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Buffett Still Unsure if Minimum Wage Is a 'Good Thing'

By Bill Hoffmann   |   Thursday, 21 Mar 2013 01:34 PM

Warren Buffett is rarely confused on issues of money, but there is one that stumps the renowned billionaire investor — the minimum wage.

“I’ve been thinking about it for 50 years. I just don’t know whether it’s a good thing or not, because I don’t know what it does to the guy who’s making the minimum wage now,’’ Buffett told the staff of the Buffalo News, which he owns.

“And I sure . . . don’t want anything bad to happen to him or her. On the other hand, I think the inequality that exists is awful, ” he continued.

“If I really thought that was a partial answer to inequality I’d be 100 percent in favor. I’m just not sure about the end result.”

Buffett — who is worth $53 billion and ranked fourth on Forbes magazine’s list of the world’s richest people — made his remarks during a candid chat with the paper’s reporters and editors on Wednesday.

And he said despite the serious issues facing the world today, he remains bullish on the United States.

“The world is uncertain. Stock prices are uncertain. The future of America is not uncertain,” said the 82-year-old “Oracle of Ohama.’’

“We have a system that unleashes potential, and it’s just starting. It’s just galloping. And 535 people in Washington can’t screw up 350 million people [working] for their own self-interests. The country works, and it will work.’’

Lamenting the sharp divisions between Democrats and Republicans in Washington, Buffett noted: “You’ve got the worst of all negotiating worlds, where people go out and say, ‘I won’t do this, I won’t give an inch on this,’ and the other guy’s saying, ‘I won’t give an inch on something else.’

“And so they’ve dug themselves in where they’d be so much better off if they never took these extreme positions in public and just negotiated privately.”

He said while money is important, “I have known a lot of very, very rich people – they’re not happy people. … I don’t want 10 cars, you know? It just doesn’t do you that much good.”

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