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Warren Buffett: Get the Debt Ceiling Out of the Picture

January 02, 2020 16:29 PM UTC
- Updated February 18, 2020 13:56 PM UTC

Warren Buffett addresses the US economic recovery and the current debt crisis at the 2013 Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington, D.C.

I think this anniversary for us. More in the fifth anniversary of your first appearing here, Uh, the first time that he was here in 2008. Waas An electric moment. It was early October. Lehman had had failed two weeks before a I had been taken over by the government. Um, the tarp bill had not been passed. It was going to be passed before the M p. W was over, but it's not been passed that morning and, uh, things were not looking good. So I didn't have one preliminary comment to make the warrant, and I'll come back to that a little bit later. But I then turned to a moi CE and said, Okay, how bad is it out there? And he said, I went back looking for video and he said, It's bad. It's like nothing I've ever seen. It's an economic Pearl Harbor in which credit worthy companies cannot get financing. We will pull out of it, but it's going to take time. So I would say we would say, looking back, that was the sound of that assessment. We will come back to the recovery. Even so, here we are, five years later, once again in the middle of financial trouble. And I like to ask, you feel and I'd like to say one more word. How bad is it out there? Well, it's not so bad in the economy, it's bad for a great many, Bar says. Overall, though, the economy has done very well. I mean the It's been a slow recovery, but it was a extreme wound that the economy had received, like none in my lifetime. So it's not totally surprising that it's taken us a while to come back. But ever since the fall of 2009 that recovery is come back steadily. It it hasn't accelerated, but it hasn't flattened out here, and that's that's the way it is now. And, uh, you know, even 2% of your growth. The population grows 1%. That means in a generation people were living on every 20% better than the generation before. That is not bad. I'd be better if it's 3% but right way have a wonderful economy and you've seen it heal faster than the other major economies around the world. Well, let's come back to that in just a second. Let's talk about the debt ceiling problem. And when he asked that question again, How bad is that? Well, if if it really it goes out on a few days way. Really? Ah, don't get resolved in there. It's absolutely terrible. I mean, I've told my Children that it takes 20 years to build a reputation, and it takes 20 minutes to ruin it. And why Barbie Well, would particularly my kids, they they But we have spent 237 years since 17 76 building a reputation, uh, you know, as the most wonderful country on earth and one that's entrusted with having the reserve currency of the world the one who, when they say full faith and credit, nobody questions that, and that could Well, that is being put in jeopardy now. And it could be it could be destroyed in a little while. And a great reputation, as I say is like virginity. It could be it could be preserved, but it can be restored. And, uh, that's what my dad told me. Uh uh, So it is absolute folly. Two, uh, even think about it, and it will be. I mean, I don't know what the words are to describe it is if we actually would befall, I can't believe it will be done because, uh, it's just so stupid. And I think that the whole idea of a of the debt limit is a terrible, terrible mistake. I mean, if you're going to spend more than you take in, what are you going to do except raise the debt limit? So it becomes this political weapon of mass destruction? It really is like a nuclear bomb. It's something. Maybe you can talk about it. I can't even dream of using it. We dropped two atom bombs in 1945. We've never done it since. We've been frustrated by all kinds of different way had a war. The anomaly way did not get a satisfactory resolution to worry about other wars, but we didn't think about. We're gonna drop nuclear bombs there. Certain things that just don't should not be used in the civilization and the idea of breaking the government's promises to achieve any other end, whether it's gun control, abortion, obamacare, whatever it is tying it to, that is madness. You can argue those other things out, leave, get the debt ceiling out of the picture. Well, and here we are, two days away on the phone. Well, it is the actual woman which we do not raise it or do raise it. Do you have a kind of scenario in mind is how is how we will get from here to actually solving this problem? I think the way to solve it is just to say, the debt ceiling. Both parties to say that that ceiling will never be used as a weapon of mass destruction. It's off the table. We'll argue about all kinds of other things and see how they come out. But we're not going to say we're not going to threaten the world and our own citizens with the fact that we are gonna make good on our promises to achieve some other end. It doesn't make any sense. Well, and seeing the political climate in Washington, can you imagine that happening in the next couple of days? I can't imagine that the full thing playing out that way, although I wish it would. But maybe it will. Maybe this has been the demonstration project we needed. I mean way We didn't know exactly what atomic weapons could do until we did him, and and then it wasn't important. It was an incredible goal, obviously at the time. But we just that we didn't want it to that again, no matter how serious things got. And, uh, I