Buffett says AHCA is tax cut for the rich

Buffett said his federal income taxes would have gone down 17 percent a year ago if the GOP bill was in effect.

Buffett and Vice Chairman Charles Munger built Berkshire into one of the world's largest companies with bets on consumer-product companies like Coca-Cola Co. and older industries such as railroads.

Over the course of 6 1/2 hours, Buffett, 86, and Munger, 93, touched upon a range of topics, as they sipped Coca-Cola and munched on See's sweets (from two of Berkshire's holdings). With big slugs of Berkshire Hathaway's portfolio struggling, including Wells Fargo and IBM, returns are converging with the S&P 500. And, responding to individual shareholder queries, they also spoke about their dreams and regrets.

Buffett also faulted the House Republican healthcare bill passed last week, which would repeal the Affordable Care Act and investment income taxes for wealthier people, as a means to "cut the hell out of income taxes" for the rich.

He said the current 35 percent corporate tax rate was "not much" of a competitive disadvantage for US companies, despite Trump's push to slash it to 15 percent.

"That's cost people a lot of money at Berkshire", he said.

- Buffett also faulted Wells Fargo executives for not acting quickly enough when they found out about problems involving the creation of fake customer accounts at the bank.

Buffett said flawed compensation is also a problem for hedge-fund managers, arguing that people would be better off sticking their money in a low-priced index fund.




"Beyond that, we have to have policies that take care of the people that become the roadkill in the process", Buffett said.

And in comments that suggested a change in Buffett's outlook on the technology sector, Buffett said he regretted not investing early in Google.

But 3G has been frequently criticized for its ruthless cost-cutting measures, including layoffs. "I think Apple is much more of a consumer-products business" with skill at finding opportunities that are hard for rivals to duplicate.

Munger, known for delivering more succinct answers, added, "We don't see any moral fault with 3G", though he allowed that he understood the political responses to the firm's strategies.

Many Berkshire units are selling their wares at discounted prices at the annual meeting, while others offer memorabilia such as "Berky" boxers and bras, talking Warren Buffett dolls, and rubber ducks that look like Buffett and Munger for $5 a pair.

Buffett likened the situation to Salomon Brothers Inc, where in 1991 he was installed as chairman to clean up a mess after the former chief executive failed to tell regulators a trader was submitting fake bids at Treasury auctions.

Though Warren Buffett has long championed dividend stocks as part of his investment philosophy, when it comes to his own company, Berkshire Hathaway (brk.a), the investor has been loath to pay dividends.

Still, he allowed that he expected Berkshire's next chief to already be rich after a career of business success. "If the board hires a compensation consultant, I'm coming back!" he joked.

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