Our Take on Buffett's Op-Ed

We’ve got a bone to pick today.

“It has not paid to sell America short since 1776, and the time to start is not 2008,” Warren Buffett claimed at the premiere of I.O.U.S.A. in October of last year. Mr. Buffett was nice enough to lend his opinion on our frightening fiscal situation for our film, but then played a remarkable Pollyanna during a panel discussion at the premiere… for example, the spectacularly wrong quote above. When pressed on the challenges of our burgeoning debts, he suggested that “the pie gets larger over time,” and that our expanding resources will help us cover rising liabilities.

Fast-forward to this morning’s New York Times:

“Once recovery is gained,” reads Buffett’s Op-Ed, “Congress must end the rise in the debt-to-G.D.P. ratio and keep our growth in obligations in line with our growth in resources.”

Gone is “Buy American. I am.” Buffett’s now worried about “The Greenback Effect.”

“The United States economy is now out of the emergency room and appears to be on a slow path to recovery. But enormous dosages of monetary medicine continue to be administered and, before long, we will need to deal with their side effects. For now, most of those effects are invisible and could indeed remain latent for a long time. Still, their threat may be as ominous as that posed by the financial crisis itself.”

“Even the richest guy in the world will ‘talk his book’ on occasion,” says our Addison Wiggin, who spent some time with Buffett during the filming of I.O.U.S.A. and was among the aghast at Buffett’s comments during the premiere. “Berkshire Hathaway got kicked in the shins like everyone else… down 35% after the panic of ’08. Now Buffett, who had already moved billions out of the U.S. dollar into Brazilian real, appears to be fearing for the rest of his stash. And rightfully so. What nation in history has ever sustained this level of deficit spending?”