Warren Buffett's "five-minute" plan to fix the nation's deficit problem .. delivered with a laugh during a live interview on CNBC in July .. has gone viral.
What's missing, however, is the laugh.
The WSJ's Total Return blog notes there's a chain letter now circulating by email and on Facebook that features this line from Buffett's July 7 interview in Sun Valley, Idaho with Becky Quick:
"I could end the deficit in five minutes. You just pass a law that says that any time there's a deficit of more than three percent of GDP, all sitting members of Congress are ineligible for re-election."
The chain letter includes several other ideas to "reform" Congress, and tells its recipients that "Warren Buffet is asking each addressee to forward this email to a minimum of twenty people."
Now, the facts.
First, to state the obvious, Berkshire says in a statement that "the chain letter was not sent out by Warren of course nor did he in any way suggest a chain letter."
Second, the Berkshire statement says Buffett's 'five-minute deficit plan' was "not a serious proposal; just intended to emphasize the importance of proper incentives (and problems when they are absent)."
In our post that July day headlined "Warren Buffett's 5-Minute Plan to Fix the Deficit", we called it "his not-entirely serious (but not entirely joking either) plan."
Here's the video clip. Judge for yourself.