In the spring on 2009, we wondered if there was a connection between Warren Buffett and Carl Fredricksen , the fictional lead character of Disney/Pixar's Up .
But you have to admit that there's also some substantial resemblance between Carl and Buffett. (See photos below.)
Perhaps someone in Hollywood made the connection, because now Asner has been cast to play Buffett in the upcoming HBO movie version of Andrew Ross Sorkin's book on the financial crisis, Too Big to Fail .
The movie has assembled an all-star cast, including Paul Giamatti as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, and James Woods as Lehman's Dick Fuld. (The New York Observer has conveniently assembled photos of the cast and the people they are portraying , for side-by-side comparisons.)
Warren Buffett says it is "quite clear stocks are cheaper than bonds" right now, but notes that relationship will change eventually when confidence in the economy is inevitably restored.
In an appearance earlier today (Tuesday) at the Fortune Most Powerful Women Conference in Washington, Buffett said he "can't imagine" choosing bonds over stocks at current prices, but concedes that's what many investors have been doing because of a "lack of confidence" in the economy's future. "They're making a mistake, the ones that are buying the bonds" at record low yields.
Last week Alan Blinder pointed out that despite all the hoopla about higher capital requirements coming out of the Basel negotiations, when the final requirements kick in in 2018, banks will only be required to have a Tier 1 leverage ratio of 33:1.
“Isn't that about what Lehman Brothers had?” Blinder asked.
That’s the kind of question that’s likely to make ordinary people scratch their heads. Certainly, in the run up to the financial crisis, these kind of eye-popping leverage ratios made lots of ordinary people—and some extra-ordinary people—do something more than scratch their heads—it convinced them to sell their shares of financial companies.
During the financial crisis, analysts such as Meredith Whitney were able to cause lots of trouble for financial firms by pointing out that regardless of whether this or that company was meeting regulatory capital requirements, many of them simply lacked sufficient capital to survive a crunch.