TRANSCRIPT & VIDEO: Ask Warren Buffett on CNBC's Squawk Box - Part 3
This is part three of the preliminary transcript and video clips of Warren Buffett's appearances on CNBC's Squawk Box on Monday, March 9, 2009.
BECKY: The front page of the (Wall Street) Journal today, Warren, says that some of the progress we've made in the credit markets has been backsliding. It's been going away. LIBOR rates have been inching higher once again. Have you seen that as well in the credit markets?
BUFFETT: Yeah, I've seen that. It's not like it got a worse of the situation in September, but when people lose confidence, yeah, I don't care whether they're big shots, you know, running big companies, or big banks, or whether they're the guy on the street, they behave exactly the same way. I mean, this goes back to the human--you know, the "Naked Ape" type of thing, reaction. The fear or flight stuff comes in and where they flee is something this government guaranteed. And you've seen it, yeah, and you'll continue to see it. They have--people have to be confident. The system doesn't work without confidence and they are--they're not confident now and they are confused and the government has to speak with real clarity. Government's done a lot of good things in terms of the banking system...
BUFFETT: ...but frankly when you have changes of administration, when you have--when you have 535 members of Congress criticizing maybe various policies and maybe taunting even people, the reaction of the public to that is, you know, `I'm going to go to something this government guaranteed,' and the world won't work if that continues to be the case.
BECKY: Well, let's get back to that, though. How could the administration possibly rein in 535 members of Congress, not to mention it's a 24-hour news cycle and we put just about anybody and everybody on to spout their views?
BUFFETT: Well, I think that the first--you have to recognize that it is an economic Pearl Harbor. If you don't believe that, then why should members of Congress not, you know, why shouldn't they throw in 8,000 earmarks or do what they've been doing? Congress, and I think I said this six months ago, I mean, they're a patriotic group of people. I don't think maybe they understood fully, some of them, the gravity of the situation and what is required. What is required is a commander in chief that is looked at as being the commander in chief in a time of war and the support that generally he needs and other things that have to be given up. When we get all this solved and go back to yelling at each other, you know, and putting in pet projects and doing all that sort of thing. But for the time being we should put that, as much as we can, aside and then frankly, nobody but the president now will be believable to the American people.