better place to keep it than in — than in the government sector? Because every dime that you give to the government, it's not necessarily going to help the people that are in need that you're talking about, Warren, for education. It's going for political decisions benefiting cronies or benefiting ill-conceived venture capital-type Solyndra investments. I mean, they're — there's just a vast amount of waste.
BUFFETT: And, Joe, that's been true throughout your lifetime. And you take — you take the 60 years or so since World War II, and we have sent 18 to 19 percent of our resources to Washington and they've been treated just like you described.
BUFFETT: And we have had — we have had an economy that's been wonderful. It has a market system. Capitalism works.
JOE: But is it in spite of — in spite of — in spite of or because of?
BUFFETT: Both, both, both.
BUFFETT: No, I'm not kidding. It's both. I mean, you know, you would not — you would have — you would have loved what the government was doing, you know, on December 8, 1941. You would have not seen...
JOE: I agree.
BUFFETT: ...less money to Washington.
JOE: I agree.
BUFFETT: And so it's in spite of and because. And — but the truth is, we can have a country that works wonderfully with 19 percent or so of revenues going to Washington and spending 21 percent.
JOE: It's just that there's so many different ways to get there. I mean, we were there a couple — we were there in 18 or 19 percent in 2006 and 2007 even after what you said decimated our revenue 10 years ago. So there was, even under the current — even under the current, when we had a good economy and low — you know, everybody was working at 4, 5 percent back in '06 and '07, we were getting 18 or 19 percent.
BUFFETT: The point is to average — the point is to average around 19 and spend around 21.
JOE: Right, right.
BUFFETT: And to have policies in place that do that with the greatest degree — I mean, one way or another you're going to get it — with the greatest degree of fairness on the revenue side and the greatest degree of efficiency on the expenditure side.
BUFFETT: And there's going to be a lot of slippage on both.
JOE: Ooh, slippage. That's like shrinkage or leakage. None of those are good.
BUFFETT: Well, that's true. Listen, Berkshire has some ways to — you know, it kills me but it does. The bigger you get, generally speaking, you know, the less efficient you get in many ways. Now, there's certain advantages to scale in other respects.
JOE: You're not — Andrew's got another — you're not going to want to...
ANDREW: I was going to...
JOE: You're not going to ask him if we should to go 100 percent, are you?
ANDREW: No. I was going to...
JOE: Seventy's not high enough for you.
ANDREW: I was going to save Warren — I was going to save Warren from you and change the entire direction of the conversation.
JOE: Save him from me? How can you — you don't need to save a guy — you know what? Never be — never feel sorry for someone who has a private jet. That was someone that — someone told me that long ago and I — and it's what I live by.
BUFFETT: Yeah, yeah.
JOE: Never feel sorry for someone who flies private.
ANDREW: OK. Warren, we don't have much time...
BUFFETT: Keep preaching — keep preaching that, Joe, I'm with you on that.
ANDREW: Warren, I wanted to get some thoughts about the banking business, and I know we don't have that much time here, so I'll start with one question, maybe we can bleed into the next hour on this. But as I was reading your letter and some of your comments about Bank of America, I also noticed that you — and you've done this now several times, you've praised Jamie Dimon at JPMorgan, and yet I realize that you are not an investor in JPMorgan. And I'm curious why not.
BUFFETT: Well, we own stock in Wells Fargo, we got the Bank of America situation. And I'll let you in on a little secret. I own some shares of JPMorgan.
BECKY: Personally, right?
BUFFETT: Personally, right, right. You just — you just got some news from me, Andrew. But what I — what I specifically reference, and this is important, Jamie Dimon, I think, writes the best annual letter in corporate America. I think you will learn — I think every viewer will learn something by reading his annual — they'll learn a lot by reading his annual report. He is a — he thinks well, and he writes extremely well. And he works a lot on the report, he's told me that. And that's an annual report worth reading. Most annual reports aren't worth reading, but that one is.
BECKY: Why would you buy that stock for your personal account and not for Berkshire?
BUFFETT: Well, because Berkshire doesn't own it, and it's one that I can buy without having any possible problems about conflict.
BECKY: All right. We're going to take a quick break here. When we come back, we'll have more from Warren Buffett after this very quick break. By the way, keep your emails coming. We are going through them, taking — looking at all of them. Don't forget, you can also tweet your comments and questions. Make sure, though, if you do, that you include the hashtag askwarren. Right now, Warren is a trending topic on Twitter. Wow. I didn't know that. As you've been talking, we've been picking it up and apparently lighting up the Twitter universe. By the way, tomorrow on SQUAWK BOX, we have another big lineup for you, including Pimco's Mohamed El-Arian, who'll be sitting down with us for two hours. Also, Roger Altman of Evercore. And a new segment that we're rolling out, Trump Tuesday. Donald Trump joins us to talk markets, politics and much more. SQUAWK BOX will be right back.
CLICK HERE FOR PART SIX: WARREN BUFFETT ON HIS FAVORITE BANK STOCK AND ADVISING STEVE JOBS
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