Buffett Watch

Warren Buffett to CNBC: Curbing Fed's Independence Could Lead to 'Mischief'

Warren Buffett doesn't want Congress to "fool around" with the Federal Reserve's political independence, because it could lead to "a lot of mischief."

Our Becky Quick asked him about the topic during an on-camera 'walk-and-talk' conversation as Buffett and Bill Gates toured Columbia University's Manhattan campus on November 12 before taping the 90-minute CNBC Town Hall Event Warren Buffett & Bill Gates: Keeping America Great.

This 'web extra' video clip was not included in the program and is exclusive to CNBC.com:

Exclusive Web Extra: Warren Buffett on an independent Fed

Becky: Hey Warren, you said you had thoughts on the Dodd legislation, that --  We spoke this morning with Ric Mishkin who teaches here, the former Fed governor.  And he's very worried about the Fed’s independence and not only the (Connecticut Senator Chris) Dodd legislation that’s out there but the (Texas U.S. Representative) Ron Paul legislation.  Just things that would take power away from the Federal Reserve...  Do you worry about that?

Buffett: Well, I think there is nothing more important in the economic future of the country than to have an independent Fed.  And I think that’s been demonstrated over the years.  I think it was demonstrated even particularly last fall.  But we do not want to fool around with the independence of the Fed.

Becky: Do you think the system is perfectly fine?  I mean, there are people who say it is an antiquated system anyway.

Buffett: Well, perhaps the regional banks and all that sort of thing, was better adapted to 1911 or something.   I’m not sure you need somebody reporting in from Omaha to tell them what pigs are doing, you know, or hogs…  (Laughs)  But in terms of its fundamental mission as a central bank --

Becky:  Yeah.

Buffett:  I think it’s done a good job over the years. I think it’s had good leadership most of the time.  I think it has terrific leadership now.  And I think that curbing the independence of the Fed could lead to a lot of mischief.

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