hope that comes out of it. But I think that what I think basically, uh, you really need I House Republicans to say, you know, this is a weapon we shouldn't abuse. And well, we think Obama card Obama care is terrible and you know we'll fight it out and we'll beat you in 2014 and the elections improvement and so on. But but we will not. We will not say that the United States has been a baker's promises to millions and millions of citizens in other countries and everything just because we're not getting our way. And how about the prospects that it will just be pushed forward to the end of January? That seems to be our specialty. I mean, we've got good it that way, don't know how to solve problems, which you're not a post mortem on, Duh. That may be what happens. I'll be disappointed if it does, but but I think all of us, we'll just go through. It's ridiculous. I mean, why don't I do it? I mean, you know, Now, I, uh if you have a problem, you face it. But that ceiling is a problem that we could get rid of it being a problem. Then we'll have a lot of other problems, and we can fight those out on their own turf. But just push it down the road. I mean, you know, people go through Christmas wondering and how's all this going to come out? They point of Super Committee, which turns out to be a mini committee and all kinds of it. It just doesn't make any sense. Well, considering the confusion we're in, has this affected your decisions about running Mercer in any way? Not one iota way. Announced the acquisition this morning. It was over in England. Those 3 a.m. I think for a purchase for a 1.1 billion. It didn't affect a dollar of the price that we put it. We did not put in a clause that said, if if Congress does this or that deal hasn't closed for a while, that the deal will be offered me. I got it doesn't affect anything. This country is going to do well over time. I want to participate in. I'll participate through running good businesses. And if we get a chance to buy a good business, we buy it. And I will say this. Charlie Munger, my partner and I have worked together now for 54 years, we've made a lot of decisions on buying businesses. We've made a lot of decisions on buying stocks. In the conversations that accompanied those decisions, neither one of us has ever once brought up anything of a macro nature period. It just doesn't make any difference. I don't know what's gonna happen next week or next month or next year. I know what's gonna happen over 10 or 20 years. And why concern myself with the things I can't know and don't understand One of the important things air, something I think I do understand. And what would you say to this audience? Many of them who have are making decisions, real time decisions about what to do. So how would you speed ahead? Okay. All right. I think we got that. I really didn't expect you to say I mean, that's I bought my first stock, you know, in April in 1942. How they after Pearl Harbor, we had nothing but bad news for six months. The headlines every day where you know that we were having trouble with correct orbit. Todd, you name it and, uh, you know, the doll was at about 100 and, you know, the news was terrible, but I and practically every American I knew I thought we were gonna win the war, and and the stock I bought was shape. It got quite a bit cheaper in the next two months, but I've been buying stocks ever since. And always being glad in a way that he got cheaper because you've been buying a cheaper parts. I love a sale, you know? I mean, just try me out, mark down the price of fortune, and I'll extend my suspicion for 20 years and the recovery as dwell on that a second. You see it at this moment flowing inning? Or do you see it just going along at a steady upward pace? I can't tell you about the last week, but I could tell you about the last month I mean, because I get figures on 70 plus companies in pretty much really time. And the recovery ever since the fall of 2009 has been going up at a modest rate and people talk about double that. We're gonna be a double dip. They talk about acceleration has very real acceleration. The line of a cent is just about like it spent now for five years, almost for foreign. A fraction years we will. We project that our railroad on the week of November 5th, I believe will hit or maybe slightly exceed the car loading peak reached before Lehman. Uh, on. But it's taken for five years to get there. We're seeing we own the second largest real estate brokerage firm in the country. So I get the with the cold pending transactions even before they complete. And I get the median prices at which the deals are being made out to get him from a lot of markets all over the country. And I just got him for September and you know, the median prices up and the pending zehr up the country is coming back. You can't stop the United States. I mean, we get through everything. I mean way we got through a civil war. We got through the Great Depression. We got two world wars. The country works. Why is it that at every perilous moment that people start to say this is the time that it's really not going to like it? Scared? I mean, no humans. 