US Economy

Munger: McDonald's one of US' best educators

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Despite all the criticism of McDonald's, the fast-food giant is one of the nation's best educational institutions, Berkshire Hathaway's Charlie Munger said Monday.

"They take people and give them a first job, which enables them to get a second job. They do a very good job of educating troubled young people to be good citizens and they're probably more successful than charter schools," Berkshire's vice chairman told CNBC's "Squawk Box."

Munger made his remarks as McDonald's new CEO Steve Easterbrook announced plans to accelerate refranchising and overhaul its organizational structure. Easterbrook warned that progress will be "bumpy and uneven."

Appearing with Munger, Warren Buffett said education in the U.S. has been largely affected by the wealthy sending their children to private schools. "The wealthy in many cities have opted out of the public school system," he said. "Some of them may be involved philanthropically, but with our own kids, we send them to private schools."

Munger: US should not become energy independent

Charlie Munger
Lacy O'Toole | CNBC

In the interview, Munger also discussed why he thinks the U.S. should not become energy independent.

"It's great that we found all this shale oil, but I want to conserve oil and gas in the United States to the maximum extent we can," Munger said.

"I don't see any substitute for oil as a feed stock and for running airplanes," he added. "If there were no threat to global climate change, I'd have no trouble with shifting rapidly to renewable power [such as] solar, wind, and [Bill Gates] may disagree with me. He may think climate change is more important than I do."

Nevertheless, Gates said in the same interview that as the problems of climate change increase around the world, the need for energy sources that do not emit CO2 grows. "Natural gas is a reduction [of CO2] but it doesn't get you where you need to go, so things like renewables and nuclear need to come in and be a gigantic part of the mix within the next 30 years," he said.

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Munger added, however, that climate change is not as big of a problem as some make it out to be. "Thirty percent of Holland is under sea water. If we have to spend a few percentage of GDP to adapt to climate change, I think we can, [but] I know of no substitute for hydrocarbons if we ever ran out," he said.

—CNBC's Katie Little contributed to this report.