Munger On Gross Immorality, Rampant Debt And The Idiot Boom
Much as we ridicule Munger for his completely ridiculous bailout comments, this is actually a pretty interesting clip. Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett's long-time partner at Berkshire Hathaway, talks with the BBC.
Earlier this year, Charlie Munger, who is billionaire Warren Buffett's right hand at Berkshire Hathaway and a sort of self-proclaimed mad oracle of Wall Street, made some interesting comments. He bashed people who buy gold, delivering an all-time amazing quote:
Gold is a great thing to sew onto your garments if you're a Jewish family in Vienna in 1939 but civilized people don't buy gold – they invest in productive businesses.
Munger, if you might remember, is the same gazillionaire dickhead who two years ago ripped people experiencing post-crash economic hard times, saying they should "suck it in and cope" and that anyone who wants to complain about the Wall Street bailouts should realize they were "absolutely required to save your civilization" (Munger thinks a lot about "civilization"). He added that even if you didn't like them, "you shouldn't be bitching about a little bailout. You should have been thinking it should have been bigger."
Some of those bailouts we shouldn't have complained about, of course, were directed at one of Munger's favorite companies – banking giant Wells Fargo, in which Munger and Buffett are heavily invested. Wells Fargo got as much as $36 billion in federal aid after the crash and got a massive push from the government to help it buy up the dying crash-era megabank Wachovia for $12.7 billion, a shotgun wedding that created the second-biggest bank in America. Wells Fargo not only got $25 billion in TARP funds just before it bought Wachovia, it got a special tax break from then-Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson, which some reports say was worth as much as $25 billion to WF at that time.
So just to recap Munger's comments: gold is not an investment for civilized people, it's for panicked Jews fleeing the Holocaust. Civilized people, according to Munger, instead invest in productive businesses like Wells Fargo, which according to this new suit spent a decade committing mass fraud and dumping tens of thousands of dicey loans onto the lap of the taxpayer. If we think about it in retrospect, Wells Fargo then got rewarded for years of bad behavior by receiving tens of billions more in bailout money, which it used to buy a dominating market share – artificially inflating its share price for the next generation, to the benefit of wrinkly old greedheads like Charlie Munger. And if you don't like it, you should suck it in and cope.