500 years from now, people will panic periodically. I mean, they stare is incredibly contagious. I mean, when people got worried about their money market funds in September 2008 you had 30 million Americans with three and 1/2 trillion dollars, half of all the bike bank amount of bank deposits in money market funds. A week earlier, none of them were worried. And within a couple of days everyone had a money market bomb was worried, and that was something they didn't expect to be worried about. Anything. They looked at their neighbor and they were worried. And at that time in three days, 5% of all the money market I mean, there was a run on money market funds like you can't believe and I give great credit government for taking the actions that they did so fear spreads instantaneously. Confidence comes back through the door. Wanted the time. I mean that people do not. There's nothing that says you think is master resumption of confidence. But there's it just takes over and that will happen again. And what is your rule about investing? Well, you want to You want to be greedy when others were for terrible and fearful when others are greedy, right? And, uh, I've got 20 agreed. So I'm just waiting for the felt fearful bargain And this because I couldn't skip this thing Real life. Fact. What company did you buy announced to buying today? What? We bought a company from another company in England. It's go Cornelius in, and it makes it makes equipment which dispenses and cools wonderful beverages like Coca Cola Way may even put a little special. We've got a dispenser in the office but will now have an improvement. And this goes into what company within virtual goes in department. Markman Marmon itself, uh, owns probably 100 and 30 cos it's a huge the bomber itself. We bought it from the prisoner family were just completing the purchase of 100%. And, uh, it's an important business for Berkshire. We have five when I call the Powerhouse five. And those five companies will Mormons wantem in aggregate that learn well over $10 billion pretax issue? Yeah, I think so. For the better. Okay. Now subject to women. I said that five years ago before I got into the matter of how bad it was in that crisis, I had made one point to the audience and I have and I never had any reason to change it. And that point, waas that among all the business executives I knew and I have known a lot over the years, uh, that warrant is the most unbiased about gender and ethnicity ethnicity of any of that I have ever seen. He just simply has no bias about a gender. He does have a bias, a strong one about competence, intelligence and character. But those three things are are the only ones that he thinks about, and he simply thinks about a no other. Now, having said that, repeated that very good thing about him. I'm about Thio turn into a tough report. Okay, Booth, Point is, this is what I want to bring up on my first before I do bring up, Warren wrote an article for Fortune that ran this spring called Warren Buffett is bullish, dot, dot, dot on women. And if any of you miss it, uh, you must go back and get it. Is them in effect? You could even get it in my book called Tap Dancing to Work, which we are just putting out in the paperback version. And I have another opportunity there writing introduction for this article, too, editorialized a little bit. And so here's what that introduction says. It says that spicy, strong feelings you have about the confidence of women and their ability to completely support and build the, uh, the economy that you were very slow in getting on the policy change. A policy train of putting women on your board, right? Yes, that was actually I didn't want to put anybody on the booth when you looked around. You didn't exactly a jump to put women on the board. And the first woman, Charlotte Diamond, who's here, she went on, and I meant to look up the date. Now I forgot what a WASP 2000 it would it would be. Johnny had 10 to 12 years ago. Something? Yeah, it's quite a while ago and on and then one on. A majority of the people in the last 10 years have been women. That's very true. And Maryland and Merrill Whitney went so there are three out of a board that has How many? 12. And why do you think? But there are five over 80 in their old man. Believe me, you got demographic is working for you. Why do you think that you were a little bit slow in doing that? Well, they perfectly on who knows? Exactly. I will tell you why. I think generally, I really didn't. We didn't want to put anybody on the board till the rules started coming in about having independent directors. All that. I mean, the board was not a big deal at Berkshire at all. Uh, you know, I have a friend that I used to like 100% of any company that he had because he liked to look in the mirror and say, Oh, my shareholders love May And I've always that has a nice ring to it. I like to look in the mirror and say, Enough of my share over love, man. For a long time, it was treated almost a rite of business. It came out of Berkshire Hathaway came out of a partnership. Iran, which I ran all by myself. I mean, I was the only general partner, so it sort of had that history. And, uh, Charlie and I, uh I mean, we had a board because we were required to have a board. But the board did not do much, uh, in the past, and then certain legal requirements got added overtime. And frankly, you know, I love the idea that of the of the directors that air 60 in under half of them are women now, and they'll be more okay. Um, you know, I'm on tape. You're okay. Now I'm going to turn to questions from the audience that if they're not crystal clear, I may for both the audiences benefit and warrants because he gets to go Silverchair Hathaway annual meeting. And the first thing he always says, pointing to throwing Munger sitting by me, said, Charlie can't see and I can't hear you. So that's why we work together. I mean, I can't remember his name anymore. You can't remember why but wait each other. Okay? I'm going to be looking for questions. It's always just called up here who has their