Capital and Crisis - formerly the Fleet Street Letter.

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3 Comments on "Warren Buffett: World Class Hypocrite"

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slewie the pi-rat
slewie the pi-rat
2 years 7 months ago

well, the indignation may lead to political action, in which case people may be interested in slewie’s new Spring Offensive tattoo-line of ideological accessories for activists.
here’s a teaser that i think you’ll agree goes with just about everything:

“Don’t microwave me, bro!”

2 years 7 months ago

Yep, Buffet predicts boondoggles. Master twit predicts own birth.

Arminius Aurelius
Arminius Aurelius
2 years 6 months ago
My question is did Buffet warn investors that the Precious Metals market was irrational between December 1979 and January 1980 ? I saw it and got out the very day it storted to drop . Did Buffet warn investors that the DOW was irrational back in 1998 when the DOW more than doubled in 4 years? I saw it . It crashed in 2000 . Did Buffet warn investors that the Real Estate market was irrational in 2005 and 2006 ? I saw it . Did he warn investors about the Dow in 2007 / 2008 ? I saw it… Read more »
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