Monday, October 20, 2008

Open Letter to Warren Buffet

Not that he would actually read anything posted on an unknown blog, but I'm going to write in this style anyway...

Dear Mr. Buffet,

Recently you submitted a NYTimes opinion piece about it being a good time to invest in American equities. I have long been a believer in your wisdom when it comes to investing, but this recommendation raises some interesting questions which were not directly addressed in your piece, and I'm wondering if you could/would provide some much needed clarifications to your position.

First, as a supporter and adviser of Obama, I assume you are intimately familiar with his proposed and likely economic policies. Furthermore, I think most people would agree that you have a very broad understanding of the current global economic situation, and particularly the US situation. Given this, it seems clear that you would realize that the US is likely headed for the largest expansion of both government function and government oversight since the last time the current economic and political factors prevailed here in the 1930's. Historically, massive expansion of government oversight and function, nationalization of industries, and vilification of capitalism and industry by the prevailing political party has been very detrimental for corporations in America. Why do you believe that this time it will be different?

Secondly, your investment philosophy espouses buying stock in companies only when their fundamentals justify a reliable dividend return in excess of what can be received from traditional "safe" alternatives such as bonds and savings accounts. Yet in the current market, there are still few companies which dividend returns which would meet this criteria, and many of these are in the financial industry. With many insolvent financial companies only being kept alive by unprecedented unilateral revolving lending now in excess of a trillion dollars by the Federal Reserve, it's hard to fathom that you would consider those companies "safe" potential investments. How has your investment philosophy changed such that you would recommend this now?

- Me

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