hand up who hasn't like in their hands? Um, point point me where he should be pointing a lot over there. How about back there? Okay, I, uh general question about your thoughts. You said you bought your first stock in 1942. I think right around that time, sometime after World War two, I think prior to that sterling was the was the world currency. Then it switched to the U. S. Dollar. Not too long after that at the time. Any other country very similar to markets today, you have to be able to cover your debt. You have to be able to, you know, have enough in order to borrow against at that time, the sterling. And now we're looking at a situation with the, uh, the amount of debt ceiling. I think what's different between now and ever before is there is the risk of it the devaluation or the issue of U. S. Dollar not being the world currency. What your views Do you see that happening? Because there's an awful lot of fear a discussion about it. Unless we do something incredibly, Johnny, don't think we will. The dollar will be the world's currency for a long, long, long, long time. Uh, the we came out of World War Two, actually, with a higher debt to GDP than we have now. Ah, and, uh, we all of our debt is printed in our own currency. I mean, that's the key. And then the question is, do you abuse that in some way so that the currency declines in value in a rapid rate? Well, interestingly enough, I was born in 1930. The dollar from 1930 ah is worth about six cents today. So I've lived during a period where the dollars lost 94% of its value in terms of purchasing power. And yet at the same time, in real terms, the GDP of the country Turkey capitals gone up six for one. So we've got six for one. Just think that one person's lifetime Ah, we went centuries in the world where the gains were in nothing in a century or a few percent and six for one at one person's lifetime. At the same time, our currency has decreased, you know, but in a by, uh uh, well, what from a dollar to six cents and that 94%. And that. Ah, Despite all of that, we are the world's reserve currency and people are willing to lend us the money lenders money for nothing. Virtually, uh, currently in large sums. And I I do not see that changing unless we do something incredibly foolish. Now we have to stabilized that the debt as a percentage of GDP, which means we can have debt increased by 2 to 3% a year. GDP, gross students represent a year, and I think that's a very realistic possibility. We can't keep having debts grow faster rate than GDP, although there's it could go on for a long time. And it has gone for a long time. Our country, you know that the people think it's falling apart. It's not remotely the place. I was just not a program this morning with Sara Blakely and Fred Smith. I'm here to people, you know, that it took something very common, you know, the postal Service and airplanes or something, and they saw it needs and they show them and they're thinking of new things to do tomorrow. I mean, the secret sauce in America. You know, basically, you know, the people in this room and the fact that you're all trying to make your life better tomorrow and you'll come up with ways to do it. So the country works and and they get gummed up somewhat by Washington sometimes, but it won't get ruined. Another question. And I should have mentioned this before. Would you stay who you are before asking the question? Where are we? No. So hard to say. I have one here. Okay. Mary Erdoes, J P. Morgan Asset Management. Right over on your right. All right, over here. Where we are. Okay. Over here. Good morning. So as we went through the introduction this morning, there were a whole host of women who were talking about either taking their company's public on, actually, a few of them taking their company's private. And I thought, if we could just hear from you on your thoughts on the pros and cons of the public versus private company, Carol and I have the longer group started 1968 called the Grand where we meet and and one time we had a session with two enormously successful people on the panel. I signed the topic and one of them said he'd give up half his network to be private again and gave exactly the reverse answer. I started out feeling like I want to be private. I'd run a run, a private partnership and I just enjoyed it that way. And I like looking in the mirror, making decisions and not getting any negative votes. And it was a lot of fun when I we just We distributed a bunch of Berkshire shares as part of winding up the partnerships and already was a public company. It became more public than and over time I found it actually more fun to run a public company. But it's become a podium and it's where I couldn't I couldn't play out my ideas and explain why do things and have a lot of fun And Carol has my letter to make a more readable and it's a teaching mechanism. Even I would say generally speaking, that wealth and people come to me with wonderful businesses and they do and they talk about selling them to make. My first advice is don't sell them. I'm in a wonderful businesses. They're too rare. And if you've got one in your family, keep it unless something forces you to sell it. So I would say Stay private unless you have a need to go public in terms of financing or in terms of solving the problems of ownership within a family that going in different directions or something. But you can always you could always go public on unless there's a compelling reason to do it, which is usually fundraising. Uh uh, I don't I don't see the reason to do it and going private, you could do it. But that creates