Tags: Quinn | Buffett | Berkshire | Gates

Telegraph's Quinn: Buffett's Fall on Wealth List Signals 'Crown Starting to Slip'

By    |   Friday, 05 June 2015 06:00 AM

Legendary investor Warren Buffett has slipped to No. 3 on Bloomberg's global wealth list behind Bill Gates and Amancio Ortega, founder of Spanish retailer Zara.

That's not a good sign for the Oracle of Omaha, says James Quinn, business editor of The Telegraph. Buffett's "crown is starting to slip," he writes.

The Berkshire Hathaway CEO's wealth now stands at $70.2 billion, compared with $71.5 billion for Ortega and $85.5 billion for Microsoft founder Gates.

That "might indicate that the legendary investor has reached his peak," Quinn says.

It appears that the problem for Buffett is losing investments held by Berkshire Hathaway. Its $16.3 billion stake in Coca-Cola has slid 3 percent so far this year, and its $12.2 billion stake in American Express has dropped 13 percent.

Coke is Berkshire's second-biggest publicly traded holding, and Amex is fourth.

"One has to wonder how long the cult of King Warren can continue, and for how long it will outlast the man himself," Quinn writes.

But Buffett's opinions are still well-respected. In a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, Buffett recommends an increase in the earned income tax credit (EITC) to combat the nation's growing income inequality.

"This widening gap is an inevitable consequence of an advanced market-based economy," he says.

"[It's] neither the fault of the market system nor the fault of the disadvantaged individuals. It is simply a consequence of an economic engine that constantly requires more high-order talents while reducing the need for commodity-like tasks."

Better education can help. "But even with the finest educational system in the world, a significant portion of the population will continue, in a nation of great abundance, to earn no more than a bare subsistence," Buffett notes.

A higher minimum wage isn't the answer, he maintains. A large increase would reduce employment big-time, while a small increase wouldn't help workers much.

"The better answer is a major and carefully crafted expansion of EITC, which currently goes to millions of low-income workers," Buffett argues.

"In essence, the EITC rewards work and provides an incentive for workers to improve their skills. Equally important, it does not distort market forces, thereby maximizing employment."

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Legendary investor Warren Buffett has slipped to No. 3 on Bloomberg's global wealth list behind Bill Gates and Amancio Ortega, founder of Spanish retailer Zara.
Quinn, Buffett, Berkshire, Gates
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2015-00-05
Friday, 05 June 2015 06:00 AM
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