Taxpayer anger against President Barack Obama and Congress is counterproductive because policy makers took measures including deficit spending to stimulate the economy, billionaire investor Warren Buffett told CNBC.
“Sentiment has turned very sour in the last three or four or five months,” the chairman and CEO of Omaha-based Berkshire Hathaway Inc. said in an interview broadcast Thursday.
“I hope we get over it pretty soon, because it’s not productive,’’ Buffett said. “We will come back regardless of how people feel about Washington, but it is not helpful to have people as unhappy as they are about what’s going on in Washington.”
More than three-quarters of U.S. investors view Obama as anti-business and are pessimistic about his policies, a Bloomberg survey this month indicated.
The U.S. unemployment rate is 9.6 percent, even after an $814 billion stimulus measure enacted last year and other government actions.
The Federal Reserve has kept the benchmark overnight lending rate target close to zero and said this week that it was prepared to ease policy further.
“The truth is we’re running a federal deficit that’s 9 percent of gross domestic product,” Buffett said. “That’s stimulative as all get out. It’s more stimulative than any policy we’ve followed since World War II.”
Buffett also said that the economy remains in a recession, by his definition, because most people and businesses still aren’t doing as well as they were before the financial crisis.
Buffett’s assessment of the economy contradicts the view of experts who announced this week that the recession officially ended in June 2009.
Buffett said he uses a common sense standard to evaluate the economy. Buffett gets insight into the health of the economy through the performance of Berkshire’s many subsidiaries.
This report includes material from the Associated Press.