a lot more problems because you really have. Now you you're faced with buying out your partner's unilaterally, and Michael Dell just went through that. That's not something I would want to do. Uh, so I, uh, I would stay private. And then if you really get the urge to cash in, I've got an 800 number and interrupt here with questions. How about the flurry of activity that we see out there? What what message would you have for people trying to deal with them? Well, I believe basically that I'm running Berkshire for the people that are going to stay in and not the ones who want to get out. I mean, you don't know that you get You try to have a decent marketing everything for people that wanted out. But basically I am. I'm concerned with the people that want to stay in. And of course, most of the activists want to rattle the cage and get management to do something that will give a spur to the stock, which may not be in the long term interest of the company. So I'm I have seen cases. I've seen plenty of cases where management's air, doing things where they deserve a little shaking up. But, uh, I do think that the Maur and running a business we don't make quarterly estimates Ember. I don't care what the company earns this quarter. I really care about what we're gonna be five or 10 years from now, and it doesn't make any difference if by ship, a lot of stuff in the last day of the quarter and get some extra few pennies this year or something. I don't want to be thinking that way at our managers thinking that way. And I don't want stockholders who expect me to think that way. So, uh, I I if an activist comes along the Berkshire, you know, it says, we think you ought to do a this and that Also find Start your own company and you do it the O. So I think we can add that you have a bias against acting somewhat. Yeah, plenty of management's deserves some shaking up to. I don't want to come down and say that activists are all bad, but overwhelmingly, I do not believe in running a company to respond to people who want to sell their stock in the next few months. Uh, question. Yeah, aye, milady. Happen. I want to do a follow up question to the first question about the currency issue. Ah, lot of that is coming from rhetoric from China that the global economy should be de Americanized and internationalize is the word that is being used. And I was in China last week, where Chinese official called called this the century of the Pacific that the last entry was the century of that land, which was the U. S. And Western Europe in this century of the century of the Pacific. I wonder what you think about China. They're growing influence them being our largest debt holder, etcetera. And what the long term prospects are for the emerging market. Yeah, your friend sounds more like an ad man than an economist, but the, uh uh, China is gonna be enormously important, and they should be. I mean, it isn't a it will be an economic powerhouse but soul of the United States. And what is important is that the two countries largely learned to get live together. I mean, there's no we're going to both the superpowers and we've got a lot of common interests, and we got some things we differ on, and that will always be the case. But the thing to remember is, overwhelmingly, we should figure out how to get along. But United States will be the superpower of the world for a very, very, very long time. China will be gating and importance for a very, very, very long time, but they start from a lower base. They also have a whole lot more people so that at some point in aggregate, they're going to catch us in GDP. in terms of GDP per capita. I wouldn't want to bet on that one. Well, and their political systems, would you? What would you say about that? Assuming ours is working correctly. Yeah. Yeah. Shot for me to figure out what's happening in this country. What? The interesting thing is, in 17 90 we had a little under four million people. China had 300 million people they had similar. Resource is, they have similar climate. They work just as hard. They were just a smart and in the next 200 years, you know, we got so we had 25% of the world's. He'd be starting with these four million people, and they didn't really go any place. And then in the last 40 or 50 years, they have just galloped forward. And so they're starting to unleash human potential in China the same way we've been unleashing human potential since 70 76. And I'm all for them that we should much prefer to have a prosperous china than a China has problems. I mean, you know, if you postulate two worlds one in which we're an island of prosperity 315 million people in the rest of the world is sitting there, envious of you know that, or populate something where the rest of the world is growing even faster than we are. But we're also benefiting. I mean, just choose which world you want and then think about which world you wanted. The other guy's got some nuclear weapons and happens to be envious of me. I mean, it is in our interest that the rest of the world does well and in particular China question Good morning. Right there. Okay. Forever. Novick with Black rock, First flight. I love your enthusiasm and your optimism. Have you given any thought to retirement planning and that the lungevity problem You're out, You're out on what should be doing to help people who are really going to live a lot longer. No, I maybe three. I'm having more fun I've ever had in my life. You know, the main thing to do is being to be involved with something you love. I mean, I tell the students that and something I tell him to take the job you take if