Buffett Criticizes Europe on Debt Woes–Wall Street Journal

Posted on May 2, 2011 by


Wall Street Journal’s Shira Ovide reports, Warren Buffett has sounded a bullish note on the health of the U.S. economy. But in a press conference Sunday, the legendary investor and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. sounded the alarm about the debt crisis in Europe.

“Unless you get a more common approach to fiscal policy… and general economic attitude than has been the case recently, the [tensions] will pop out in ways that will be very unpleasant,” Mr. Buffett said in response to a question about Europe’s fiscal health.

Berkshire Vice Chairman Charlie Munger criticized European countries for not reacting more quickly to tackle their debts. Mr. Munger said the ineffective early interventions were like shooting “a pea shooter at an elephant.” He said the efforts haven’t improved much, and Mr. Munger said he wasn’t confident citizens of economically healthier countries in Europe are willing to support struggling countries such as Greece.

“I think Europe has a hell of a problem,” Mr. Munger said.

Mr. Buffett’s comments on the global economy are closely watched by investors, and at the Sunday press conference he was asked about economies and business opportunities in Japan, Korea, China, Brazil, the U.K. and other points around the world.

Repeatedly, Mr. Buffett proclaimed himself “delighted” to make investments in the questioner’s country, even as the bulk of Berkshire’s businesses are U.S. companies. But Mr. Buffett said Berkshire companies have far-flung operations and the company’s investments in companies from Coca-Cola Co. to Procter & Gamble Co. give Berkshire broad exposure to foreign economies.

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