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Buffett on Fiscal Cliff: We’ll Get it ‘Solved’

Friday, 28 Dec 2012 03:30 PM

The United States will work through the fiscal cliff impasse and eventually find ways to restore fiscal health, said famed investor Warren Buffett.

The White House and congressional Republicans are at odds over ways to avoid the fiscal cliff, a potentially recessionary combination of tax hikes and spending cuts converging at once with the close of this year.

While fears a political impasse will result in recession, like past hurdles, the U.S. economy will make it through and prosper down the road.

Editor's Note: The ‘Unthinkable’ Could Happen — Wall Street Journal. Prepare for Meltdown

“America has faced a lot tougher problems than this one,” Buffett told BBC Radio 4’s “Today” program, whose guest host was Melinda Gates, wife of Buffett’s friend and fellow philanthropist Bill Gates.

“The United States is richer than it’s ever been. We have $50,000 or so of [gross domestic product] per person. But we’ve overpromised and we’ve also undertaxed to some extent, so we find ourselves with this great fiscal imbalance,” Buffett added.

“We’re a rich country. It can be solved. ... We’ll be able to overcome this problem.”

President Barack Obama is meeting with congressional Democrats and Republicans to discuss ways to iron out sticking points keeping the country on track to dive off the fiscal cliff, namely tax rates on top U.S. earners and the scope of spending cuts over the long run.

Wall Street may roil should a deal fail to materialize — or applaud if the nation’s leadership strikes a deal.

“The markets are willing to turn on a dime, on whatever the news, whether it’s positive or negative,” said Greg Peterson, director of investment research at Ballentine Partners in Waltham, Mass., which manages about $4.2 billion in assets, according to Bloomberg.

“What the markets fear most is that we’re in this paralysis where the government is unable to govern, communicate and compromise.”

Editor's Note: The ‘Unthinkable’ Could Happen — Wall Street Journal. Prepare for Meltdown

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