you're already independently rich. Well, that's what I've got. And it's, uh, the We're going have a problem in this. We're not gonna have a problem in terms of turning out more and more stuff. I mean, the market system works marvellously in turning out things. People want it. It's just it's the marvel of the world and it will continue to be. I mean, you know what it look at? What just apples. That reason you're l. The market system works on turning out stuff. The Maur specialized. It becomes the more people that will leave behind in terms of getting the body of that. Unfortunately, and then, frankly, that's where government has to come in. We have gone, uh, in 1982 Forbes 400. I apologize for using the term here, but the Forbes 400 had 90 billion of network. They had two trillion 20 billion this year, over 20 times as much. Ah, all time records. The people in this room overwhelmingly are doing better than they were five years ago. The people who will serve us lunch later on are not on. Uh, it's the trickle down has not not working well. It's still better than being an economy that doesn't go anyplace, but But we have solved the problem of more and more goods. We have not solved the problem of having a country with $50,000 of GDP per person and having 20% of the families 25 million families, 60 million people living in households with $21,000 of income for less. And that's our challenge. And that gets into the problem of the agent and all of that. Uh, you know, the people and they're working years have to take care not only the old of some extent, but of course, they take care of the young. They sort of tie it with the old or what they produced over life. They don't type that way in the young. I mean, 10 Children. And I mean, you still get school places for each one of them and all of that, so that will be the challenge. I think we'll be up to that challenge, and we certainly got the ingredients to be up to that job. We are wealthy, were a wealthy family, and a number of members of the family aren't really sharing, and that the way I would hope they would. And you, of course, have spoken out quite loudly about this problem in your viewpoint, about what should be done. That text? Yeah. Uh huh. And you don't have any change in what you think about that? No, no, I'm I, uh I had to take bringing it up, but even last year, my my tax rate counting payroll taxes with the lowest in the in the office of 25 people on duh. And I have no tax shelters. I just just, you know, thank you lobbyists, They taking care of me. I mean, my I have I filed a tax return every year since I was 13 and we took the years by decades and compared taxes, taxes to taxable income and the last decade. And believe me, it's been my best decade has been just about the lowest of any decade in terms of my tax rate. And, uh, it was tougher when I was selling shirts of pennies. And a big part of this problem is that people never stop to think about the employment. The payroll taxes $900 billion. It's 30% of our total government expenditures very roughly, and it quits on 195,000 or something like that. So it's regressive, Basically. I mean, my payroll taxes and presenting my total income is ills. You know, the payroll tax. Most of people in the offices of percent issue, you know, now again, 15 plus percent. And if they've got spouse is working, you know you could have ah, household of 200,000 of income and they've got 15% payroll taxes right off the bat. Done. It's gotten pretty extreme. If you look at the distribution of taxes over the last since World War two. You know the payroll taxes just consistently going up. A percentage of the revenues of the government, actually, and corporate income taxes have gone down dramatically. Corporate income taxes used to be 4% of GDP. They're not one and 1/2 percent of GDP. Corporate profits are at an all time record. But we hear all the lobbyists for the corporations telling, you know, we're not competitive with the rest of the world. Everything, which is a lot of baloney. So there and put me down as undecided. Another question Right here. Hi, Alex. Labor Labor Selling Company. You entered the municipal bond insurance business at an interesting time and I think subsequently had some second thoughts of it and left no, your feelings on that industry now, especially given where certain cities and Commonwealth Star Yeah, we way did start guaranteeing a municipals five years ago or so. At the time, we were getting premiums of probably over 3% averaging over 3% on my 45%. Uh, and in almost all cases, we had other municipal bond insurers that came ahead of us. So we were second to pay 1/3 to pay forthe, to pay sometimes and getting this pretty fat rate. And then the rates went down dramatically and, uh uh for the same risk within a year to we would have probably only been getting 1/4 of the premium. And, you know, insurance is attractive at one price, and it's not attractive. Another price. So one rate. When race, leave us, you know, we leave the business basically, and that's what we did. If rates were high enough, are appropriate in our view, is the risk involved? We would ensure municipals again. I mean, we're selective about it. Uh, but we we just weren't getting paid enough. All right? can I say? I say one thing. I have the mic on UN behalf for the sake of the buffet family. For Susie, for other friends of Warren, buffet is B u f f e T t. So if you're tweeting, Warren is verified. So I just wanted to say thank you. Unless you think anything bad, in which case, spelling it well. And I have a history, as you well know. Of the first time I ever mentioned