March 9th, 2009
12:30 PM ET
11 years ago

Buffett: Government’s message on economy ‘muddled’

(CNN) – Billionaire investor Warren Buffett said Monday government’s message on its plan to fix America’s faltering economy has so far been “muddled.”

Buffett, who endorsed President Obama’s White House bid, said government officials had not effectively communicated their plans, hampering recovery efforts.

“The message has to be very, very clear as to what government will be doing, and I think we've had, and it's the nature of the political process somewhat, but we've had muddled messages and the American public does not know,” he said. “They feel they don't know what's going on, and their reaction then is to absolutely pull back."

“...You can get fearful in five minutes, but you won't get confident for some time and government is going to play an enormous factor in how fast it comes back,” Buffett said. “And if you are confused and fearful, you don't get over being fearful until you aren't confused. The message has to be very, very clear as to what government will be doing.”

Buffett said America is in an “economic war,” and sharply criticized Congress for adding earmarks to the stimulus bill. He said Republicans have an obligation to stand by the Obama administration to fix the economy, but that Obama and Democrats shouldn’t use this as a chance to address other contentious issues and “to roll Republicans.”

“No finger-pointing, no vengeance, none of that stuff, just look forward,” said Buffett, who added that he supports Obama and thinks “he’s the right guy.”

“I think the minority has, they really do have an obligation to support things that in general are clearly designed to fight the war in a big way… I think that the Republicans have an obligation to regard this as an economic war and to realize you need one leader and in general support of that.”


Filed under: Economy
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Polar Bears Against Palen

    Another right-winger at heart. Buffett? YOU are old, rich, and useless. Go drop dead old man.

    March 9, 2009 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. Had It

    I agree. If the Republicans don't like what's put on the table, they should offer suggestions instead of just saying NO and then criticizing.

    To republicans, bipartisan means doing it like the republicans want.

    March 9, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  3. cnnnewser

    Very good article.
    I agree with Mr. Buffet – completely.

    March 9, 2009 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  4. RR

    Obama should have appointed this man a top advisor. The Obama admin is making this up as it goes along and hoping and praying it works.

    Obama also needs to stand up to Nancy Pelosi and stop letting her partisan ego trip ruin legislation.

    March 9, 2009 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  5. Rob

    Quite the contrary, I think the government's message is very clear: "If you are a hard working person who has had success in what you do, you are screwed and we're gonna take your money." Because as we're all trying to be led to believe, it's much better to sit on our butts, do nothing, and let the government take care of us. That's what they want, just look at it. Gone is responsibility and fiscal planning, in its place is government luring you to suck on its teet.

    Maybe they'd like it if we were all mindless drones. Well I mean besides those who are already blindly and stupidly following this administration on every single thing they say.

    March 9, 2009 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  6. obama-mama

    Amen.

    March 9, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  7. Johnny Reb

    First Obama needs to quit blaming Bush and focus on the solution. The he needs to use his gift of speach to educate us about the plan and not hide the fact that it is all special projects that Dems have always wanted to put in place instead of a package for the economy.

    March 9, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  8. wakeupamerica

    I agree! Obama has set his intentions. It is up to Congress to act and Congress is divided. You've got people on the right who are more concerned about politics than economics or what is best for the American people. The people on the left need to also be willing to bend. This is a United States of America problem and political divisions need to come out of it. This is the main reason Obama keeps stressing bipartisanship but it falls on deaf ears. Maybe the right will listen to Buffet, especially since their polling numbers are in the tank. The stimulus should have been bigger than what it got watered down to be. I fear now that with unemployment continuing to climb, it will end up being a wash anyway.

    March 9, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  9. phoenix86

    Buffet is completely wrong. If this is a war, then the "minority" has a duty to ensure that the best and proper course of action is taken. This can only be done after thoughtful debate and the presentation of multiple alternatives. This was not done by Pelosi, Reid, Obama and Co.

    I think the "minority" is doing the country a huge service in questioning and checking the idiocy of the Obama administration.

    March 9, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. gl, Pittsburgh

    ANY BILLIARE NEEDS TO SHUT HIS MOUTH ARE PAY MORE!