the name buffet in Fortune in 1966 I misspelled it. I forgive, you know? So okay, uh, over here. Okay. So, Warren, I'm glad we Who are you? I'm sorry, Janice. Alex, with static, elegant executive search firm. So we have such a wealth of talent in this room, and I'm really glad that you're bullish on women, But don't you think we have a corporate governance issue in corporate America? You know, there's so many studies about if you have more women, three more women in the wardroom, you have higher performance credits, please. Research institute surveying 2400 companies globally proved that, and so did McKinsey. And other comfort and other research has been done. But we have nearly 40% of the Fortune 500 have zero or one women in the boardroom. So how are we going to get this moving in the ward rooms with more women in the C suite? I know you're a big proponent, but how it's going to happen. Yeah, well, I do like Berkshire is a teaching mechanism and, you know, we'll show that to some extent of time. It happened at Berkshire. But, uh, listen, people in power don't give it up. Usually, you know, that's true in religion. That's true in the most through every place and, uh, and end on some extent, there's just it just doesn't surface much. And that's one of the reasons I wrote the wrote the article and that I addressed it, specifically demanded the end. I think said, it makes me very bullish on America when I think of how far this country came using half of its talent. I mean, just think what the potential is choosing all of its talent, and we didn't just use half of the talent for a long time. And even the even the 19th Amendment didn't you know, didn't affect change that fast My sisters were born a couple of years, each side of me on ninth in 1930 and they're absolutely a smart as I am and more personable and and they they did not have the same chances and it wasn't, you know, my parents loved him. All the love them equally. The teachers sort of felt they will run title the same chance. But it was just 1000 different ways. They were told, you know, their job was Mary well or have you got a job as a secretary or a nurse? And and all of that talent I went to waste and I was lucky because I was only competing against half of the country, and I don't think it should stay that way and it's moved a fair distance. But it's got a long way to go to and I don't know about, you know, in Europe there's been some legislation of percentages of women records, and I don't know whether that's the best way to go or not. But I think Berkshire is going to prove that a lot of women talented women, can accomplish a whole lot of the shareholders and talked for a moment about the point you've made that education and you and I benefit from the fact that women had so few careers open to us. I went to public school in the middle eight thirties and grammar school and and I had nothing but women teachers and they were terrific. And of course, they should have been terrific because half of the talent of the country was being compressed into these few occupations teachers in our secretaries in retail clerks. And if you force all of the men to become accountants, you'd have had one hell of a group of accounts. But but you have wasted all kinds of talent. The idea of setting limits as to what talented people can do is just crazy. And that was being done in the thirties and have benefited May because I would not have those same teachers would have had jobs that paid better. Many of them would have jobs that paid better, and society would have been better off. But in terms of my own personal equation, I got the benefit of the fact that wonderfully talented people were just being pushed into the slot. That said, teacher, we have time for one more quick question right here. I live with your resident of the United Nations Foundation. We admire so much to our legacy and philanthropy and your Children. Philanthropy. I'd love to hear your philosophy around that. Well, my friend Charlie said gave away Somebody there today said it won't do me much good where I'm going. Yeah. So, you know, I've got everything in life I want. And, uh, you know, it uses a very tiny percentage of my resources. So I have a stock certificates that I bought 40 or 50 years ago down in a safe deposit box, and they have no utility to make. They can't buy anything for may need or want. I mean, I could go down and fondle them occasionally or something of the sort, but But other than that, they're just pieces of paper. They have enormous utility for other people, particularly used wisely, have no utility for May. So why in the world should I sit there and let him sit in the box? Uh, and, uh uh, you know, I have never given away a penny that affected my life in any way. Shape report. There's people with this Sunday will drop $5 in your collection plate and makes the difference between whether they go out for dinner or something or go to a movie. I've never done any of that. But if you have this incredible surplus and and are giving blood way, call the way. Only call on people with a 1,000,000,000 you know, and I'm only asking for 1/2. So I said when they turned me down, I say, You know, I'm going to write a book on how to live on 500 million because there's apparently a big need for this. I thought I could live about 500 million, all the rest and a lot less in all the rest of surplus. And why not? D'oh! If it can provide vaccines or education or whatever, it may be a better life for women. I mean, why not use it? I think we're at the end of this, and I hope you'll join with me and thank you, Warren, for having