    March 9, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  11. Jason S.

    Warren Buffet illustrates why he is the richest man in America.

    Smart, Very Smart and good advice. I only hope that our current administration (and Congress) heeds it.

    March 9, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  12. Erika, KS

    Warren, shut the hell up! You, the media, the President and everyone in between need to shut up! Every time someone makes an asinine statement about how bad it is, it gets even worse. So be quiet!

    March 9, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  13. JOSE IN NORTHRIDGE

    MR,,,,,,,,,,,BUFFETT,,,,,,,,,,,,ARE,,,,,,,,,,,,,,YOU,,,,,,,,,,,,THE,,,,,,,,,,,,ONE,,,,,,,,,

    WHO,,,,,,,,,,PUSHED,,,,,,,,,,,OBAMA,,,,,,,,,,,,ON,,,,,,,,,,,,,US,,,,,,,TELLING,,,,,,,,,

    US,,,,,,,,,,HOW,,,,,,,,,GREAT,,,,,,,,,HE,,,,,,,,,,,,WAS,,,,,,,,,,,,GOING,,,,,,,,,,TO,,,,,,,

    BE,,,,,,,,,,,FOR,,,,,,,,,,,,THE,,,,,,,,,,,ECONOMY ? ? ? C'MON,,,,,,,,,,MAN,,,,,,,,,,,

    COME,,,,,,,,,,,OUT,,,,,,,,,,,AND,,,,,,,,,,,,SAY,,,,,,,,,IT,,,,,,,,,,::::OBAMA= THE,,,,,,,,,,

    NEXT,,,,,,,,,,,DEPRESSION

    March 9, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  14. Simmy

    As long as the public allow Limbaugh, and Republican investors who shape the market to shape their opinions, they will live in fear. Two months is not a long time, considering the six or more years that this mess had been festering. Pundits like Matthews, and others, need to back off and let the President do his job. The mess wasn't built in a day – the fix won't work in two months. Media, get a grip on yourselves.

    March 9, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  15. Doug from OH

    I think Buffet's head is muddled.

    March 9, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  16. Aurrelie

    As usual he is right. No more earmarks.

    March 9, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  17. Reality Check Richmond Virginia

    I like this "clear" idea...........but it would be the first time the Guv was clear, so easier said, then done.

    March 9, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  18. KFR

    At least he feels we should stand by our president. But he also is right there is a lot of vengeance and finger pointing.

    March 9, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  19. sick n tired of being a victim of cowardly CNN moderators

    He's right people! The divide and conquer mentality in Washington needs to end before anything changes! Its too bad 99% of our elected officials are spineless weasels.............. That doesn't help either!

    March 9, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  20. KFR

    Over half of the people who blog and fingerpoint do not know what they are talking about so I am sure you are not going to listen to this billionaire's advice.

    March 9, 2009 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  21. Sammy from San Jose

    EXACTLY RIGHT!!!!

    I HAVEN'T SEEN A "single" PROPER RESPONSE FROM GOP THAT IS EFFICIENT AND EFFECTIVE – YOU HAVE THE RIGHT TO DISAGREE AND YOU SHOULD BUT ALWAYS TRY TO COUNTER PRESENT A "better / pragmatic" SOLUTION ON THE TABLE!!

    ALL I HAVE HEARD IS THE STERO TYPE – BIG vs SMALL GOVERNMENT; PUBLIC vs PRIVATE SECTOR, PRO vs ANTI CHOICE....

    THESE GUYS ARE JUST MOURONS – THEY HAVEN'T REALIZED THAT THE GROUND HAS SHAKEN UNDERNEATH US!!!

    March 9, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  22. payback

    ....Mr. Buffett, I hear what your saying....But you fail to realize. The ECONOMIC MESS. Is far, far worse than any of them thought...Remember. It took along time for "w" to admit that we were in a recession. He was in denial.....Also people like jim kramer, larry kudlow, and The wall street, big banks, and real estate crowd got us into this mess. The 'gordon gekkos'. We are at fault to. Because we wanted to be 'bud fox'.

    March 9, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |